Various educational models and theories can inform curriculum design. Course design teams may engage deeply with particular models or may find those which suit their subject discipline well. Some models or educational approaches suit the use of specific types of technologies.
This guide considers how some models or theoretical approaches work in an online learning context – although it’s not intended to be an extensive list.
Not all staff will be comfortable engaging with educational theory, but they may be open to working within a framework informed by theoretical approaches. Widely known and respected frameworks include:
- A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies (Laurillard, Diana 2002)
- E-tivities frameworks for active and participative online learning (Salmon, Gilly)
- The 7Cs of learning design (University of Leicester and Open University)
- Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Cleveland-Innes, Marti and Garrison, Randi and Vaughan, Norm)
- Communities of practice: a conceptual framework (Wenger-Trayner, Beverley).
Your institution can help staff by considering how different pedagogic approaches align with strategy and how students might benefit. It can also identify which technologies or tools support particular approaches, and make sure it establishes appropriate operational and administrative functions to support the institutional business model.
|Barriers||What you can do|
|Lack of knowledge of different models and pedagogic approaches||Provide staff training and support|
|Get staff involved in open online courses where practice is shared, so they can experience being an online student|
|Lack of support for new and different models within the institution||Link choice of curriculum design to institutional strategies|
|Staff engagement activities, training and support|
|Use exemplars from other institutions|