The rationale

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Why is good learning design important?

Effective learning design is essential if we are to meet the needs of key stakeholders:


  • Learners
    • The learning and teaching environment has become increasingly complex. As we have seen, the incorporation of technology-rich learning resources and activities requires more careful planning and design.
    • Planning for teaching with good learning design can mean that learners are more likely to have a more effective learning experience. Learners will be more engaged and motivated.
    • Economic and time pressures on learners and institutions mean it is essential to make the best use of course time. Without some kind of plan, this is 'hit-and-miss'.
  • Peers
    • Without a plan, if a teacher leaves the organisation or is ill, a replacement teacher will struggle to take over the teaching effectively.
    • In a team teaching environment with ineffective shared planning, learners will be disadvantaged by a lack of continuity and consistency.
  • Self
    • Reflective practice in learning design tends to be more effective when supported by writing. Teachers who plan learning activities in writing can reflect on how effective they were and easily record what changes might make them more effective or appropriate next time. Conversely, teachers who do little or no written planning and learning design often find it difficult to further develop their use of new or modified teaching and learning strategies.
    • Teachers can't develop best practice effectively if they are 'making it up as they go along.' Without a plan, it is difficult to incorporate what we know about effective learning and teaching. Managing learning needs to be informed by models and theories of learning rather than happen as an exclusively 'ad-hoc' process. This doesn't mean that there is no room for flexibility - just that there needs to be some guiding plan.
  • Organisation
    • Teachers have accountability for planning as part of the organisation's quality assurance processes. We'll look at quality assurance in the next section of this module.
    • If we can better meet the needs of students, the organisation will benefit from improved success and retention rates.