Documentation:Learning Design Process Example 2

From UBC Wiki

Just Do It! Confessions from a Student-Led Project

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This is our documentation of our learning experiences as a student/staff design team involved in the creation of Student Toolkits on the Learning Commons site. Each phase highlights video interviews with the team - sharing their observations.

The working team

  • Sharon Doucet: developed content supported the process and supported focus groups.
  • Nick Thornton: developed content and infographics and supported focus groups.
  • Nick Harvey-Cheetham: revised content, re-designed pages for second iteration and supported focus groups.
  • Sam Wempe: developed content and forms/ reflection activities.
  • Gillian Corbo: developed content and video and supported focus groups.
  • Cindy Underhill, Learning Resource Design Strategist - CTLT - role: to provide framework for the design of the toolkits and facilitate working meetings to explore challenges and discuss approaches to the design. Facilitated and provided guidance on set up of student focus groups to assess usability of toolkits.

Why Share This?

  • Highlight extra-curricular student-led projects as learning opportunities that can be as powerful as the best learning experiences in the classroom.
  • Continue to evolve our practices as we share experiences, integrate feedback from users and flesh out questions from colleagues.
  • Explore some of the unique qualities shared by true student-led projects and the shift in roles required of collaborators on a student-staff team. Some of those unique qualities?
    • passion plus agency. These are initiatives designed by the students - they initiate, develop, revise and take responsibility for outcomes - so students bring a level of passion and interest to the work that is exceptionally high.
    • mentorship. Students are learning and benefit with mentorship in areas that are foundational to the project's success. This requires time and dedication to the process.
    • risk taking. Learning is messy and projects led by students are as much about their learning as the project outcomes. Sometimes outcomes are unintended.

Purpose+agency+openness+mentorship = sustained motivation +reflection = learning

What Do We Want From You?

  • engagement in an honest discussion about the possibilities and pitfalls that you see in each phase of the project. We'll ask: "If you were a mentor to students in this phase of the project, what do you think would be important?" How would you engage with the process?
  • reflection on the student confessions/comments related to each project phase. We'll ask: "What stood out about what they shared?" "What observations do you have?"


general: part of the website re-design. tour of a toolkit (Sharon)


  • Open brainstorm: what helps you learn from a self guided resource?
  • Weekly working sessions to address learning design issues
  • Integration with (using WordPress as platform)
  • Adapting existing content for each of the toolkit themes.
  • Finding and selecting related resources on each theme to facilitate further exploration.


People Skills Time Technology
  • 4 full time work/study students
  • 1 learning resource designer staff
  • access to tech support team
  • experience as learners
  • teaching
  • linear/pragmatic thinking
  • creative/ relational thinking
  • some technical skills/interest
  • learning design
  • 6 hours week of dedicated time per student
  • weekly working sessions (2 hrs)
  • time to consult with tech team re: g-forms plug-in as required
  • gravity forms (g-forms)WordPress plug-in
  • Slideshare (work-around for re-publishing issues)
  • Dropbox (for file sharing and collaboration)
  • Keynote or Powerpoint (for slide creation)
  • video recording/editing - publishing to YouTube

Design & Planning Resources

4 Phases

Phase 1: Momentum

Students are discussing... Students are engaged in... Key Themes
  • Let's create a learning tool that is about how students REALLY learn.
  • We can use how we learn as an example.
  • We want it to be useful (produce something tangible),practical and personalized.
  • Generating ideas
  • Early experiments
  • Getting feedback on ideas
  • Defining scope
  • visioning
  • imagining
  • experimenting

Phase 2: Design

Students are discussing... Students are engaged in... Key Themes
  • How DO students really learn?
  • Which students are we talking about?
  • How do arts students study differently from science?
  • How can we develop something that will be useful to everyone? OMG!
  • Developing a framework based on learning theory.
  • Identifying user motivations: "why should I care?"
  • Creating questions
  • Deciding on main themes
  • sorting/filtering
  • creating
  • narrowing focus

Phase 3: Assemblage

Students are discussing... Students are engaged in... Key Themes
  • Let's just stick to the most relevant material.
  • How do we decide what's the most relevant?
  • What about asking other students what they think?
  • What reflection questions do we want to ask?
  • Curating content
  • Designing user experience (forms)
  • Reviewing material
  • Considering/solving design challenges
  • curating
  • applying
  • editing

Phase 4: Feedback

Students are discussing... Students are engaged in... Key Themes
  • We need to collect feedback from students who use the toolkit.
  • A survey plus focus groups would be helpful.
  • How do we do this?
  • Survey design
  • Focus group process design
  • Focus group facilitation
  • reviewing
  • preparing
  • solving design problems
  • addressing usability issues

What is Learning Design? Basically, it's the design of a learning experience to address an expressed or defined problem or challenge and usually some pre-determined learning objectives or intentions. It involves consideration of the actions that learners may take in order to learn and design decisions are based on current knowledge about how people learn. Like all design processes, it is not linear, it is messy and involves trying things out, seeing what works, making alterations, and re-working. A key component is feedback and dialogue at every step in the process. Coming up with ways to represent the design ideas (or skeleton frameworks for discussion) are essential to the conversation. A good learning design is flexible, re-usable and adaptable to a variety of learning preferences.