‘Preliminary findings from a series of staff surveys on perceptions, attitudes and practices of learning design’ paper now available online

Someone recently pointed out that the full text and data from my 2009 ALT-C paper titled ‘Preliminary findings from a series of staff surveys on perceptions, attitudes and practices of learning design’ (co-written with Paul Clark and Andrew Brasher) is difficult to find so I’ve just deposited a PDF version in the Open Research Online repository.

This short paper reported the findings of a series of connected staff surveys which looked at some attitudes and perceptions about issues associated with learning design. This included asking staff if they agree/disagree with the following eight statements:

• ‘The advent of elearning is making the process of creating courses more complex’
• ‘I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the challenge of how to effectively integrate ICT in a course’
• ‘There is a pedagogic need for better integration of learning technologies (e.g. VLE) into courses’
• ‘It is becoming harder to understand how all the parts/components of planned learning and teaching fit together’
• ‘I do not find it difficult imagining how online learning content fits with other course content’
• ‘Technologies available today offer great potential for enhancing the student learning experience’
• ‘Understanding the relationship between pedagogy and learners’ activity is a priority for me’
• ‘Do you believe that more use of visual representations (that show what is to be learnt and how) could help students better understand and plan their study’

These statements were derived from several claims made in the learning design literature about the potential role (and need) for more designed approaches to learning and teaching and ongoing OULDI work at the time (semi-structured interviews, workshops, design observation, and focus groups site). The survey was administered to selected staff in 2009 and 50 members of staff responded.

Whilst this data is now a couple of years old, it is an interesting record of how staff responded to some key questions that are still being asked today: Has the advent of new technologies has created a much more complex situation in the design and planning of teaching and learning? Is this perception widespread across staff? And what is the perceived role for visualisation in the design process?

For example, take the first of the eight statements

we asked about: ‘The advent of elearning is making the process of creating courses more complex’. The wording of this first statement was informed by the suggestion Botturi (2006) that integration of technologies is becoming too complex for an individual and therefore a demand for further guidance and team working exists. In the survey 74% of teaching staff agreed or agreed somewhat that the process of creating courses is becoming more complex compared to 65% of non-teaching staff (Figure below). Teaching staff showed a higher degree of agreement (over 30% fully agreed with the statement). Only 5% of teaching staff disagreed or disagreed somewhat compared to 20% of non-teaching staff. So, whilst the majority of Non-Teaching staff are finding it more complex, a minority (around a fifth) appear less affected.

The results for statements 2-7 are reported in the full paper, however in this post I also want to mention the responses to the last statement: ‘Do you believe that more use of visual representations (that show what is to be learnt and how) could help students better understand and plan their study’. For those interested in how students can use the outputs of learning design to help create their own designed learning experience, It is encouraging that three quarters of staff believed that greater use of visual representations of learning could help students in their learning.

The Open Research Online (ORO) repository holds a full PDF copy of this paper.

Botturi, L. (2006) E2ML: A visual language for the design of instruction Educational Technology Research and Development, 54(3), 265-293

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One Response to ‘Preliminary findings from a series of staff surveys on perceptions, attitudes and practices of learning design’ paper now available online

  1. Valerie Bentinck says:

    Hi, I am not surprised that there is a feeling that design is more complex, there has to be a shift in the concept of ‘teaching models’ from teacher led to other more compatible models in which the student has to have more central invovlement. This is a very slow process in the actual field of teaching, as someone who learnt to teach in FE (where more student centred models had to be employed) and now moved to HE, I find that within both the OU and in a campus based University there is still very much a ‘top down’ teacher led approach, which just does not seem to ‘sit’ with technology and all the opportunities these pose. Change is sometimes slow….

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