What Is Educational Design Education Essay

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According to Chirnside Derek educational design has to do with course development and teaching strategies: the structuring of a learning trajectory for members of a class, the nurturing of a learning environment or assisting in the creation of activities and interaction to aid learning,

Educational design is described as a professional practice with its roots in the systems model of instructional design. In general, designers work intensively with the immediate pedagogical questions of curriculum and assessment design. They usually do so in direct collaboration with the subject matter expert and occasionally, within multidisciplinary teams that include technical as well as academic staff. The key concern of designers is to ensure educational rigour through the integration of appropriate learning theory into the learning materials and events being designed (O'Reilly, M.,2004).

During the last years there is a broad range of new pedagogical approaches that emphasize upon the design of learning activities, instead of the content to be transferred, often based on constructivist and social principles. Examples include collaborative learning, where discussion plays an important role; problem-based learning, where knowledge is constructed by learners solving real problems in actual situations; inquiry-based learning, focused on questioning, problem-solving, and critical thinking; etc. The key to these pedagogical approaches is to make learners active by providing them with a broad range of tasks, problems and prompts (referred to as learning activities) in order to stimulate the process of learning (Manuel Caeiro-Rodríguez, Martín Llamas-Nistal, Luis Anido-Rifón, 2005)

2. Τhe outcome of Educational Design

Teaching models are developed and used by teachers and curriculum writers to promote the understanding of a target system. Model-based teaching is any implementation that brings together information resources, learning activities, and instructional strategies intended to facilitate mental model-building both in individuals and among groups of learners. While acknowledging the importance of the social and cultural contexts in which model based teaching and learning (MBTL) occurs, some papers focus on the cognitive core of the phenomenon. Seeking to build a model of MBTL, we ask the initial questions: What are the elements of MBTL? How do they function in model-based teaching and learning and more specifically, what are different kinds of models, how are these represented via mental models with respect to their form and function in reasoning ? ( [2] )

Educational design development is no longer the exclusive domain of the professional designer. The instructor and the learner her/himself are also seen as designers and developers of the learning situation. Teachers and learners are no longer simply users, but are becoming increasingly involved in the process. Along various contexts, research on design and design tools has mostly applied to professional design and development of instruction, curricula, educational media and assessment, both in education and professional training. This broadening of scope will allow for research on approaches that support teachers who design their own instruction and who are involved in professional development, and students who are, from a constructivist perspective, also designing their own learning environment by engaging in the formulation of learning objectives and selecting appropriate means for reaching these objectives. Finally, the scope has been broadened to include the design and development of full-fledged curricula based upon an integrative approach to teaching and learning. This approach encompasses the blending of individual, collaborative (i.e., peer and team), and collective (i.e., whole class) learning which integrates different pedagogies (i.e., instruction, acquisition, construction) across multiple spaces (i.e., classroom, team room, distributed, and mobile) making use computationally integrated and even ubiquitous technologies ( [3] ).

Curriculum design includes consideration of aims, intended learning outcomes, syllabus, learning and teaching methods, and assessment. It also involves ensuring that the curriculum is accessible and inclusive, i.e. that students with disabilities, and from all backgrounds, can participate in it with an equal chance of success ( [4] ).


The aims are the educational purposes of the curriculum. The stated aims of a curriculum tell students what the result of studying it is likely to be. For example, a degree programme may aim, among other things, to prepare students for employment in a particular profession. Likewise a unit within the programme may aim to provide an understanding of descriptive statistics.

Learning outcomes are what students will learn if they follow the curriculum successfully (i.e. if they complete the programme or unit and pass the assessment).

In framing learning outcomes it is good practice to:

a) Express each outcome in terms of what successful students will be able to do. For example, rather than stating 'students will understand why....' say 'students will be able to summarise the main reasons why...' This helps students to focus on what they are expected to achieve and it assists in devising appropriate assessment tasks .

b) Include different kinds of outcome. The most common are cognitive objectives (learning facts, theories, formulae, principles etc.) and performance outcomes (learning how to carry out procedures, calculations and processes, which typically include gathering information and communicating results). In some contexts affective outcomes are important too (developing attitudes or values, e.g. those required for a particular profession).


