DEHub/Research Themes/Curriculum design-project 1

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Commissioned Research
Curriculum design
Access, equity, social inclusion and ethics
Globalisation of education
Interaction and communication in learning communities

Curriculum design

What design methodologies are effective and efficient for the design, development, implementation and evaluation of effective teaching and learning for social media-enabled environments in the higher education sector?

Summary of narrative syntheses, meta-analyses, meta-evaluations, and best evidence syntheses that currently exist.

The range of design approaches is extremely wide (see Lockyer, Bennett, Agostinho, Harper 2008 for examples), but typically the effectiveness of different methodologies is asserted rather than demonstrated (eg Baird & Fisher 2005; Laurillard 2009).

Mason & Rennie (2008) provide a brief synthesis of recent discussion of social media-enabled teaching environments, as does Nichols (2009) and Redecker (2009).

There have been three large-scale projects in this area. None, however, have resulted in definitive outcomes.

  • Open Learning Design Initiative. The Open University’s Open Learning Design Initiative (OLDI) has resulted in a number of conference presentations, book chapters and journal articles (eg Conole 2008a; Conole 2008b; Conole, Culver, Weller, Williams, Cross, Clark & Brasher 2008, Conole & Culver 2009). Although evaluation is part of the Initiative project brief, little has been published in this area to date.
  • iCamp. The EU’s iCamp project (2005–2008) aimed to “investigate, develop and validate innovative pedagogical models”, in relation to learner-centred VLEs, as well as document and describe “best practices” in the area (Kieslinger 2009). Although a number of reports dealt with design methodologies (eg Fielder & Pata 2007), the project did not apparently result in an explicit model for best practice in educational design. Instead, the project seems to have revolved around investigation /discussion of social media-enabled environments and the promotion of their use. There is an extensive bibliography consisting of more than 120 items generated by the project in Kieslinger 2009.
  • Quality Management of Peer Production in eLearning (QMPP). This is a joint European project funded by the European Commission. Like the iCamp project, the QMPP gives a good deal of attention to social media-enabled environment. However, the actual effectiveness and efficiency of the QMPP methodology is unknown, as the project is not yet completed. There is a short bibliography attached to the beta version of the Handbook for Quality Management of Peer Production (Auvinen & Ehlers 2008).

Recommended keywords for searches

constructionism, curriculum, curriculum design, e-learning, evaluation, instructional systems, Learning 2.0, learning community, learning design, online community, online social networks, pedagogy, social media, social networking, social objects, social software, higher education

Recommended search databases

A+ Education, Emerald, ERIC, Google Scholar, PsychINFO, Taylor & Francis, SpringerLink, Wiley InterScience

Additional references and links

The DE Hub Curriculum design research theme page provides additional links to relevant material.


Auvinen, A.-M., & Ehlers, U.-D. (2008). Handbook for Quality Management of Peer Production 0.99. Brussels: European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning. Baird, D. E. & Fisher, M. (2005). Neomillenial user experience design strategies: Utilizing social networking media to support "always on" learning styles. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 34(1), 5-32.

Conole, G. (2008a). New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies. Ariadne(56).

Conole, G. (2008b). Using Compendium as a tool to support the design of learning activities. In A. Okada, S. B. Shum & T. Sherborne (Eds), Knowledge Cartography (pp. 199-221). London: Springer.

Conole, G., Culver, J., Williams, P., Cross, S., Clark, P., & Brasher, A. (2008). Cloudworks: Social networking for learning design. Paper presented at the ASCILITE 2008 Conference: Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology?, 30 November-3 December 2008.

Conole, G. C., Juliette (2009). Cloudworks: Social networking for learning design. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(5), 763-782. Fiedler, S. & Kai, P. (2007). Towards an Environment Design Model for iCamp Space. iCamp Corporation.

Kieslinger, B. (2009). iCamp Final Public Report. iCamp Corporation.

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1), 5-20.

Lockyer, L., Bennett, S., Agostinho, S. & Harper, B. (2008). Handbook of Research on Learning Design and Learning Objects: Issues, Applications, and Technologies. New York: Information Science Reference.

Mason, R. & Rennie, F. (2008). E-learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for Higher Education: New York: Routledge.

Nichols, M. (2009). Extending e-possibilities. Wellington, New Zealand: Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Redecker, C. (2009). Review of Learning 2.0 Practices: Study on the Impact of Web 2.0 Innovations on Education and Training in Europe. Seville, Spain: European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.