Q&A – how BLE was designed

The question and answer below get to the heart of how this MOOC was designed. As we learn about BLE on this MOOC, we are able to learn a great deal from the examples of good design presented to us as well as the in-course communication practice. I am interested that the underpinning pedagogy is social constructivist and look forward to finding out more about Neil Morris’s team at Leeds University.

Zac Woolfitt

Really enjoying the course thank you.

1) Is there information available about the process you have gone through as a group to build and develop this MOOC?
2) Is there a Blue print that can be shared regarding how you have structuerd, thought through and constructed the learning units, based on specific learning theories and models?
3) Do you plan to share any data collected from the student interactions and learning at a later stage?


Hi Zac – thanks for the positive feedback.
1. We follow a curriculum design process for all MOOC developments – you can see a bit about my team here: http://digitallearning.leeds.ac.uk/moocs/. The design process was very collaborative, involving Diana and I, educators from our partners (e.g FE colleges, learners, practitioners etc.) and our course design and production team.
2. We follow a social constructivist approach to curriculum design for our online courses, trying to ensure a good balance between didactic content and active learning for participants.
3. Yes, we will be publishing reports about the courses in due course.




Case studies: BL in action (2.8)

The video highlights practical ways in which BL is making F2F time more valuable.

As a learning technologist, I could use these techniques in a variety of ways:

  • Flipped learning:
    Before a training session on how to use Planet eStream for storing, organising and editing videos, I could ask people to look at a screencast covering how to do various steps. So the session can be more of a hands-on workshop where I help them get their actual work done, rather than using a lot of time to demo what to do. I can help people with specific issues and therefore give individualised attention to those who need it in class. I can also observe what the screencast has conveyed well and come away with ideas on how to improve it.
  • Multimodal resources for quick access to the sought information:
    I can set up a Moodle course on using Planet eStream which is accessible 24/7 and where it is easy to find out quickly how to do a particular task, with quick visual guides (for printing or viewing onscreen) and short screencasts. For someone completely new to Planet eStream, they can work through a set of topics designed to give an overview of what it can do and how the interface works. But a key thing here is logical and clear organisation, breaking content into short exercises which can be completed during odd breaks.
  • Practical activities
    Set tasks to be tried out for learners to check whether they can use the method that has been demonstrated.

Short list of techniques used by tutors in case studies

  1. Flipped learning: video provided for watching to prepare for activity in next class. This allows class time to be used to best effect and speeds up learner progress. Also makes learning much more active. Flipped learning needs to be well designed to achieve the goal of active learning.
  2. Video used again for recap
  3. App on student phone that provides flashcards for memorising terminology etc (can be used at any odd time as it is on the smartphone).(Hugely timesaving for teacher and every learner can have own copy with a way to track progress for themselves).
  4. App on teacher’s phone used to do individual recap with students – helps teacher give individual attention to all in class.
  5. VLE features:
    1. Online quizzes
    2. Online submission of assignments
    3. Online discussions spaces
    4. Online repository of resources – web platform means resources can be media rich
    5. Extending learning beyond the class – ask learners to access VLE outside class for specific activities. Guided learning.
    6. Makes learning more engaging



Features of BLE course design

There are many interesting design approaches worth noting.

  1. Text is presented in a style that is easy to read on screen. Quite a large type size and well spaced. Content is well organized and easy to navigate.
  2. Immediate engagement of learners as active participants
  3. Format of activities combines an introduction of concepts, a chance for learners to apply these critically, look at an example answer and consider similarities and differences. And then discuss with fellow learners.