OU Conf: Martin Weller et al – Learning Design

Martin Weller, Simon Cross, Andrew Brasher, Grainne Conole, Juliette White and Paul Clark

Martin – Umbrella thing for lots of activity.  1 – Fact finding and user reqs – workshops, interviews, etc.  2 – Tool and resource development using Compendium.  Now Compendium LD, Cloudworks for sharing designs.

LD at the OU – background of expertise from Moodle, SLED,  IMS LD spec, LAMS, Course Models, Grainne on LADIE, DialogPlus before coming here.

Aims – Focus on OU academics, not interested in IMS LD.  Scaffold and support the design process.  Capture practice, bridge pedagogy and technology.  Share designs/promote reusability.

Simon – Investigating practice.  Interviews, workshop evaluations (four or five done, more planned), course observation, eLearning case studies produced by Peter Wilson.  Building an evidence base.

Key themes: Support and guidance; Representation of designs and thoughts; Process of design; Barriers to design process; Evaluation of design.

Demand for more pedagogic evidence and chalk-face experiences – but case studies under-used.  Why?  Doubt in relevancy, trust in ‘success’ claims, too ‘cutting edge’, too time consuming to find/understand, difficult to abstract.  Also preference for local circuits, personal networks.

Andrew – Compendium LD

Tool built – adaptation of Compendium knowledge-mapping tool.  (KMi plus Verizon.)  Visual maps of connections between icons representing ideas.  Icons on left-hand-side to develop maps in standard Compendium way.  Building the map will help you think through the learning process you hope the students will be undertaking.  (I think we could really do with some examples at this point – aha! the very next slide.)

Very interesting example of a learning design shown – it’s clearly meaningful to the person designing it, and probably understandable by others, and even is very close to IMS LD/UML style roles-in-columns layout … but there’s no way it could be automatically instantiated in a VLE in the way you can with LAMS.

Martin again – Cloudworks

New thing – ‘Flickr for learning design’ – a social networking site for sharing learning designs, sharing resources, finding people.  “Collaborative Learning Design at the OU”.  Can put stuff in, tag it up – made by Juliette White, want funding to develop it further.

Next steps – JISC bid around Cloudworks (perhaps what we were twittering about earlier); strategic bid internally around reuse.  Develop CompendiumLD, populate Cloudworks, work on community, integrate with social:learn, more public facing.

Issues – Do people re-use designs?  Is the design tool open-ended or structured?  (We suggest the swim-lane model but it is open; other tools are more structured.)  Is the open approach to formats correct?  Will people share?  Integration. with other systems.

Me – Why developing your own tool for Cloudworks and not an existing file-sharing site?  Why not standards-based?

Martin – Because there isn’t a site for sharing learning designs.  Flickr is for sharing photos.  So we’re building a community that doesn’t exist.  And it’s made out of Drupal so it’s not so innovative.

Non – External links?

Martin – Yes, Cloudworks is supposed to be externally-focused.

s/o – How as a simple course team member supposed to know about all of this stuff?  Staff development is a key issue.

s/o – Is this accessible outside?

Andrew – Compendium LD should be but there are technical problems.  Martin – Cloudworks will be, but still in alpha.

Tim – Sharing learning designs is a lot like sharing patterns in software development (like architectural design) (talking about A Pattern Language)

Martin – Yes.

Linda – What’s the advantages to using Compendium?

Martin – From workshops, good to surface complexity in designs.  e.g. didn’t realise they were getting tutor to do 40 hours.  Can also help get agreement from course team.

s/o – Do you expect this would replace course texts?  Like IMS Learning Designs?

Martin – Deliberately avoiding IMS LD spec, the entry level is way too high for most academics – they could understand it but they don’t want to sit down and learn the XML.  Not our intention to make it a deliverable system to students, it’s for the design process.  It could be useful for the students, as a guide to how the course works.

Tim – It might replace the course calendar (or guide), or a working view of that as it’s in development.

Martin – Yes, if it’s simple enough for people to instantly pick up.

Andrew – Can enter text that lies behind icons that’s not shown on the map, can export a textual version of the map.  But it’s not a good interface for inputting text compared to a word processor.

Martin – Aim is OU academics, but perhaps also ALs?

Non – powerful thing for other participants e.g. L&T librarians for skills development, at an earlier stage rather than right towards the end.  Could realise the benefits of institutional resources held in the library.

Keith – Done any retrospective mapping – typical structures of existing courses?

Simon -Yes, Peter Wilson’s case studies have all been mapped up in Compendium.  Working with Paul Clark and working through courses and how they could be mapped.  Taking an individual course unit and doing it.  So not just the final product but the process of development, asking questions, making notes – the nitty gritty of day-to-day development.  Work in progress.

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One Comment on “OU Conf: Martin Weller et al – Learning Design”


  1. [...] Martin Weller is speaking on OU using Compendium to support course teams in design. He gave us a brief demo of the tool in use, and it’s pretty. More interestingly, he then went on to cloudworks, ou’s flickr for LD. This is an intended social networking site for sharing LDs. I can’t find it on the web and he gave only a brief demo. He based some analysis of cloudworks on engestrom’s analysis of social objects. I also found some other stuff about cloudworks, namely this. [...]


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