Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

Learning Design Rashomon I - Supporting the Design of One Lesson through Different Approaches

Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

Learning Design Rashomon I - Supporting the Design of One Lesson through Different Approaches

Article excerpt


Over the last 12 years, the research field of learning design has attracted the attention of many researchers because of its promise to provide powerful scaffolds for pedagogically informed design of learning activities that make effective use of technology. Consequently, the recent evolution of this field has been lively and dynamic, and researchers and practitioners have followed different paths to meet a common need: improving the quality and facilitating the implementation of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) practice in educational contexts. Many national and international projects [Learning Design Grid (LDG) Theme Team,1 METIS Project,2 JISC project3 ] as well as publications addressing this issue testify to these efforts and their progress (Britain 2004; Conole 2013; Goodyear and Retalis 2010; Laurillard 2012; Lockyer et al . 2009; The Larnaca Declaration on Learning Design 2012).

Although the term "learning design" was coined in the late 1990s, the concept has a longer tradition, because it is rooted in the "instructional design" research area that dates back to World War II (Reiser 2001). As a matter of fact, the definition of the term "learning design" and its distinction from "instructional design" and the similar, less frequent expression "pedagogical planning" (Earp and Pozzi 2006; Gutiérrez et al . 2007) is still debated (Mor and Craft 2012; Dobozy 2011), but the delineation of the borders between these areas of work and, more generally, the discussion of the terminological aspects of this sector is beyond our objectives here. For the purposes of this paper, it is relevant to know that learning design aims to devise approaches and tools to assist teachers/designers in planning educational events of various kinds, based on pedagogically sound criteria for the identification of learning objectives, appropriate learning strategies, assessment criteria, digital tools and media.

The state of the art in this area is characterised by the co-existence of a plethora of methods and tools (Conole 2013), some of which are general purpose; that is, they are not related to any specific type of pedagogical approach or learning theory and thus have the ambition of covering a broad range of learning contexts, while others are focused on one pedagogical approach and thus lend themselves better to support the design of specific kinds of activity. As a consequence of such a richness of methods and tools, it has become more and more difficult to know them all, let alone be able to choose the most suitable and thus take advantage of its potentialities. Most researchers or practitioners have tried just a handful of the existing approaches and tools, and few people are likely to have enough time and suitable opportunities to use and compare several of them and thus appreciate their differences.

Hence, the motivation for the two "Rashomon" papers of this journal issue. In Rashomon I, this paper, a single design is captured using a variety of learning design approaches. In Rashomon II (Prieto et al ., 2013), the same design is used to demonstrate a number of tools for learning design. Both papers are aimed at fostering reflections about the differences and similarities among the chosen approaches and tools.

We take our inspiration from the internationally acclaimed film, Rashomon (1950), by the late Japanese film director, Akira Kurosawa. Rashomon is notable not only because it introduced Japanese cinema to Western audiences but also because of the novel plot device used by Kurosawa of revealing the same narrative (a mysterious murder) from the perspectives of three different characters. Borrowing from and extending Kurosawa's clever conceit, in these papers we will examine the same design from different perspectives. We will use a scenario4 on "Healthy Eating" (Anastopoulou et al . 2012) developed within the Personal Inquiry (PI) project5 and analyse it through different approaches and tools. …

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