This is the 'content' of the programme or unit; the topics that will be covered as it proceeds. In selecting content for inclusion there are the following principles :

a) It should be relevant to the outcomes of the curriculum. An effective curriculum is purposive, clearly focused on the planned learning outcomes. The inclusion of irrelevant topics, however interesting in themselves, acts as a distraction and may confuse students.

b) It should be appropriate to the level of the programme or unit. An effective curriculum is progressive, leading students onward and building on what has gone before. Material which is too basic or too advanced for their current stage makes students either bored or baffled, and erodes their motivation to learn.

c) It should be up to date and, if possible, should reflect current research. In some disciplines it is difficult to achieve the latter until students reach postgraduate level, but in many it is possible for even first year undergraduates to be made aware of current research topics.

Learning and teaching methods

These are the means by which students will engage with the syllabus, i.e. the kinds of learning experience that the curriculum will entail. Although they will include the teaching that students will experience (lectures, laboratory classes, fieldwork etc.) the overall emphasis should be on learning and the ways it can be helped to occur. For example:

a) Individual study is an important element in the university curriculum and should be planned with the same care as other forms of learning. In the undergraduate curriculum especially, it is good practice to suggest specific tasks, rather than relying entirely on students to decide how best to use their private study time.

b) Group learning is also important. Students learn from each other in ways that they cannot learn alone or from staff and the inclusion of group projects and activities can considerably enhance the curriculum.

c) Online learning is increasingly important in many curricula and needs to be planned carefully if it is to make an effective contribution. Online materials can be a valuable support for learning and can be designed to include helpful self-assessment tasks.


Learning occurs most effectively when a student receives feedback, i.e. when they receive information on what they have already learned. The process by which this information is generated is assessment, and it has three main forms:

a) Self assessment, through which a student learns to monitor and evaluate their own learning. This should be a significant element in the curriculum because we aim to produce graduates who are appropriately reflective and self-critical.

b) Peer assessment, in which students provide feedback on each other's learning. This can be viewed as an extension of self assessment and presupposes trust and mutual respect. Research suggests that students can learn to judge each other's work as reliably as staff.

c) Tutor assessment, in which a member of staff or teaching assistant provides commentary and feedback on the student's work.

Assessment may be formative (providing feedback to help the student learn more) or summative (expressing a judgement on the student's achievement by reference to stated criteria). Many assessment tasks involve an element of both, e.g. an assignment that is marked and returned to the student with detailed comments.

Summative assessment usually involves the allocation of marks or grades. These than by knowing the mark or grade given to it. For this reason summative assessment tasks (including unseen examinations) help staff to make decisions about the progression of students through a programme and the award of degrees but they have limited educational value.

Students usually learn more by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their work should include an element of formative feedback.

Among the more service-oriented practitioners in academia are educational designers. In order educational design to invigorate computer-based communications or interactions which are embedded in the process of learning, we must quickly move away from the 'pushbutton' delivery model of online education into contemporary designs. These need to not only incorporate a clear focus on interpersonal, individual or contextual factors in the process of learning, but also take account of the collaborative approach to development of learning materials and learning experiences in response to a rapidly changing educational context. In the online environment our educational activities require new behaviours, a consciousness of our personas and a respectful engagement within the global network as a social construct (O'Reilly M., 2000).

A set of perspectives should be considered in the modelling of learning experiences, paying special attention to collaborative scenarios. A meta-model to support the design of collaborative learning experiences it should be arranged around a task structure. In the task, participants work like actors in roles towards the achievement of certain goals in appropriate environments composed of resources (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Elements and perspectives considered in learning modelling

(Caeiro-Rodriguez M., Llamas-Nistal M., Anido-Rifon L. : From Contents to Activities)

Where do you start? You start with a development plan for the reasons such:

• A Course Development plan can be shared with all those involved in the project so that

individuals know exactly what the expectations are, and what their own role is in the

overall process.

• A well planned process leaves little room for the misunderstanding of objectives.

• Developing a plan allows for time, resources, and cost management factors to be well managed.

