Skip to main content

Unit information: Designing Technologies for Learning in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Designing Technologies for Learning
Unit code EDUCM0044
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Howard-Jones
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit focuses on how research (educational and non-educational) can inform the design of effective learning technologies and how the design process can inform our understanding of learning. It reviews relevant learning concepts from a range of diverse perspectives and how these may be creatively interrelated in the design of learning approaches that exploit new and emerging sociotechnical developments. This might encompass exploring new challenges such as those arising in cloud computing, mobile platforms, data-driven learning and assessment, creator culture, agile approaches to change and open content and through a fuller understanding of the educational potential of developments such as in the social and semantic web, and in augmented reality and immersive environments. Concepts spanning education and the sciences of mind and brain will be brought together in this unit to enable students to develop insight into learning with and designing new technologies.

Unit Aims

  • To develop an awareness of how current models of learning can support the design of technology aimed at supporting learning.
  • To develop a critical awareness of the many, complex and interacting factors influencing effective design of technology aimed at supporting learning.
  • To develop a critical appreciation of how to carry out research-based design and design-based research, and the relationship between these concepts.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Through successful completion of this unit, students will be able to

  • Follow a user-based process in the design and development of a learning resource for implementation on a computer platform.
  • Integrate user feedback, concepts from educational research and knowledge regarding human-computer-interaction to make reflective and cogent design decisions regarding educational technology.
  • Reflect critically upon processes and outcomes arising from attempts to design and implement educational technology, demonstrating a critical awareness of the relationship between design and learning in context.

Teaching Information

A variety of teaching strategies will be used to deliver this unit, which may include whole group lectures, case studies, practical demonstration and hands-on practical tasks, critical analysis of key readings, group discussions and student presentations. ELearning approaches will augment face-to-face teaching to facilitate individualised study and support within the broad parameters of the unit and the pathway. These may include: on-line discussion, online supervision and peer mentoring/feedback.

Contact hours:

20 hours

Assessment Information

Summative assessment:

The assignment for this unit requires production and critical justification of an ideal design process for developing a new technology-based educational tool (4,000 words or equivalent). Within this assignment, students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of concepts covered in the unit such as user-centred and research-based design, low-fidelity prototyping, evaluation, and usability.

Reading and References

  • Johnson, L, Adams-Becker, S, Estrada, V, Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
  • Johnson, L, Adams-Becker, S, Estrada, V, and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
  • Martinez-Torres, M. R, Toral, S. L. et al. (2011). "Identification of the design variables of eLearning tools." Interacting with Computers 23(3): 279-288.
  • Lindquist, T, and Long H, (2011). "How can educational technology facilitate student engagement with online primary sources? A user needs assessment." Library Hi Tech 29(2): 224-241
  • Villalta, M, Gajardo I, et al. (2011). "Design guidelines for Classroom Multiplayer Presential Games (CMPG)." Computers & Education 57(3): 2039-2053.