Adapting Learning Design from Blended to Fully Online

Professor LAW, Nancy W.Y. shares with us how she converted a blended learning design course with intensive group work and interactions into a fully online course and the challenges.


Learning Design and Technology is an elective course in the MITE Program.

Course Objectives:

  • Systematic introduction to learning design models and approaches to the design of learning environments and resources
  • provides students with an opportunity to learn through engaging in the stages of design and development of different learning products

Mode of delivery:

  • Intensive workshop style blended learning with students working in groups to develop a mini-course of 3-4 sessions, varying from K-12 to adult/higher education levels
  • Students learning through course construction, presentation, peer assessment

Original Learning Design

Topic sequence:

  1. Designing learning outcomes and outcomes driven learning design
  2. Course level design
  3. Designing at pedagogical approach, strategic component, and task levels
  4. Designing for cognitive learning outcomes
  5. Designing for complex performance and self-directed learning
  6. Incorporating learning analytics in designs for effective feedback
  7. Course evaluation and teacher inquiry of student learning
  8. Learning designers as a community of practice

Pedagogical approach:

  • Learning by doing—construct a mini-course from formulating goal, objectives & learner background … to a final design represented as:
    • a course outline
    • a design on Learning Design Studio 
    • a Moodle courseroom for learners
  • Collaborative constructionist inquiry
  • Design as an iterative process of refinement and revision, each session addressing one topic in the design process

The Conversion

Some Tips

Adapting an intensely interactive design-studio course for fully online implementation:

  1. Provide clear instructions for students about each element of the course and how each will be implemented.
  2. Ensure that students have the appropriate access, technology settings and skills to feel comfortable about the different online activities—I provided an online learning guide for students soon after the class suspension decision was announced. I converted the first online session into an optional short (1-hr) online tutorial for students to try things out on Zoom (including students sharing screen, going into break-out rooms, raising hands, using chat, …), and to ask any questions about the arrangements
  3. Zoom in a large class is somewhat alienating for both students & teachers. Having shorter whole class sessions would be preferable. Some synchronous time as group meetings encourage more student interaction. Polling function in Zoom is also useful to have some more online engagement and feedback to the teacher in a large class.