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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


ABC (Arena Blended Connected) curriculum design

By Natasa Perovic, on 9 April 2015

(For latest news about ABC LD, visit ABC LD blog)

The ABC curriculum design method is a ninety-minute hands-on workshop for module (and programme) teams. This rapid-design method starts with your normal module (programme) documentation and will help you create a visual ‘storyboard’. A storyboard lays out the type and sequence learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes and how these will be assessed. ABC is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or a more blended format.

The method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach based on research from the JISC* and UCL IoE**. Six common types of learning activities are represented by six cards. These types are acquisition, inquiry, practice, production, discussion and collaboration.


The team starts by writing a very short ‘catalogue’ description of the module to highlight its unique aspects. The rough proportion of each type is agreed (e.g. how much practice, or collaboration) and the envisaged blend of face-to-face and online.


Next the team plan the distribution of each learning type by arranging the postcard-sized cards along the timeline of the module. With this outline agreed participants turn over the cards. Each card lists online and conventional activities associated with each learning types and the team can pick from this list and add their own.

workshop team selecting activities

The type and range of learner activities soon becomes clear and the cards often suggest new approaches. The aim of this process is not to advocate any ‘ideal’ mix but to stimulate a structured conversation among the team.

Participants then look for opportunities for formative and summative assessment linked to the activities, and ensure these are aligned to the module’s learning outcomes.



The final stage is a review to see if the balance of activities and the blend have changed, agree and photograph the new storyboard. graph_s

The storyboard can then be used to develop detailed student documentation or outline a Moodle course (a module in Mooodle).



The ABC team is developing a program-level version based on the Connected Curriculum principles.

Participants’ thoughts about ABC curriculum design workshop:



For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša cy_np




*Viewpoints project JISC

**UCL IoE: Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.


6 Responses to “ABC (Arena Blended Connected) curriculum design”

  • 1
    Sue Hellman wrote on 2 April 2016:

    Hi. I’m very interested in this project but am finding the cards almost impossible to read. I have seen the cards with the strategies printed on the back, but like these with the circles on the front. If I enlarge the image provided here, the print resolution is too fuzzy. Do you have a full sized set?

  • 2
    Natasa Perovic wrote on 13 April 2016:

    Hello Sue, please download the full set from this blog post: ABC workshop resources and participants’ feedback http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/09/30/9169/ When printing the cards, pease select handouts/2 slides a page, double sided. Contact us if you would like to know more.

  • 3
    David Bevington wrote on 9 May 2016:

    I am very interested in this project. The first image in this post has the learning type cards. Each card has a differing number of small circles stuck to them. I cannot work out the words on these small images, but recognise that the different colours repeat the same phrase. I have downloaded the full set, as mentioned in the comment, but can not find images for the small circles. What do these images say? Or are they created by the workshop participants and is the colour of the circle significant? Thanks.

  • 4
    Natasa Perovic wrote on 1 June 2016:

    Dear David,
    Did you manage to download the resources? Here is the link http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/09/30/9169/
    I shall contact you via email to check what images are missing.
    Best wishes

  • 5
    TEL FEST: 11 – 13 July 2017 (Save the date!) | TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED LEARNING wrote on 11 May 2017:

    […] ABC Curriculum Design workshop With links to the Curriculum Framework initiative, a rapid-design workshop useful for new programmes and those being reviewed and changing to a more blended format (Clive Young & Natasa Perovic, University College, London) […]

  • 6
    The third day note of #ALTC 2017 | Web n' Circle wrote on 10 September 2017:

    […] very useful session for me is to learn the ABC (Arena Blended Connected) curriculum design from Natasa Perovic and Clive Young’s (UCL) “Presentation: Our rapid blended learning design […]

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