LAMS Conference 2011

James Dalziel: Aligning Learning Design and Curriculum Design

Various definitions of learning design:

  • A pedagogical meta-model
  • Technical specification: IMS Learning Design (2003)
  • Software system for managing sequences of content and collaborative learning activities
  • A framework/language for describing the structure of teaching and learning activities.
  • A repository of teacher-shared “digital lesson plans”
  • A community of educators sharing ideas on effective teaching
  • A process that describes how educators make decisions about L & T

Curriculum design is about structuring of the content (material being represented) and activities (the activities that are completed and how they are sequenced).

Possible models for curriculum design:

Approach one – More Top Down pedagogical by Individual:

Approach two – Use threshold concepts (big questions) and design around that

Liz Masterman – The impact of OER on teaching and learning in UK universities – Implications for Learning Design

Open Educational Resources (OERs): “teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits repurposing and reuse by others”

Changing landscape – Web 2.0, informal communities, mobile technologies…

Teacher identified benefits :

  • no copyright issues
  • Extra learning opportunities
  • multiple resources can tailor to student prefs
  • benchmarking own practice


  • Doesn’t actually save time
  • Want to put own voice into the learning experience
  • Students want tailor made for them
  • Students want activities, not just content

James Dalziel and Bronwen Dalziel  – Adaptation of Learning Designs in Teacher Training and Medical Education: Templates versus Embedded Contact

Teacher Education Lessons

  • Lesson 1 – Don’t provide teachers with too many variants of LAMS templates to illustrate a certain pedagogy – one key example of a template is preferred.
  • Lesson 2 – TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read): Provide about a half page, or even up to 3 half pages, but they want to be active very quickly.
  • Lesson 3 – Building good templates is hard work!

Medical Teacher Education Lessons

  • Lesson 1 – It is difficult to encourage Medical Educators to reflect on education
  • Lesson 2 – Templates exist at many levels – e.g. PBL can be represented in many ways, and there might be overarching templates
  • Lesson 3 – Rather than being given content they were happier to be included as experts in the design process

Also, learning design is not a linear process – iterative / cyclic approach.

Leanne Cameron: Implementing Learning Designs – The last chapter

Final part of the ALTC project “Implementing Learning Designs”. See .

The planning tool is available at . Lots of different templates (along with actual examples) such as:

  • Exploring Alternative Perspectives
  • Problem-based learning
  • Project/Case study focus
  • Predict-Observe Explain
  • Roleplaying
  • Web-dilemma
  • Webquests
  • Digital Storytelling
  • De Bono’s APC
  • De Bono’s PMI
  • De Bono’s CORT

People can add other templates (but aren’t). Could draw upon competition and social networking paradigms to encourage participation. Could encourage by highlighting value of including in eportfolio.

Other links to bookmark:


About matthewbower

Professor at Macquarie University.
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