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Learning About Learning Design
September 28, 2009 - 10:23pm

Most everything I know about learning design I learned from my former colleague Frances Rowe, Director of Instructional Design at Quinnipiac University Online. The QUOnline team has launched a new blog called Digital Pedagog.

Digital Pedagog is a gorgeous group blog. A great example of the power of team blogging. All the contributors to Digital Pedagog are experts within different domains of learning design and online/hybrid learning.

Beyond getting you to look at Digital Pedagog, my goal is start a conversation about the composition of your learning technology team. Does your team include a combination of professionals with formal training in learning design working in conjunction with people with higher ed. teaching experience?

Academic technology groups benefit having teams made up of people with wonderfully diverse backgrounds. Many of us come from the teaching side, while others come from media production, programming, or design. This diversity is terrific. But our teams need to include members who have received graduate level academic training in learning design, pedagogy, and learning theory.

A perfect example of this practice is Frances' post: Self Regulated Learning: Why is it Key to Successful Online Teaching and Learning? The blog post lays out definition, benefits, rationale and methods to encourage self regulated learning (SRL). The post gives specific examples of what SRL would look like in the course design and teaching process. The post then ends with references to the relevant literature.

Are we taking the time to read, and then cite, the research when we are rolling out a new learning tool or platform?

I learned the importance of working professionals with graduate training in learning design during my years working for QUOnline. Having a faculty and Web producer background I thought I knew most everything there is to know about developing online/hybrid courses and programs. What I didn't know was that effective leveraging of technology for learning depends primarily on learning theory and effective pedagogy, not mastery of the technical tools and platforms.

Frances always insisted that our tools and practices be grounded first in pedagogy, research and best practices - rather then in whatever technology was hot at the moment. In contrast, I always liked what was hot (still do), but without the strong grounding in learning theory and pedagogy that Frances provided for me during the years we worked together I know that my work today would be ineffective.

Thank you Frances and the other contributors to the Digital Pedagog blog that have taught me so much.

How are your teams made up? Do you have a mix of people with formal training in learning design and others with backgrounds in the specific disciplines? If you are someone who did not go to graduate school in programs centered around learning design and learning technology then how do you learn about the major theoretical frameworks and pedagogical best practices essential to our daily work?


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