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The Theory and Practice of Design for Learning

New Approaches Integrating Methodologies, Representations and Tools

a pre-conference workshop at online educa berlin, 30 Nov. 2011

A Detailed schedule and supporting resources are available on the workshop cloudscape

The rapid evolution and widespread use of advanced technologies offer educators and learners unprecedented opportunities to create, organise, share and access knowledge. Such technologies create potent learning environments, which are constantly shifting with escalating complexity. The challenge of education is no longer about the delivery of knowledge, it is about designing environments, tools and activities for learners to construct knowledge. In order to influence the practice of education, there is a need to acknowledge and develop the role of educational practitioners as designers of learning and establish their role as design-researchers in the context of their daily work. The onus of learning design is shared between three communities: researchers engaged in design-based research in TEL, developers producing learning design tools, and practitioners facing the daily challenge of creating learning opportunities. All three communities acknowledge the need for dialogue between them, yet rarely has there been an opportunity to engage in such discussions productively.

This workshop presented and discussed a new holistic approach that integrates innovative methodologies, tools and representations for learning design (LD). This approach aims to establish structure and provide guidance in the creation of learning interventions and resources. One important aspect involves bridging learning design theory and practice, coupled with a state-of-the-art analysis of existing practices, tools and visual representations.

This highly interactive workshop gave participants (teachers, educational practitioners, educational researchers) the opportunity to learn and discuss about the current trends in learning design (LD) techniques, representations and tools. 

The main questions-topics to addressed were:

  • Connecting research and practice, enabling educational practitioners to design and develop high-quality activities, resources and tools for learning and teaching.
  • Consolidating the diverse traditions of design-based research in education and making them accessible to the widest audience possible


10:00-10:30: Introduction to the workshop 

10:30-11:30: Learning Design: the big picture

11:30-11:45: Coffee

11:45-13:00: Presentation and walk-through with Learning Design resources

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:00: Hands-on work in groups using Learning Design resources - I

15:00-15:15 Coffee

15:15-16:30: Hands-on work in groups using Learning Design resources - II

16:30-18:00: Plenary session with conclusions based on group reports

Workshop Leaders

  • Gráinne Conole, University of Leicester, UK
  • Yannis Dimitriadis, University of Valladolid, Spain
  • Donatella Persico, Institute for Educational Technology, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy
  • Michael Derntl, RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • Symeon Retalis / Petros Georgiakakis, University of Piraeus, Greece
  • Yishay Mor, The Open University, UK
Also co-organizing: Dai Griffiths and Davinia Hernández-Leo 


Gráinne Conole: Learning Design - the big picture

Selected Design Patterns

Learning Design Tools