3. Best Practices: Planning for learning

Instructional theorist Robert Gagne, developed nine events of instruction that when put together, make up a practical process for effective learning. Most instructional design is based on these events and the process is widely used in teaching practices. Learner involvement (as opposed to learner control) is a critical aspect of Gagné's work, but learners' participation in the instructional process entails more than simply being engaged in a series of activities, the external performance aspect of instruction. Participation and activity also refer to internal involvement in the perception, storage, and retrieval of information. This is the core of Gagné's cognitive orientation, and the Events of Instruction are designed to promote internal, as well as external activities. The extent of individualization depends upon the number of decisions made for individuals as opposed for the class as a whole, and the extent to which learners assume control of the decisions regarding their own instruction. An area of current theoretical expansion concerns the impact of context upon the teaching and learning process. Of interest, is not only the immediate teaching context, but also the pre-instructional (or orienting) context and the post-instructional (or transfer) contexts in which learners live and work. This leads to a "meaningful" instruction, meaningful to the learner and meaningful to the society that expects to be improved as a result of an educated populace. In the past, such "meaning" has had important implications for the transfer of training from educational environments to real-life behaviour. Today, it also has implications for organizational development and quality improvement.

Most instructional design procedures and principles are typically seen as being applicable to all settings. In spite of this, new instructional systems design procedural models are frequently developed in an effort to respond to the seemingly unique aspects of a given situation. Contextualization is typically achieved through the topics of instruction, but also through the selection of examples and the nature of the practice exercises. Topics can be those that are currently issues in a particular setting. Examples can be drawn from the social or work culture of the students (Richey R. C., 2000).

Figure 2: The ADDIE Model of Instructional Design, McGriff S. J. (2000)

The Injune project

Injune is a small rural community of 400 people in Australia. It is situated 98 kilometres north of Roma on which it relies heavily for the supply of goods and services. Injune supports a timber industry, grazing and a some cropping. The timber industry,school and hospital are the town's chief employers. The town population remains static, but the decline in rural population has a significant impact on the community.

The school has enrolments of 110 students to year 10. A significant number of students do not progress to further education beyond year 10, and seek employment in the local area.

The Analysis stage is where the training problem is identified, defined, and possible training solutions determined. Steps include: identifying the training need, identifying the constraints, analyzing the audience.

The school undertook a values and beliefs clarification process and curriculum review in 1998 and implemented its outcomes in 1999. There was a need to improve student learning outcomes in response to systemic literacy and numeracy issues, school opinion survey data and local community needs.

A beliefs and values process was conducted to define the philosophy of the school and examine what students should have achieved when they finish their schooling at Injune State School. The beliefs and values then informed the implementation of a curriculum model.

The school values and beliefs in place are as follows:

Numeracy and literacy;

Social and personal skills;

Life-long learning;

Individuality and responsibility;

General knowledge;


Design - The Design phase should produce an effective curriculum and storyboard that will achieve the desired learning outcomes when implemented. Steps include: identifying the learning outcomes, collecting the available resources, determining the delivery mode, choosing your tools, creating a script/storyboard for your lesson/course.

A stage-based model of learning is now in place, allowing students to work at their ability level rather than on the basis of their age. The school has four stages in which students are taught by teams of at least two teachers and a teacher aide.

Development - The Development phase is where the actual development of the lesson plans and materials takes place. All instruction, media, supporting documentation, and any appropriate hardware and/or software are prepared.

Stage 4 (years 8-10) has also introduced a whole-day program, in which students participate in a subject such as Maths, English or Science for a whole day on a rotational basis. This facilitates a range of more extensive and practical classroom activities including vocational opportunities.

Implementation - The Implementation phase is concerned with the effective delivery of the instruction. The implementation of the instruction should ensure learners' understanding of materials, support the mastery of objectives, and promote the transfer of knowledge from the instruction to the job.

Students have been involved in the creation of a nature walk and vegetable garden, building a gazebo, the propagation and sale of plants and making of tomato relish, lasagna and crafts for sale as business enterprises. Students have taken full responsibility for the design, planning, budget and all other aspects of the projects. These activities have been incorporated into the curriculum through cooperative planning and programming by teachers to specific student needs.

The process involved a series of workshops for parents, staff and upper school students.

The values, beliefs and curriculum model was ratified through the Parents and Citizens Association.

Evaluation - The Evaluation phase measures the effectiveness and efficiency of the instruction. This phase should happen on a regular basis throughout the entire instructional design process and may be Formative or Summative.

The students' improved performances are reflected in the school's systemic results. More active and on-task behaviour and engagement in learning has been facilitated.

Future directions

The school plans to develop further opportunities to enhance the vocational and real life business skills of the students and to establish further community partnerships. The focus will

remain on meeting the needs of students relative to their community (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000).