Find out more about the Learning Design Voices project!
During the pandemic, the pivot to emergency remote teaching highlighted the depth and extent of inequalities facing communities, particularly in relation to access to resources and literacies for online learning in higher educational contexts. Imported solutions that failed to take into consideration the constraints and cultures of local contexts were less than successful. The paucity of practitioners with online learning design experience, training and education grounded in diverse contexts made local design for local contexts difficult to carry out.
Although there is substantial research and guidance on online learning design, there is an opportunity to create texts deliberately oriented to practice. Further, online learning design, as a field of practice and research, is strongly shaped by experiences and practices from the Global North. While many of the books written from this perspective are theoretically useful as a starting point, the disjuncture between theory and practice for practitioners in less well-resourced contexts where local experiences are invisible, can be jarring.
The goal of this text is to offer a discussion of key themes shaping practice in online learning design, in the form of provocations by key voices in the field, and to offer chapters that illuminate or trouble these themes. Further, we seek to listen more closely to voices from the historical margins to understand better what learning design, as a practice, a field of research and process means in Africa, Asian and South America contexts. This is an opportunity to create a text deliberately oriented to practice, grounded in diverse contexts and showcasing a wide variety of learning design responses while remaining grounded in commitments to equitable access and success.
This book seeks to be useful for both staff and students in formal learning contexts such as diploma or certificate courses, we imagine that it will provide a useful handbook for those working in online learning design from learning designers to academic staff taking courses online to staff developers who support those processes.
The book is structured around provocations, highlighting key concepts and debates related to that topic. We invite chapter submissions that respond to one of the provocations below. This is not another theory book. We’re looking primarily for empirical, place-based pieces, practical advice and experiences which are theoretically informed. Threaded through all the chapters, we expect border perspectives, peripheral views, equity considerations and the like to be incorporated. We would welcome interactive and multimodal components such as images, videos, reflective exercises and other multimedia elements in your chapter, that can be used by readers for reflection or as teaching exercises.
Provocation 1: Learning Design as field, praxis and identity
Learning design has emerged as an area of work or practice, a space for research, and a marker of professional identity. How do you see learning design? How is learning design viewed in your context? How do we, or should we, support the development of learning design? What models and assumptions underpin our work in learning design, and to what extent do these models support practice in your context? For this section, we are looking for chapters that offer insight into how learning design is located, functions and is valued in a variety of contexts.
Provocation 2: Humanising Learning Design
Online learning faces increasing calls to centre inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility. What inclusive, diverse and accessible online learning looks like is by no means universal. We invite for this section, chapters that demonstrate how the design and experience of critically grounded online learning can create opportunities for learning for a wide range of students, typically “othered”, marginalised, or excluded from online learning spaces.
Provocation 3: Learning activities, processes and materials
Much of the work around process and materials creation in relation to learning design assumes access to resources and skills that are limited in the developing world. We invite chapters that consider how context shapes choices in relation to learning activities, processes and materials. We hope for chapters that speak to, inter alia, issues of multilingualism, accessibility, universal design for learning, and racial and cultural representation.
Provocation 4: Assessment and evaluation online
The question of assessment and the purpose of higher education are unavoidably intertwined. As the shape of higher education and its relationship to society has shifted over time, the nature of assessment has shifted. Concerns about rigour and validity are joined by concerns about authenticity, relevance and transformation. How is online assessment creating opportunities for imagining and challenging the role of assessment? We welcome, for this section, chapters focusing on online assessment practices that offer improvements on well-established practices, or offer wholly innovative takes on the form of assessment in higher education.
Provocation 5: Policy and regulatory environment
Learning design, materials design and academic expertise all take place within existing institutional, national and international policy, funding and regulatory frameworks. Online learning is still captured by the imaginaries of traditional education. How does the policy and regulatory environment in your context shape the practice of learning design? Is open education enabled or constrained by the policy environment?
Dissemination and Publication
The book will be published under a creative commons licence, encouraging its dissemination and reuse in teaching and learning spaces. We are currently in the process of selecting an open textbook ebook platform. Key criteria for the platform include that it will offer multimodal digital formats, options to download copies, and options to order print copies at cost.
(@tasneemjaffer) - Tasneem is a senior project coordinator and learning designer at University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has worked as a learning designer for the last seven years and has prior expertise in the field of user experience (UX). She has completed an MEd in Educational Technology and is currently an MBA candidate. Her work includes being involved in the development and research of MOOCs, the development of formal online courses. She has a passion for learning, specifically the intersection of learning design and UX.
(@GovenderShanali) - Shanali is a lecturer within the Academic Staff Development unit at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching. Her particular brief in the staff development team is to support part-time and non-permanent teaching staff. She currently teaches on the Postgraduate diploma in educational technologies, co-convening the Online Learning Design module. She has designed several online staff development short courses, and teaches two academic staff development online courses, Core Concepts in Learning and Teaching and An online introduction to Assessment. Shanali also has strong interests in relation to inclusivity and education, working largely in the practice space with colleagues to create more inclusive teaching and learning environments. â
(@Czernie) - Laura was the first director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), at the University of Cape Town, (2014 to 2020) having previously led UCT’s Centre for Educational Technology, OpenUCT Initiative and Multimedia Education Group. Her many roles in education over the years include academic, researcher, strategist, advocate, teacher, teacher-trainer and educational publisher. Threaded through all her work has been a focus on equity and digital inequality. These have permeated her research interests which focus on the changing nature of higher education in a digitally-mediated society and new forms of teaching and learning provision. She plays a key strategic and scholarly role in the areas of blended /online learning as well as in open education institutionally, nationally and internationally. Check out Laura's newish blogsite https://czernie.weebly.com/
The Learning Design Voices book is supported by a UCT Teaching Innovation Grant.