Learning Our ABCs: Project Update

By Clare Gormley

It seems safe to state that there are challenges in learning design that almost all institutions face: limited staff time, a modular focus, and a tendency towards ‘lone ranger’ thinking to name just some of the potential barriers to successful course design. These types of challenges have significantly influenced the team-based ABC methodology developed originally by Clive Young and Nataša Perović of University College London (UCL) which continues to grow in popular use worldwide as a model for blended learning design.

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Dublin City University’s (DCU) Teaching Enhancement Unit is currently engaged in the ABC to VLE Erasmus+ funded project to further develop the ABC Learning Design methodology. As relative newcomers to ABC (DCU first experienced it in 2017), this project has been a great opportunity to apply the approach and benefit from the experience of UCL and the 11 other European partners involved. For those not familiar with the format, ABC offers a rapid-fire, hands-on workshop approach where in just 90 minutes academic teams work together to design or redesign modules and programmes. By the end of the process, teams have discussed, debated, and discovered a range of potential activities and technologies, communicated their overall vision of their course, and ultimately created a storyboard of an intended learning experience. Not bad work in under two hours, especially when it all goes according to plan.

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The overall goal of this particular European project is to develop ABC as a downloadable toolkit that can be used and adapted by any institution. Clinical-Exercise-Science-Programme-Team-.jpegAt DCU we have adapted the ‘classic’ materials to suit important strategic priorities such as flexible learning modes, enhanced feedback mechanisms, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Furthermore, by using the approach with several teams, evaluating it, and learning how different aspects perform on the ground, we hope to continue to develop our own expertise in using the approach in different contexts. We also plan to do our bit to promote conversations amongst the Irish learning design community about using and tailoring the method to optimum effect.

You can read more about some of the lessons learned along the way on Clare’s person blog post reflecting on this initiative.

EMBED Seminar: Free 3-day Professional Development Workshop

The NIDL team at Dublin City University is pleased to be hosting a free EMBED Professional Development Seminar, 4-7 June 2019.

https---cdn.evbuc.com-images-46484625-196748398131-1-original.jpgThis 3-day intensive professional development workshop is free to participants and organised by the project team of EMBED. The “European Maturity Model for Blended Education in Europe(EMBED) is developed by a consortium of European partner universities with considerable experience in designing blended and online education: KU Leuven, TU-Delft, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Aarhus,  Tampere University of Applied Sciences, and Dublin City University. It is coordinated by EADTU and funded by the European Commission. For full details on the project we kindly refer to the EMBED website.

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The professional development seminar will be an opportunity to learn about “state of the art” of blended education and to apply new concepts within the context of your own organisation or higher education institution. Participants will further generate feedback on the multi-dimension maturity model for course design as developed by the consortium and on the institutional strategies needed in order to implement it. You will also learn about the tool (monitor) we have developed to assess the maturity of blended and online educational practices at universities.

5686_0.jpgThe monitor is conceived as a multi-layered instrument with dimensions and indicators that were newly developed or adapted from previously validated instruments. Its goal is to grasp in detail practices and conditions for blended learning. All instruments shared in this workshop are piloted across different institutions, programmes and courses.

This workshop is ideal for participants who are:

• Teaching staff

People involved in designing or redesigning a course, using new modes of teaching and learning. Teaching staff looking for a stable framework for innovating or assessing courses, in search of a balance between increasing student numbers, enhancing the quality of the teaching and learning experience and cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, teaching staff, developing online learning activities for short postgraduate degrees and continuous education.

• Teaching and learning units

People working in units or departments supporting blended and online teaching and learning models; helping staff in course design teams; identifying patterns of good practice in their institution or in a network; collaborating with learning technology services and organising continuous professional development for teaching staff and programme directors, or organising institutional evaluation and research on blended and online education. Learning technology units providing learning-oriented technology infrastructure, tools and resources and supporting teaching staff. Internationalisation departments, responding to the needs for international blended or online courses and programs, online program collaboration and mobility schemes.

• Institutional leaders

People involved at a leadership level in developing and implementing policies, strategies, frameworks and guidelines designed to support their institution or organisation to continuously innovative; developing drivers and enablers for innovation; organising support services and continuous professional development for staff and program directors; stimulating and activating communities of practice and sharing educational resources; providing learning technology environments and tools; funding grass-root initiatives, program-based projects, institutional evaluation and research

Although the workshop, including coffee breaks, is free of charge, there are participant costs for lunches and dinners. The full programme of this professional development event will follow soonest. To register for this free event, please click on the following link:

Register for this 3-day EMBED Workshop