Timeline of an event

As readers of this blog will know, I quite like experimenting with a number of services to record, represent and re-present various activities. One tool I have been revisiting over the past few months is memolane. When I first looked at this service I thought it had potential for projects and also as a kind of corporate memory. I’ve now started to use its “story” feature to record tweets and blogs from a number of meetings and conferences e.g. e-Assessment Scotland, EuroSakai, and I’ve just pulled together my blogs and tweets from the recent Design Bash 11 meeting – see embedded story below. Clicking on the blog posts expands them so you can read the whole text, and you can move along the timeline using the arrows on top right hand side of the frame.

I think this gives a really nice overview of my pre, during and post meeting activity. I’d be interested in hearing how useful others think of this view of an event.

Design bash 11 post event ponderings and questions

Following on from my pre event ponderings and questions , this post reflects on some of the outcomes from our recent Design Bash in Oxford. A quick summary post based on tweets from the day is also available.

Below is an updated potential workflow(s) diagram which I created to encourage discussion around potential workflows for some of the systems represented at the event.

Potential learning design workflows
Potential learning design workflows

As I pointed out in my earlier post, this is not a definitive view, rather a starting point for discussion and there are obvious and quite deliberate gaps, not least the omission of content sources. As learning design is primarily about structure, process and sequencing of activities not just content, I didn’t want to make it explicit and add yet another layer of complexity to an already crowded picture. What I was keen to see was some more investigation of the links between the more staff development, face to face processes and various systems, to quote myself:

“starting from some initial face to face activities such as the workshops being so successfully developed by the Viewpoints project or the Accreditation! game from the SRC project at MMU, or the various OULDI activities, what would be the next step? Could you then transform the mostly paper based information into a set of learning outcomes using the Co-genT tool? Could the file produced there then be imported into a learning design tool such as LAMS or LDSE or Compendium LD? And/ or could the file be imported to the MUSKET tool and transformed into XCRI CAP – which could then be used for marketing purposes? Can the finished design then be imported into a or a course database and/or a runtime environment such as a VLE or LAMS? “

Well we maybe didn’t get to quite as long a chain as that, however one of the several break-out groups did identify an alternative workflow

potential workflow tweet
potential workflow tweet

During the lightening presentation session Alejandro Armellini (University of Leicester) gave an overview of the Carpe Diem learning design process they have developed. Ale outlined how learning design had provided a backbone for their OER work. More information on the process is available in this post.

In the afternoon James Dalziel demo’d another workflow, where he took a pattern from the LDSE Learning Designer (a “predict, observe, explain” pattern shown in the lightening session by Diana Laurillard) converted it into a LAMS sequence, shared it in the LAMS community and embedded it into Cloudworks. A full overview of how James went about this, with reflections on the process and a powerpoint walkthrough is available on Cloudworks. The recent sharing and embedding features of LAMS are another key development in re-use.

Although technical interoperability is a key driver for integrating systems, with learning design pedagogical interoperability is just as important. Sharing (and shareable) designs is akin to the holy grail for learning design research, but there is always an element of human translation needed.

thoughts on design process
thoughts on design process

However James’ demo did show how much closer we are now to being able to effectively and easily share design patterns. You can see another example of an embedded LAMS sequence here.

The day generated a lot of discussion and hopefully stimulated some new workflows for participants to work on. In terms of issues coming out of the discussions, below is a list of some of the common themes which emerged from the feedback session:

*how to effectively combine f2f activities with more formal institutional processes
*useful to see connections between module and course level designs being articulated more
*emerging interoperability of systems
*looking at potential integrations has raised even more questions
*links to OER
*capturing commonalities and mapping of vocabularies and tools, role of semantic technologies and linked data approaches
*sufacing elements of course, module, activity design and the potential impact on learners as well as teachers
*what are “good enough” descriptions/ representations of designs to allow real teachers to use them

So, plenty of food for thought. Over the coming months I’ll be working on a mapping of the process/tools/guides etc we know of in this space. I’ll initially focus on JISC funded work, so if you know of other learning design tools, or have a shareable workflow, then please let me know.

