Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

Learning Design Rashomon II: Exploring One Lesson through Multiple Tools

Academic journal article Research in Learning Technology

Learning Design Rashomon II: Exploring One Lesson through Multiple Tools

Article excerpt


As Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) permeate every aspect of education, supporting the preparation of technology-enhanced teaching and learning activities - the process of learning design - is becoming increasingly important. A growing number of tools have been developed to assist teachers in planning learning outcomes, activities, assessment and other aspects of learning, both inside and outside the classroom.

Learning design authoring tools generally have the common goal of facilitating the sharing, adaptation and reuse of teachers' pedagogical ideas, and they are also useful as tools for reflection on practice (Laurillard 2012). However, as Conole (2010) notes, different tools may employ various representations and operate at different levels of granularity, from simply capturing the essence of a design to aiding in its semi-automated enactment with students. For example, LAMS (Learning Activity Management System: Dalziel 2003) facilitates the micro-level planning and automation of the learning activities, whereas the Learning Designer (Laurillard et al . 2013) facilitates design work at the macro level, aiding the design of whole learning sessions and modules, and supporting more strategic pedagogical thinking. These different foci of support require different visual representations to abstract the individual elements of a design such as learning activities and resources, so that they can be easily defined and manipulated.

As the number of learning design authoring tools continues to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of them or to engage with each one in depth. Few researchers or practitioners have the time to try multiple tools or to compare how different tools model a particular learning scenario in order to see which one best suits their needs. This, therefore, is the motivation for this article: to capture a single learning design using several authoring tools, in order to reflect on the different perspectives they provide and to learn about the design process itself from the various methods that the tools represent. Our aim is not to compare the authoring tools to see which one reflects the original conceptual design best. Indeed, such a comparison would be inappropriate as the research teams involved in the exercise did not have access to the designers' original conceptions, instead they only had access to the design artefacts generated by them.

Inspired by Akira Kurosawa's film "Rashomon" (1950), in which an incident is portrayed through four alternative points of view, we reveal a design narrative from the perspectives of five different learning design tools. Persico et al . (2013) perform a similar exercise using different learning design conceptual frameworks, and related exercises previously performed in the learning design community include Botturi et al . (2007) and Vignollet et al . (2008).

In the following sections, we describe the rationale and method followed in this comparative study, before outlining the processes entailed in modelling an inquiry-based learning scenario using the different learning design tools. Finally, we discuss some of the main lessons learned from these complementary views of the common design narrative and report briefly the reactions of teachers who have engaged with the tools.


The common learning scenario that we modelled was the "healthy eating" lesson from the Personal Inquiry project (Anastopoulou et al . 2012), which guided students aged 11-14 in an inquiry-based investigation into their eating habits, the food that they ate and its nutritional value.1 This learning scenario was chosen as it explored a different set of pedagogical concerns from previous exercises: the studies by Botturi et al . (2007) and Vignollet et al . (2008) were based on project-based and game-based learning situations, respectively.

The learning scenario was modelled using five of the learning design tools that were presented at the "Art and Science of Learning Design" workshop in 2011. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.