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ABC LD – the next steps

NatasaPerovic13 July 2018

UCL Digital Education has been awarded two year Erasmus+ funding to develop their well-known ABC learning design workshop with a 12 European universities. Since its inception at UCL only three years ago this unique ‘rapid-development’ approach to help academics develop high tech student-focused modules and programmes has had an unprecedented impact on the sector. Dr Clive Young, the originator of ABC alongside his Digital Education colleague Nataša Perović, gives the reasons for its success, “Most universities have aspirational strategies to develop future-looking digitally rich and blended courses, but few teachers have the skills, knowledge and time to redesign their programmes”. ABC is UCL’s response, a light touch team-based approach which co-creates a visual storyboard for a module in just 90 minutes. Over 75 workshops have been run at UCL with nearly 500 academics (and students) redesigning around 200 modules. The participant response has been overwhelmingly positive and ABC was soon picked up beyond UCL, and is now used at 20 other universities in the UK alone. The Erasmus project builds a strategic partnership between UCL, six other universities from the League of European Universities (Amsterdam, Helsinki, Leuven, Milan and the Sorbonne, with Oxford as an associate) and six innovative universities from Belgium, Denmark, Croatia, Estonia, Ireland and Romania. The partnership will develop ABC as a downloadable toolkit that can be used globally by any institution in the sector.  More information…

Follow the project progress via twitter @ABCtoVLE @ABC_LD.

ABC LD resources in Norwegian

NatasaPerovic15 June 2018

Norwegian translation of ABC LD resources kindly provided byVegard Skipnes / LearningLab / BI Norwegian Business School (https://www.bi.edu/).

 

If you have any questions about the Norwegian translation, email Nataša for contact details.

 

Download (PPTX, 128KB)

Learning types cards

 

Download (PPTX, 84KB)

Tweet and shape

 

Download (PPTX, 91KB)

Storyboard worksheet

 

Download (DOCX, 64KB)

Action plan

ABC LD resources in Swedish

NatasaPerovic29 May 2018

Swedish translation of ABC LD resources kindly provided by Maria Sunnerstam, Pedagogisk utvecklare, PIL-enheten, Göteborgs universitet (www.pil.gu.se)

 

Download (PPTX, 1.4MB)

ABC LD resources in Estonian

NatasaPerovic10 April 2018

Estonian translation of ABC LD resources kindly provided by Linda Helene Sillat and her colleagues from from Tallinna Ülikool, Estonia (https://www.tlu.ee/).

 

ABC LD Learning types cards

Download (PPTX, 139KB)

 

ABC LD Additional online activities

Download (PPTX, 78KB)

 

ABC LD workshop facilitation plan

Download (DOCX, 61KB)

 

ABC LD action plan

Download (DOCX, 64KB)

ABC mini conference

NatasaPerovic28 March 2018

We had our first ABC conference!

Our ABC Learning Design Mini Conference was held at UCL Knowledge Lab on the 9th March 2018. The event was sponsored by the HEFCE Catalyst programme.

Morning session included:

  • Brief overview of conversational framework and learning types by Professor Diana Laurillard
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  • Full ABC workshop for people who have not participated in the workshop before
  • Discussion/Q&A

The Afternoon session was tailored for people who were more familiar with ABC and interested in institutional implementation of the method.

The session included

Followed by ABC LD, Perspectives from other universities by

We also formally launched the ABC UK community.

Big thank you to all the speakers!

Thank you to Dewi Parry for his reflection on the conference!

Thank you to all participants for the great day and lovely tweets!

 

ABC LD 2017 July – December summary

NatasaPerovic17 January 2018

The second half of the year was equally busy for ABC_LD.

in August, our Chilean colleagues @AprendizajeUAI from University Adolfo Ibanez facilitated workshops for 9 univerities in Santiago

Our Arena colleagues designed the Arena Two

 

We visited  UWS in Paisley

and Queen Margaret in Edinburgh

We went to ALTC 2017

to present

and facilitate ABC LD workshop

some of the participants  started using the method in the following week

Clive delivered keynote at ILIAS conference in Freiburg

and facilitated the workshop

Back in London we had a visit from  Danish collegues

 

New cohort of MRes students designed their RPD module

Colleagues  from Doha attended our workshop in London

colleagues at QMUL were playing with the ‘tool wheel’. Looking forward to seeing the QMUL version

University of Reading colleagues mentioned us in their talk at bbmoco

Eastman Dental Institute education day at Royal Free was well attended and very productive

At the same time in Italy…

Glasgow University used ABC_LD to design MOOCs

Kristy Evers presented her research work on ABC in Rome

BATJ teachers liked the method. Japanese translation expected in 2018

Colleagues at KU Leuven facilitated their forst ABC

Nick Grindle took ABC to Cyprus

While we worked in Wellcome trust in London

BEAMS

and SLMS

ABC got a place on the Learning Design family tree!

