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  1. Learning at City Conference

Session 2C


Design challenge: embedding skills creatively to engage the learner

Katharine Reedy - Learning Designer | Open University

Dr Jane Secker - Senior Lecturer | LEaD

Jo Parker - Senior Library Manager | Open University

This workshop is based on the learning design principles used at the Open University which puts the student learning journey at the heart of the design process. It will be useful for teams revising or devising new curricula at City.

As part of the module Digital Literacies and Open Practice, in the MA in Academic Practice at City, the learning design team from the Open University shared their approach to embedding skills in the curriculum during a webinar. These skills included digital literacies (Reedy and Parker, 2018) and employability which are embedded into OU courses as part of the student learning journey. The team have created a series of skills cards which act as useful prompts during the curriculum design process. This session will be an opportunity for a wider group of staff to take part in a learning design workshop with the team from the OU.

During the workshop the team will share their approach to learning design which focuses on student experience and outcomes, and what the student will do to learn. The OU’s Learning Design activity planning framework encourages course teams to design for active student engagement; skills development is part of this. They also have a Digital and Information Literacy framework which underpins their approach (Open University n.d)

The workshop includes a group activity where participants will be assigned a student profile and asked to consider the students’ career motivation, what degree qualification they are studying for and the level of study they are currently doing. They will then be each assigned one generic skill or attribute that will be important for the student to develop as part of their qualification. Using the skills cards they will examine the statements for that skill / attribute at each level of study and design an activity to develop that skill/attribute.

Finally the group will consider the value of the learning design approach and the skills workshop for their own teaching practice. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

Learning outcomes

  • Explore the role of digital literacies and employability and how they contribute to student success
  • Discuss why and how best to embed these skills in the curriculum of a given programme
  • Compare the learning design principles used at the Open University to the current methods used for curriculum design at City
  • Examine the value of learning design principles in action through a group activity


Reedy, K and Parker, J (2018) Digital Literacy Unpacked. Facet Publishing: London.

Open University (n.d) Digital and Information Literacy Framework: