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Conclusion: Revisiting Learning Design Definitions

April 16, 2013

Many educators already use the phase “Learning Design” in a much more general sense than an abstract framework for describing teaching and learning activities or a Conceptual Map. Educators often use “Learning Design” to talk about their everyday decisions about how they teach, in the sense of “how do I design activities to help my students to learn?” This is Learning Design as a practice – a verb – rather than as a static concept – a noun to describe a field of study. It is Learning Design as “designing for learning”.

At this point we are conscious of Peter Goodyear’s caution that learning takes place inside the learner, and so there is nothing an educator can do to ensure that learning takes place (Goodyear & Retalis, 2010). However, an educator can carefully design teaching and learning activities that encourage learning to take place – this is what we mean by “designing for learning”.

Given the conceptual foundations we have laid in this paper and our discussion of effective teaching and learning approaches, we now offer a new synthesis for the field of Learning Design. The concept of a framework for describing teaching and learning activities (based on many different pedagogical approaches) that we have earlier defined as “Learning Design” can now be given a more precise phrasing as a “Learning Design Framework” (LD-F). The Learning Design Conceptual Map (LD-CM) provides the link between the core concept of the LD-F (together with guidance and sharing) and the wider educational landscape. The day-to-day practices of teachers as they design for learning, and increasingly use the evolving Learning Design Frameworks and the Learning Design Conceptual Map to guide them, can be called Learning Design Practice (LD-P). Taken together, these three ideas provide a foundation for the future of the field of Learning Design – see Figure 11.

LD field components

Figure 11: Components of the field of Learning Design



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