Posted by: Brynna Kaulback | April 21, 2013

Learning Design – The Larnaca Declaration

A week or so of health issues and still struggling…

Somehow, in stepping away from the work, I put myself on another path. I was reading and writing about collaboration and community when I left and pretty wrapped up in thinking about that, but now I am on the learning design thread. I guess it happened when Grainne Conole posted the Larnaca Declaration on Learning Design on facebook and I got totally caught up in it. How wonderfully helpful this report has been! It was written by James Dalziel, an Australian, whom I had read and quoted earlier, but it came out of the work of a group of people from Europe and UK in December 2012. While their proposal to develop a notation for learning design that they compare to musical notation, the report is important to my work basically because of the concept map for learning design that they have created:

This helps to put my research into context, which is always helpful to me. My research, therefore, is targeted at Theories and Methodologies in the first column, the preparation stage of the Teaching Lifecycle, and the module level of granularity. The core concepts inform my work, but are not directly addressed.

Additionally, the report identifies two important concepts for my own thinking. The first is the notion that a learning design may or may not be independent of practice, that it might be a description of an abstract set of activities that could be instantiated in many contexts or it might be developed for a specific set of learners – which then could possibly be shared more widely. In other words, a learning design may be developed deductively or inductively. Could this be a factor for those I am interviewing? Probably depends on whom I interview. Since I envision that they will be primarily educators who do both the design and the implementation, the inductive or deductive nature could perhaps be an issue. Hmmm, perhaps I should check my interview protocol and add a specific question about how they arrived at the design they are describing.

Secondly,  Dalziel and his colleagues validate the impossibility of “pedagogical neutrality”. While this may not be particularly relevant for my research at the moment, it is reassuring to have them acknowledge the bias of learning designs, at any level of  abstraction.

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