3 Arena two sessions facilitated for academics

another workshop at UCL Qatar

Clive and Natasa took ABC to OEB conference.

AOur colleague Vicki, mentions how ABC is used in Glasgow in this video

We released ABC version in French

Canterbury Christ Church colleagues ABC workshop looks well attended

Lincoln University colleagues share their thughts on ABC_LD

Where will we go next?

ABC LD resources in Flemish

NatasaPerovic14 November 2017

Flemish translation of ABC LD resources  kindly provided by our colleagues Sylke Vandercruysse, Delphine Wante and Sofie Bamelis from VIVES Hogeschool, Belgium (https://www.vives.be/nl).

Download (PDF, 297KB)

About ABC LD workshop – folder

 

Download (PPTX, 163KB)

ABC LD cards in Flemish – ABC kaartjes leeractiviteiten

 

Download (PPTX, 151KB)

ABC LD graphs – ABC LD startblad

 

Download (PPTX, 106KB)

ABC LD storyboard

 

VIVES poster at ICED 2018 (https://www.iced2018.com/)

Download (PDF, 1.41MB)

Teaching as design – Part 2

NatasaPerovic14 August 2017

In Teaching as design – Part 1 we describe Peter Goodyear, professor of education at the University of Sydney, as one of the inspirations for UCL’s ABC approach to learning design. In this post we explore how his concept of “teaching as design” aligns with many of our ABC activities.

In the 2013 paper “In medias res: reframing design for learning”, Goodyear and Dimitriades recognise that design s “becoming a more recognisable and significant part of the work of teachers generally” (2013:1) and felt it timely to “clarify” some ideas about design for learning as follows.

  1. Learning cannot be designed it can only be designed for – we cannot design someone else’s learning experience – hence “design for learning” rather than “learning design”. The latter term is more associated with classic notions of instructional design that require clear, discrete outcomes and compliant learners. The authors’ view of design is that it can only have an indirect effect on student learning activity.
  2. Design should be a core part of on-going educational practice, not project based i.e sustainable.
  3. Design often starts “In media res” i.e. in the middle of its lifecycle. It is rarely a blank sheet but comes from review and redesign or post validation, where many parameters have been set. Fixed project-based sequences of instructional design such as ADDIE run contrary to the cycles of normal educational development.
  4. The role of the teacher needs to be clear, especially at ‘learntime’  – i.e. when the course actually runs. If the teacher is present she can clarify and fill in the gaps on the fly; if not, as with much blended learning, careful design is much more important to identify  and pre-empt problems.
  5. “Design should look forward” – this means that adaptations and reconfigurations should be expected and accommodated, teacher support at learntime should be designed in (dashboards, activity data etc), evaluation data should be picked up and reflected on and finally this should encourage and feed into redesign.

ABC recognises all these points. In the workshop there is usually much discussion of what kind of activities can be used to reach specific learning outcomes. The “serving suggestion” of digital and conventional methods on the back of the cards indicates multiple approaches may be possible. The workshops occur by invitation and are planned for when the teams find them useful. This can occur at any time in the design and re-design cycle, but we have found “in media res” is often optimal as some preliminary thinking has already been done. ABC may be less effective with “blank sheet” course, which usually require some preliminary business case and value elicitation work to provide a focus (a “design brief”). The designers are usually also the teachers, but by storyboarding the student experience their role should become clear and is always open to cross-examination by colleagues in the  design team. We always suggest ABC designs could be used to record planned activity, identify and track changes, and benchmark intentions against outcomes. The idea of explicitly recording activity indicators is interesting and could be developed further.

The authors then proposed a ‘reframing’ of learning design theory around a number of points, including the following.

