Monthly Archives: September 2014

Designing DDLR and DDeLR – a live blog

In three weeks time (Friday 17/10) I’ll start teaching the Design and Develop Learning Resources (DDLR) and Design and Develop eLearning Resources (DDeLR) subjects for the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training. (Dip VET)

It’s been ten years since I last taught a formal subject. (But I’ve run a bucket-load of workshops and provided a lot of 1-1 training and support in that time)

I thought it might be a useful process to document my process as I continue to design and develop this course over the next three weeks. Obviously I’ve already spent a fair amount of time looking over the units of competency (linked above) – the holy documents within VET that define exactly what a learner needs to be able to demonstrate at the end of the course. These also outline the types of evidence that can be used to demonstrate competency and provide additional information about suggestions about interpreting the elements that make up the units of competency.

(As a side note, I know a number of people in Higher Education – the university sector – that shudder when they hear competency mentioned but it has been interesting to note how frequently it does seem to be coming up in discussions of the future of adult learning lately)

I’ve also spent a decent amount of time looking over the courses designed and delivered by my colleagues and dug down into the approaches that they have taken – as well as having long chats with them and other people on my team. (The logical thing to do would be to just tweak and re-deliver their old course but where’s the fun in that?)

There is also a practical consideration in refreshing my own course design and development skills. I have even toyed with the idea of trying to gamify the entire course but that seems unnecessarily over-ambitious. Maybe next year, when I have a better sense of how this subject runs in a conventional form.

So I started by blocking out exactly what it is that I need to accomplish in these three weeks. (Clearly other things will arise that will take priority but it is currently holidays so I have two weeks – boss free also – to get stuck into things like this with hopefully minimal disturbance) The final week is left free for feedback, editing and contingencies.

Photo 30-09-2014 9 58 30 amAssessment seems the logical place to start as I know what I need to cover, I just need to make sure that the learners provide enough evidence that they know it as well.

As with all good lists, the first item is to make the list. Nice to get a quick win on the board. From there it seemed prudent to revisit the subject I recently took as a student about assessment for some inspiration and that has given me some handy tools and processes that I might have eventually arrived at myself but not nearly as quickly. Once I’ve designed the assessments I think I’ll come back to this to make sure I haven’t missed anything vital.

Ensuring that the assessments are targeted at the appropriate Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level – 5 in this instance – and that every element of both the units of competency are addressed are the key factors here.

Taking another look at the assessments that the previous teacher of this subject – Jo – designed comes next. She’s run this subject four times now and so has had a good opportunity to refine her assessment tools. Being part of the Education Design and Technology team, we all maintain high quality online courses and Jo has invited me to make use of anything I find in her courses. (Thanks Jo – with four courses and subject guides to pore over, I might be some time)


Gamifying your course – my slides

Slides from my presentation at the ANU CAP innovation showcase about using game elements in teaching


Tired of students playing on their phones in class?

Maybe you should get them playing on their phones in class then.

I ran a small session this morning with some of our teachers from Accounting and Law about Kahoot – a great free online quiz game.

Hands with phones using Kahoot quiz

Learners simply visit on their smart phone/tablet/laptop/computer and enter the PIN associated with your quiz game. (Which you are showing through the projector)

They then choose a nickname to use.

Questions appear as your can see in the image above. There is a timer on the side and once everyone has answered (or the timer runs out) the answer is revealed

Points are giving for getting the answer right and also for the speed of answering. At the end there is a final leaderboard and you can download a spreadsheet of results.

This can be a fun and quick way of seeing which areas of content your students have understood and which they might need more support with.

Setting up a Kahoot quiz is also very straight-forward – everyone in the session had a playable quiz game up and running within ten minutes from scratch.

Just go to to set up a free account and get started.
(Yes, looking back, this reads like an ad but I have nothing to do with Kahoot, I just think it’s cool)

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution – Open2Study – a course review

On the weekend I wrapped up studying Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, a free 4 week/module online course offered through Open2Study

Open2Study is the MOOC* offering of Open Universities Australia, a more conventional provider of free online education and training.

Structurally, Open2Study courses use a fairly standard framework – four modules composed of ten short videos (4-10 mins) of a presenter talking to camera. After each video is a single multi-choice question and after the final video is a ten multi-choice question assessment quiz covering the content from the module. Discussion forums are also provided but not supported/moderated by the person delivering the course as far as I can see and links to additional reading/resources are also made available.

In terms of rich educational design, there’s something left to be desired in this model but at the same time, it’s a free resource drawing on the skills and knowledge of some talented people and it does provide a decent introduction to the topic.

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution was developed and presented by Dr Andrew Ley of the Macquarie University Graduate School of Management. The first two modules focus on negotiation, the third touches on conflict resolution (with a slightly heavy leaning toward understanding the origins of conflict at the expense of practical solutions in conflict resolution) and the final module focuses on communication skills.

Dr Ley is an engaging and clearly knowledgeable presenter and the videos make decent (and sparing) use of basic text and the occasional image to illustrate key points. The videos are delivered via YouTube and make effective use of the Interactive Transcript functionality. This enables learners to quickly scan the content of the video and click the text to skip to particular sections of the video.

video screenshot

This is an effective way of dealing with the difficulties in scanning the information presented in videos.

The discussion forums were scantly used – Dr Ley did suggest that learners discuss particular questions in the forums at several points in the later videos but it was left to the learners to start these posts and subsequently this tended not to happen. A more effective strategy for using the forums would’ve seen either Dr Ley or an Open2Study moderator facilitating discussion here by raising an initial question and providing responses to interesting student comments (while not dominating the thread). Wrapping up the discussion with a summary of the thread and/or further issues to consider would also be good practice.

A PDF with references for further reading is provided for each module, however it seems like an oversight not to provide these as URLs where possible.

Overall I’m glad to have the opportunity to access this level of training for free and at my leisure and if you are interested in gaining a richer understanding of some of the key principles and strategies of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, it is well worth signing up for this course. The next intake starts on 15/09/14 at

From an educational design perspective, it’s adequate but there is room for improvement – but hey, it’s free, university level education.

Next up I’ll be checking out the Open2Study User Experience for the Web course, so here’s hoping some of those lessons flow through to this blog.


*I say MOOC because this has come to be the default usage of the term but my personal feeling is that true MOOCs should have a far richer learning model than content/quiz/content/quiz