Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What's Important about Learning Design?

One great aspect of challenge is that it leads to deeper thought and research.  Recently, and yes, yet again, my tech work has been challenged.  Hence that challenge has led me to think about what's important related to learning design.

I think of educators as curriculum choreographers--we design the day to effect optimal student learning. To design learning we have to be cognizant of our students' interests, passions and needs as well as curriculum standards, cognitive science and student development.

With that in mind, I offer the following list of important tenets with regard to learning design:

  1. Design learning events with student learning as the focus.
  2. Design learning that responds to students' interest and passions.
  3. Embed curriculum standards in learning design.
  4. Reflect with students and colleagues as the learning event takes place; adapt as necessary.
  5. Assess along the way to make sure the learning goals are being met, and revise learning as needed to effect optimal result.
  6. Make learning events authentic and meaningful.
  7. Utilize resources that can be readily revisited and replicated.
  8. Showcase learning for an audience when possible as that provides greater purpose and intent for the work. 
  9. Integrate the best old and new tools into learning events, tools that will broaden students' ability to learn independently, efficiently and thoughtfully.

As curriculum choreographers, educators have to be discerning consumers of educational tools, content and resources. It is best if we design learning collaboratively as we will profit from diverse points of view, debate and collective energy and effort. To design learning well requires a systematic process with lead time, protocols and communication with the learning community.

What do you think is most important when it comes to learning design?  How do you and your colleagues continually revise, adapt, create and update curriculum to best meet students' academic needs, cognitive research and current standards?

Today when I attend the inspiring MassCUE conference, I'll have my eye on learning design--that will be the lens I use as I present, attend workshops and visit booths.  Apt curriculum choreography and learning design matters to best effect students' academic success.