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ABC Learning design


Online ABC

How can ABC meet the current need to move quickly to Connected Learning and mostly online modes of study? While the ‘full’ design workshop would be ideal, it remains challenging with social distancing. Nonetheless individuals and teams can still use learning types to identify opportunities for online active learning and help prioritise changes. The UCL team can support colleagues to do this using Teams or Collaborate. We can even work collaboratively with full (re)designs, but present here a basic process of partial redesign, focusing on parts of the module or even specific sessions. The whole process should take no more than an hour.

1. Before you start, review your module/session Learning Outcomes.  What are the key things you want your students to be able to do/know/create etc once they have completed. These should be considered in alignment with summative assessment (See CLE Sections 4.1 and 4.3).

2. Tweet your module! With the outcomes (and the audience) devise a short description of your module in the format “Biology 101 – everything from Darwin to DNA #biology“. You don’t have to tweet, the idea is – usually as a team – to decide on the ‘essence’, the ‘USP’ etc of the module.

3. Review the learning types used in your module. The learning types are derived from the highly respected ‘Conversational Framework’ model of adult learning developed by Prof Diana Laurillard of the Institute of Education, UCL. These videos explain the concept.

Video: Prof Laurillard introduces the Conversational Framework (Only the title is in Italian!)

Video: Prof Laurillard introduces the six learning types (2′) Note: ‘Inquiry’ is used here instead of ‘Investigation’.

In the ‘normal’ ABC workshop the teams work with postcard-sized cards listing ‘conventional’ and digital examples activity associated with each of Prof Laurillard’s learning types (see below) but teams are able and encouraged to add their own activities to the cards.

Cards are a little hard to work with online, so we have produced a huge ‘crib sheet’, linking the learning types with the blended and online examples. You can find it here ABC Connected Learning Activities (word doc).

A2 ABC Connected learning activities and tools sheet


Have a look though the Definition and Conventional columns. What are you currently using? It is useful to represent the mix as a ‘shape’ or star diagram. The shape can reveal where focus of the course is at the moment, and things you might want to change in the online version. People often want to increase collaboration and discussion, sometimes investigation but it depends on the module.

If you want a digital version of this, we have a neat tool in Excel that will draw the shape for you.

ABC-LD-shape-tool (Excel)

4. Consider how much you envisage the module being delivered asynchronously or synchronously. If you are not sure of the difference, Planning for Autumn Term 2020-21 (7 July 2020) has a good discussion of the pros and cons as they relates to UCL. The Case Study Six things I learned moving my face-to-face module online provides a practical perspective.

5. Use the learning types to consider digital alternatives to ‘conventional’ teaching and learning? Back with the Connected Learning Activities sheet, look at the columns Online and Tools. Select the ones you wish to use. If you find the the sheet unwieldy or need more information/inspiration, these pages provide additional ideas.

6. Check the shape again – have you included the changes you wanted?

7. Prioritise your changes and make and action plan. Where do you want the biggest change to occur? Can you see digital alternatives? Is the balance between asynchronous and synchronous good? Are you still meeting the learning outcomes? Is the assessment plan still aligned? If there are areas you are not sure about, or you want to look more deeply at parts of the module, contact your Faculty Learning Technology Lead,  Arena or Digital Education Advisor.


Additional resources

ABC LD UCL Connected Learning Tool wheel (PPT)

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ABC LD UCL and Erasmus+ ABC to VLE partners Tool wheel ( PPT)

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Learning Designer

Moodle Tools for Connected Learning

Moodle Tools Pedagogical Overview