ABC (Arena, Blended, Connected) learning design is a visual method to create a ‘storyboard’ showing the type and sequence learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes, and how these will be assessed. ABC is based on the pedagogic theory of Professor Diana Laurillard’s Conversational Framework. The six learning types have proved to be a very effective method to helping teachers describe and discuss the student learning process.  Students and non-teaching staff also find the learning types intuitive and easy to use and can produce innovative and creative storyboards with no prior experience of learning design. Learning types has proved a practical and quick framework to help academic teams consider how to move learning activities online. 

ABC Learning design builds on Viewpoints, a 2012 JISC project that used a card-based method for curriculum design.

The UCL ABC method cards use the concept of learning types derived from the Conversational Framework model of Professor Diana Laurillard (UCL Institute of Education).

On one side of a card, a learning type is defined, such as:

Acquisition

Learning through acquisition is what learners are doing when they are listening to a lecture or podcast, reading from books or websites, and watching demos or videos

 

Collaboration

Learning through collaboration embraces mainly discussion, practice, and production. Building on investigations and acquisition it is about taking part in the process of knowledge building itself.

Discussion

Learning through discussion requires the learner to articulate their ideas and questions, and to challenge and respond to the ideas and questions from the teacher, and/or from their peers.

Investigation

Learning through investigation guides the learner to explore, compare and critique the texts, documents and resources that reflect the concepts and ideas being taught.

Practice

Learning through practice enables the learner to adapt their actions to the task goal, and use the feedback to improve their next action. Feedback may come from self-reflection, from peers, from the teacher, or from the activity itself, if it shows them how to improve the result of their action in relation to the goal.

Production

Learning through production is the way the teacher motivates the learner to consolidate what they have learned by articulating their current conceptual understanding and how they used it in practice.

This is the principle. And on the other side conventional and digital learning activities (the practice) are detailed.

1. Define the Unique selling points and shape of the programme.

write a “tweet-sized” description (140 character or less) of the module or programme, outlining the main outcome or unique selling point.

This provides a sharp focus for the design and usually generates much lively debate.

 

Based on the learning types participants draw the shape of their course (as they envisage it at this time) on the learning types graph.

 

2. Drafting the ‘storyboard’

The next step is to complete a draft storyboard of the module by sequencing and stacking six ‘learning types’ cards. This step shows how different learning types can be mixed together in variety of ways to reach the module’s learning outcomes.

Up to this point only look at an overview of learning types.

 

3. Defining activities and assessments

Once they have made a layout of the module (programme), they turn the cards over and look at the activities that are printed on the back side of the cards.

Then select conventional and digital activities you want to use in your programme, tick them and add your own activities to the cards.

Once learning activities are chosen, you can identify opportunities for formative and summative assessment. After you have completed your module plan re-examine your module learning types graph.

 

Using this highly visual process you can plan out weekly content and activities for a balanced mix of learning types. Please visit  UCL to find out more and access the Learning design templates and learning cards. 

4. Additional Learning Type Activities

Here are some additional activities for the differing learning types to help you plan your storyboards.

Learning types activities , V- Visible learning A – can be assessed (F or S)

Acquisition

Guided readings (library resources)

OER resources (external)

Podcast (media) V if students do it

Webinars (virtual classroom) V

Q&A forum (forum, where teachers answer student questions) V

Video lectures (webcast),

YouTube videos (external)

Field/lab observations (media/blog/wiki) V

MCQs – formative with automatic feedback V

Portfolios (MyPortfolio) V

 

Collaboration

Collaborative wiki – what do we know about …? V/A

Develop a shared resource library (database/glossary/wiki) V

Social networking – participate (external) V

Special interest groups – share on a topic (forum) V

Mentor other learners V

Discussion

Interview an expert (forum/chat) V

Webinars (virtual classroom) V

Model answers/examples of previous work (forum)

Analyse chat text (in course or uploaded) V

Job/professional reflections (blog) V/A

Group discussions on the topic, problem, reading (chat/blog/wiki) V/A

Social networking – participate (external) V

Reflective tasks – group or individual (forum) V/A

Special interest groups – share on a topic (forum) V

Lead a group project V/A

Investigation

Web search (forum, wiki) V

OER resources (external)

Literature reviews and critiques (forum/blog/wiki/RSS) V

Field/lab observations (media/blog/wiki) V

Action research V

Authentic research / data analysis – write a paper V

Lead a group project V

Practice

MCQs – formative with automatic feedback V/A

Online role play (forum, virtual classroom)

Reflective tasks – group or individual (forum) V/A

Case studies (forum, lesson) V/A

Rapid-fire exam questions (forum) V/A

Advanced role play – you are the consultant etc. V

Production

Interview an expert (video/forum/chat) V

Literature reviews and critiques (forum/blog/wiki/RSS) V/A

MCQs – formative with automatic feedback V/A

Develop a shared resource library (database/glossary/wiki) V/A

Shows/demonstrates learning (displays, posters, presentations) V/A

Portfolios (MyPortfolio) V/A

Case studies (forum, lesson) V/A

Summarisation tasks (upload texts – individual or group) V/A

Rapid-fire exam questions (forum) V/A

Concept mapping (external) V

Create video of performance (media) V/A

Audio commentary of performance (media) V/A

Skype or virtual classroom ‘viva’ V/A

Make and give a presentation (external) V/A

Video blog (external) V/A

Write a report (external) V/A

Make an analysis (external) V/A

Case studies V/A

Advanced role play – you are the consultant etc. V

Action plan for workplace V/A

Action plan for further study V/A

Authentic research / data analysis – write a paper V/A

Prepare professional briefing V/A

Create, make a case (study) V/A

Create podcast (media) V/A 

Work assignment (blog/report) V/A

Interview professional colleagues V/A

Lead a group project V/A

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