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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 3B - Workshop

Curriculum Excellence through ABC_LD  (Arena Blended Connected Learning Design)

Ms Natasa Perovic - University College London
Clive Young - University College London

ABC_LD is an effective and engaging hands-on workshop, particularly useful for new courses or those changing to an online or more blended format.  Teams work together to create a visual “storyboard” using cards to outline the type and sequence of learning activities (online and offline) required to meet the course’s learning outcomes.

The ABC LD method is successfully used over a range of disciplines in the HE institutions in the UK and transnationally.

ABC LD method evaluation project, Action for Curriculum Enhancement (ACE), is supported by HEFCE Catalyst fund.

ABC facilitates a hands-on a rapid prototyping approach to learning design for module teams.

This rapid-development approach focuses on a simple set of pedagogic principles. Rather than being restrictive this has been found to generate discussion about the fundamental purposes of the programme and foregrounds the student experience. The workshop itself is structured to encourage collective discussion with a focus on collaboration and consensus,

Workshop format;

  • Brief presentation introducing the toolkit elements and the pedagogical rationale.
  • The first task for the teams is to agree on a tweet size description (strapline, unique selling point, value proposition etc.) of the module/programme and write it on the workshop graph sheet.
  • The participants then draw the rough “shape” of their programme as they envisage it initially as represented by learning types on a spider graph (e.g. how much practice, or collaboration) and the envisaged blend of face-to-face and online.
  • Next the team plan the distribution of each learning type by selecting and arranging the postcard-sized learning types cards along the timeline of the module, represented by a large A1 sized paper ‘canvas’.
  • With this outline agreed participants turn over the cards. On the back of each card is a list of online and conventional activities associated with each learning types and the team can pick (by ticking) from this list or write in their own. The type and range of learner activities soon becomes clear and the cards often suggest new approaches. The aim of this process is not to advocate any ‘ideal’ mix but to stimulate a structured conversation among the team.
  • Once learning activities are selected and agreed, participants identify opportunities for formative and summative assessment, represented by affixing silver (formative) and gold (summative) stars to the activities.
  • By this point module/programme development team have a visual “storyboard” of the sequence and type of learning and assessment activities on the module/programme.

By the end of the workshop module/programme development team have a visual “storyboard” of the sequence and type of learning and assessment activities on their module/programme.

Q: What approach for Module and programme design is used at City University and how does it align with the Institutional strategy?


Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.

University of Ulster (2012). Curriculum design workshop resources. Available online: http://wiki.ulster.ac.uk/display/VPR/Home Accessed 28 January 2016.

Young, C. and Perović, N. (2016). Rapid and Creative Course Design: As Easy as ABC? Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228, pp390 – 395. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042816309843?via%3Dihub