  • The focus should be on what the student does i.e. activity-centred design. The problem is one activity may span several learning outcomes, so there is no ‘optimal’ solution.
  • It is necessary to have a clear view of “that which has been designed”. Implicit activities should be avoided (e.g on-the-fly teaching) and design activity should result in the in the creation of “things” which can influence behaviour, activity, experience and learning.
  • The task impacts learning more than the mode, “it is the characteristics of the task, rather than the medium in which it is inscribed, that most influence the learning activity and its outcomes”.
  • Learning design is not only the design of tasks but the design of supporting tools and resources, the “learning environment”, and the social setting (e.g. organisation of students for group work).
  • Locus of control is always an underlying tension. Are designs explicit instructions or “just” recommendations (with implications for student autonomy) of tasks, tools and social organization? How much interpretation is allowed?

Activity-centred design is the core ethos of ABC, and the storyboard provides the “clear view”, an artifact that can be produced and discussed. The learning environment is addressed after the ABC workshop through suggestions of tools that can be used, and even a baseline of minimal provision, the UCL E-Learning Baseline.

The authors conclude; “support should be provided so that redesign may be performed as easily and fluently as possible and “good design acknowledges the fact that redesign is the norm, not the exception”. One of the challenges for ABC is providing the initial support for academic teams then maintaining a dialogue with them to encourage and support subsequent redesign. The locus of control issue is more challenging, but we have found in ABC the more experienced designer-teachers to be fairly pragmatic in how much flexibility the students can cope with.

In the 2015 paper “Teaching as design” referred to in the previous article Peter Goodyear elaborates these principles but makes it clearer what design is, and that “planning and design are not the same thing”.

Design typically results in the creation of specifications of some kind, rather than directly in a finished product. It produces blueprints, plans, sketches: inscriptions of various types, that guide the creation of an imagined end product”. This is very much what we intend with the ABC storyboards, they do not attempt to create the actual learning objects, that is intended to occur post-workshop. He reiterates, “design usually entails resolving tensions between competing objectives”.

Reframing the problem and running small-scale ‘design experiments’ are typical designerly responses.

In the 2015 paper Peter makes a forceful argument that

“… teaching traditionally—in the literal sense of teaching as one was taught oneself—is unable to cope with the changes now besetting higher education. Shifting resources towards design for learning, and adopting more effective design practices, is a credible strategy for improving the quality of higher education while managing with tighter funding”.

He thus presents both an economic and an educational case for supporting the design process institutionally and building capacity among lecturers and professional support staff.

Four drivers of change are identified, familiar to anyone working in the higher education sector that make, “teaching approaches that may have been the norm 20 or even 10 years ago no longer look affordable or appealing”.

teaching_as_design

Image  – Drivers of change: ‘teaching as design’ as a means of resolving conflicting forces shaping contemporary higher education (Goodyear 2015)

 

It is not hard to see how Peter’s arguments here align with ABC’s approach to learning design. Putting design at the centre of these clear challenges emphasises that,

evidence-informed, creative, design-based strategies will be needed if universities are to generate innovative repertoires of educational approaches to deal with, and ideally to anticipate, changes in their operating environments”.

He adds

“This assertion means much more than employing greater numbers of better-trained educational designers, useful though this should be. It means making universities more design-savvy; helping everyone in the institution participate in knowledgeable, design-led change.”

This is what ABC aims to achieve at UCL and beyond.

(The rest of the paper expands on the science of design and may be addressed at another time).

 

References

Goodyear, P. (2015). Teaching as design. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 2, 27–50.

Goodyear, P., Dimitriadis, Y. (2013). In medias res: reframing design for learning. Research in Learning Technology, 21(SUPPL.1), 1-13.

 

 

Teaching as design – Part 1

NatasaPerovic14 August 2017

One of the inspirations for UCL’s ABC approach is the learning design work of Peter Goodyear, professor of education at the University of Sydney. Prof Goodyear is to be a keynote at ALT-C in Liverpool next month, but there is a chance to hear his thoughts on “Teaching as Design” in a Soundcloud recorded a few weeks ago for the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

https://soundcloud.com/melbourne-cshe/episode-3-teaching-as-design-with-peter-goodyear

Peter describes design is “an orderly way of approaching a complex problem”. He advocates an activity-based approach – what is it your students are going to do? – to help achieve better educational results and alignment between intended learning objectives, assessment tasks and so on. Activity-based design can also prevent a hasty “leap to a solution”, providing an alternative to a focus around “content” or discipline structure focus. This in turn can help teachers  “think more deeply about the educational problem, maybe by reframing it”.

