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Developing and using a learning design toolkit

Authors
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Design
  • Education

Abstract

The contributors to this symposium are currently involved in the DialogPlus project in which staff at two universities in the UK and two in the USA are collaborating to share elearning resources in the subject domains of Physical, Environmental and Human Geography. The project, currently in its third year, is funded by the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the USA’s National Science Foundation (NSF). The development period of the project finishes at the end of January 2006, after which there will be a two year embedding phase. In order to support teaching staff in designing and sharing learning activities, project members in the School of Education and the Learning Technologies Research Group at the University of Southampton have developed an online Learning Design Toolkit. Three main strands underpin our approach. These are firstly to research, understand and apply what is going on in the learning design field, particularly evolving standards in the areas of sharing digital resources, interoperability, searching, re-purposing, permissions. Secondly, to work closely with teaching colleagues to analyse their methods, when creating or re-purposing resources, and be guided by their requirements. Lastly, to enshrine good practice within the toolkit, such that it will guide and support teachers in as they create, modify, and share teaching and learning resources. The elements of a learning activity have been defined and taxonomies adopted or developed for learning and teaching approach, learning outcomes, tasks, tools and resources. These have been modelled in the toolkit’s database and are used both to guide teachers as they create or re-purpose learning activities and as potential metadata for other practitioners searching for resources. The toolkit has an adaptive interface to offer appropriate support to both experienced and inexperienced academics. The toolkit specification and taxonomies have been compared to other approaches, most notably IMS Learning Design. It has proved informative to map between the toolkit elements and IMS-LD metadata. Work is ongoing in this area. This symposium will be chaired by Professor Conole, Chair in Educational Innovation, who will also present a paper on the initial requirements analysis and top-level design of the toolkit. Dr Christopher Bailey, from the Learning Technologies Group, will describe the technical development of the data model, toolkit processes and user interface. If time and facilities permit, the toolkit will be demonstrated during the session. Dr Sally Priest and Samuel Leung, from the School of Geography, will discuss the user perspective, the benefits of such a toolkit to practitioners, the enabling factors and the barriers to use and their suggestions for further enhancements. The four participants will then debate the effectiveness of this approach to supporting teachers in higher education as they create, discover, re-purpose and share eLearning resources. In chairing the discussion, Professor Conole will outline, and invite the audience to contribute, comparisons with other systems’ approaches in this domain.

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