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Evaluating the Impact of Implementing Learning Design Approaches in STEM over 4 Years

  • Project leader(s): Tom Olney
  • Theme: Other
  • Faculty: STEM
  • Status: Archived
  • Dates: April 2021 to March 2022

In 2016, the OU was restructured into four super-faculties (STEM, WELS, FASS & FBL). Amongst many other things, each faculty was tasked with developing structures, governance and procedures that would support module teams in designing teaching and learning appropriate to their context. STEM was assisted in this by the outputs of the OU Learning Design Initiative (OULDI), the piloting work of the Learning Design Project in the Institute of Educational Technology (IET), the permanent formation of the Learning Design team in Learner Support Services (LDS-LD), and the extensive design for learning experience and practice that was already in place in the Maths, Computing & Technology (Kantirou, 2016) and Science Faculties.

However, to date, little work has been done either within faculties or in the wider sector to measure the impact of the implementation of learning design and the arrangements that have evolved to support learning design practice. Agostinho et al (2018) interviewed 30 university teachers about the kinds of support they accessed to help them with their learning design work. They found a wide variety of sources which included, colleagues, literature, workshops, seminars, conferences and institutional support services but concluded more effort needed to be made to understand how these supported learning design practice (Agostinho, Lockyer & Bennett, 2018). A literature review looking at the adoption of learning design tools and methods found that whilst there had been a focus on the usability of specific tools there was a lack of studies that investigated barriers to adoption such as institutional support (Dangino et al, 2018).

This eSTEeM project seeks to document and evaluate the impact of the incremental implementation of learning design in STEM over the period of 4 years (July 2017 – July 2021). This report contains a description of what it means to ‘do’ learning design in STEM, the findings from four interrelated research questions and the identification of four recommendations for future practice which are centred around (i) time, (ii) contextualisation, (iii) experience, and (iv) a re-orientation of learning design.

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