A shift to design methods may not actually be too daunting. Teachers are well used to approach problems in a systematic way and structured approaches do not (and can not) replace experiential or intuitive approaches, design simply makes tacit knowledge more tangible. As we have found with ABC, this clarity is especially valuable when teachers work together for example co-designing in a programme team. Thus,

“…the very act of putting things into words, having a conversation, having a bit of argument, of scrutiny, or having to justify what you’re doing. That’s, I think, inherently beneficial, even if it doesn’t lead to short-term changes or improvements. We become better able to interrogate what we’re doing and justify what we’re doing and think of alternatives”.

In contrast with classical instructional design, this approach provides a blend between the intuitive and the systematic.

Many activities will address a range of learning outcomes (e.g. enhancing practice, autonomy, group work etc.). Educational design can be described as a ‘wicked’ problem, i.e. there is no optimal solution. He later says what actually works is a complex assemblage of components that solves different parts of the problem.

Peter identifies a growing interest in design, “designerly” activity and design capability, due to the growth of virtual learning environments like Moodle coupled with curriculum reform initiatives like the Connected Curriculum at UCL. In combination these necessitate and empower design but also make it more visible at an institutional level and gradually more evident in general discourse.

The importance of local and discipline-specific knowledge however is also recognised, especially when applying generic tools and approaches, though some teaching approaches and tactics transfer surprisingly well from one subject to another.

Could students be involved in the design? Students are already involved now  – they respond to and  interpret the tasks – but not in a designerly way, so they could be brought in upstream at the curriculum design stage, maybe especially around broader learning objectives and attributes such as helping students becoming more autonomous learners.

More information about a module designed by UCL students 2017/18

Reflecting on his own research into strategies that really made a difference in terms of the enhancement of teaching and learning, Peter found “working at the level of a whole programme made a great deal of sense, very little point working with individual academics”. He argues programme/department/school level is the optimal unit to work with to establish a more “designerly” culture.

The next section of the interview explores the interesting notion of epistemic fluency.

Does all this not put additional pressure on academics? Peter starkly describes learning design as a “survival strategy”, “…unless as an academic you spend more time on design, you’re going to burn out”.  However, team-based teaching and informal engagement by individuals in communities of practice that can share teaching experiences and resources can be hugely beneficial.

 

References

Goodyear, P. (2015). Teaching as design. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 2, 27–50.

Goodyear, P. (2005). Educational design and networked learning: patterns, pattern languages and design practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (Online), 21(1), 82-101.

ABC LD 2017 January to July summary

NatasaPerovic11 August 2017

ABC LD team had a very busy year so far.

In January we facilitated ABC workshop for our UCL RITS colleagues

followed by learnhack 3.0 , where students designed for learning of their radio audience in Nepal.


At the end of January we visited University of Milan and facilitated 2 workshops; one with resources in English and the second one with resources in Italian.

In February we were back at UCL for new Medical Sciences MSc

On the road again – workshops in Lund University in Sweden

Jess took ABC to UCL Qatar

And Natasa updated LDCIN on ABC progress

In March we facilitated ‘train the trainer’ ABC workshop in Canterbury Christ Church University

and three Arena two sessions in UCL

we worked with UCL MOOCs teams (MOOCs ABC cards)


and short courses teams (in nice locations)

In April we worked with programme review teams in UCL

Updated HEFCE on ACE progress

and participated in ABC Webinar for Swedish audience (recording)

In May we facilitated workshops at Tallinn University in Estonia

and Skovde Univerity (video) in Sweden

We faciliatated ‘train the trainer’ workshop with a great TEL team in University of Reading

In June Natasa and Maria from Lund faciliated ABC workshop at EDEN17 conference in Jonkoping


Clive and Natasa facilitated ABC at JISC connectmore17 event in London

and at Learning at City conference at City University London

followed by 3 workshops at Univeristy of Utrecht

Jess facilitated ABC workshop in Denmark

Clive and Natasa presented about ABC at ConnectingHE conference (x3)

and facilitated ABC at JISC connectmore17 in Birmingham

In July we presented our paper “The Secret of ABC Rapid  Learning Design: Think Globally, Act Locally” with Manuela from University of Milan at Edulearn17 conference (slideshare)

On our way home, we visited Gemma and her digital education colleagues at Univeristy of Barcelona

Back at the base we had a great programme review workshop with Health informatics team in UCL


before spending two interesting and productive days working at the UPMC Sorbonne Univeristies  in Paris

We finished our ABC tour at the excellent TELfest at University of Reading