Quick overview of Design Bash 2011

We had another excellent Design Bash event on Friday 30 September at the University of Oxford. There was lots of discussion, sharing of ideas, practice and tools. I’ll be writing a more in-depth overview of the event over the coming week, but in the meantime, this twitter story gives a taster of the day.

View “Design Bash 2011” on Storify

Embedding LAMS sequences

This is just a quick test to illustrate the new embed feature of LAMS sequences. You can now get embed code for sequences from the LAMS Community site. You should be able to preview this sequecce, and edit it using LessonLAMS if you have an account. A great step forward from the LAMS team.

LAMS Sequence: Exploring Song Lyrics
By: James Dalziel      License:

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Design bash 11 pre-event ponderings and questions

In preparation for the this year’s Design Bash, I’ve been thinking about some of the “big” questions around learning design and what we actually want to achieve on the day.

When we first ran a design bash, 4 years ago as part of the JISC Design for Learning Programme we outlined three areas of activity /interoperability that we wanted to explore:
*System interoperability – looking at how the import and export of designs between systems can be facilitated;
*Sharing of designs – ascertaining the most effective way to export and share designs between systems;
*Describing designs – discovering the most useful representations of designs or patterns and whether they can be translated into runnable versions.

And to be fair I think these are still the valid and summarise the main areas we still need more exploration and sharing – particularly the translation into runnable versions aspect.

Over the past three years, there has been lots of progress in terms of the wider context of learning design in course and curriculum design contexts (i.e. through the JISC Curriculum Design and Delivery programmes) and also in terms of how best to support practitioners engage, develop and reflect on their practice. The evolution of the pedagogic planning tools from the Design for Learning programme into the current LDSE project being a key exemplar. We’ve also seen progress each year as a directly result of discussions at previous Design bashes e.g. embedding of LAMS sequences into Cloudworks (see my summary post from last year’s event for more details).

The work of the Curriculum Design projects in looking at the bigger picture in terms of the processes involved in formal curriculum design and approval processes, is making progress in bridging the gaps between formal course descriptions and representations/manifestations in such areas as course handbooks and marketing information, and what actually happens in the at the point of delivery to students. There is a growing set of tools emerging to help provide a number of representations of the curriculum. We also have a more thorough understanding of the wider business processes involved in curriculum approval as exemplified by this diagram from the PiP team, University of Strathclyde.

PiP Business Process workflow model
PiP Business Process workflow model

Given the multiple contexts we’re dealing with, how can we make the most of the day? Well I’d like to try and move away from the complexity of the PiP diagram concentrate a bit more on the “runtime” issue ie transforming and import representations/designs into systems which then can be used by students. It still takes a lot to beat the integration of design and runtime in LAMS imho. So, I’d like to see some exploration around potential workflows around the systems represented and how far inputs and outputs from each can actually go.

Based on some of the systems I know will be represented at the event, the diagram below makes a start at trying to illustrates some workflows we could potentially explore. N.B. This is a very simplified diagram and is meant as a starting point for discussion – it is not a complete picture.

Design Bash Workflows
Design Bash Workflows

So, for example, starting from some initial face to face activities such as the workshops being so successfully developed by the Viewpoints project or the Accreditation! game from the SRC project at MMU, or the various OULDI activities, what would be the next step? Could you then transform the mostly paper based information into a set of learning outcomes using the Co-genT tool? Could the file produced there then be imported into a learning design tool such as LAMS or LDSE or Compendium LD? And/ or could the file be imported to the MUSKET tool and transformed into XCRI CAP – which could then be used for marketing purposes? Can the finished design then be imported into a or a course database and/or a runtime environment such as a VLE or LAMS?

Or alternatively, working from the starting point of a course database, e.g. SRC where they have developed has a set template for all courses; would using the learning outcomes generating properties of the Co-genT tool enable staff to populate that database with “better” learning outcomes which are meaningful to the institution, teacher and student? (See this post for more information on the Co-genT toolkit).

Or another option, what is the scope for integrating some of these tools/workflows with other “hybrid” runtime environments such as Pebblepad?

These are just a few suggestions, and hopefully we will be able to start exploring some of them in more detail on the day. In the meantime if you have any thoughts/suggestions, I’d love to hear them.