Nataša Perović and I took UCL’s popular ABC learning design workshop on the road last week, on Friday running a session for the first time outside UCL. We were invited to the University of Glasgow by ex-UCL colleague Dr Vicki Dale, now with their Learning Technology Unit. Vicki had seen the workshop running in London and was keen to try it with her colleagues. 32 participants came from all four of Glasgow’s colleges and the energy in the room was remarkable and indicative of the huge interest generated. We were pleased to see the method was as “really useful” for Glasgow participants (see below) as we have found it with UCL colleagues.
In a curious coincidence on Friday the ABC method was also used for the first time abroad, this time in Santiago, Chile. Robert Pardo, Director of the Centro de Aprendizaje, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, had taken our materials, translated them into Spanish and after a couple of Skype sessions with us ran the workshop very successfully with a group of his colleagues. His conclusion? ” It works!! “
Digital Education has now run 21 of our popular rapid learning design workshops. ABC uses an effective and engaging paper card-based method in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and over the last year has helped 70 module and course teams design and sequence engaging learning activities. It has proved particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format.
To find out if ABC is for you this short video captured one of our workshops earlier this year.
“I thought the ABC session was really helpful. I had been a little unsure ahead of the session what it would achieve – but I genuinely got a lot from it. Going back to the basics of methods etc really helped focus on the structure and balance of the module. I thought the output was very useful.”
“Thank you for convening the abc workshop today, i found it thought provoking and challenged the way we think about our teaching. It is too easy to stick to what we have done previously and I found today gave me different ways to think about how to evaluate our current teaching and to bring in different approaches. It will definitely improve my thinking and I will continue with the approach to incorporate some of the ideas into the modules.”
“Thank you for the workshop today- it was an eye opener. I found it really useful to think about categorising how the learning objectives will be delivered and assessed, and examining the variety of ways that these can be achieved. It made me think more deeply about what skills the students can develop by making them responsible for their learning journey and not simply the content that needs to be delivered to them. We will let you know how it goes!”
“It was great and many initiatives have emerged from it.”
For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša
We are currently developing an online toolkit to support the workshop, have been working closely with CALT to embed the Connected Curriculum in designs and we are developing collaboration projects with The University of Glasgow, Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Leiden (Netherland) and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile) in order to look at the learning impact of this method. Our colleagues in Chile are even translating the workshop into Spanish.
ABC Curriculum tour dates for 2016 and Summary of 2015
For questions and workshops contact Clive and Nataša
Book us early! We start our ABC 2016 tour with a visit to Glasgow!
The ABC curriculum design method uses an effective and engaging paper card-based approach in a 90 minute hands-on workshop. It is based on research from the JISC and UCL IoE and designed to help module teams design engaging learning activities. It is particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format. More information below.
December 2015 – ALT Winter Conference webinar
The ABCs of rapid blended course design by Clive Young and Nataša Perović. Recording of the session is available to view here: http://go.alt.ac.uk/1NIpziZ
December 2015 – A brief overview of ABC curriculum design method by Clive
October 2015 – Presentation about the ABC workshops
A 90 minute hands-on workshop to help module teams design engaging learning activities.
Teams work together to create a visual ‘storyboard’ showing 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 more blended format.
Between March and September we had 11 workshops with 37 teams from SLMS and BEAMS.
The feedback from participants:
“This process was really useful. It helps us think about the modules in their entirety. It is really good how everything maps out in a clear framework like this.“
“We haven’t had such level of detailed discussion as a team. I think the structure and the materials are facilitated well. “
“It is a good way of focusing on creating the balance within a course.“
“It makes you think about: OK , we are going to use this technique, but where, how, for what and how does it fit with everything else? And this is the way into that, I think.“
“It helped us formulate in our own mind the course structure. Yes, very useful.“
“Made me more conscious of a formative assessment, which really did not occur to me before. “
“This has been extremely useful. Not only that we start to think about individual modules and how we can use electronic resources, but it makes us think about the degree together, rather than as separate modules. “
“It reminds you of all different formats that you can use, rather than sticking to the same old same old.“
“I think it was good to take a step back from the content and look at the varied type of activity. “
“We are not trying to be very innovative, but it is a question of being open to new ideas“
To organise ABC workshop for your programme contact Clive Young and Nataša Perović.
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.
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.
The storyboard can then be used to develop detailed student documentation or outline a Moodle course (a module in Mooodle).
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