Unit 2 | Critiquing and Designing Digital Learning Resources

Welcome to Unit 2 of the LRNT527 course. Watch the video below for an orientation to the tasks of this four week unit.

In this unit, you will be engaging in a variety of learning and practice activities focused on creating a draft version of the digital learning resource you proposed in your Unit 1 video. Before you build your draft resource, you will explore some additional resources about adult education and learning theory and consider what type of theory or models might influence your design choices. You will also learn more about the evaluation of digital learning resources and the technology choices you may want to incorporate in your design.

Your required team assignment (Assignment 2) as part of this unit will be to co-create a rubric that might be used to evaluate the quality of a digital learning resource. This collaborative activity, the building of an effective rubric, will present opportunities for you and your team to consider what elements of the design of a digital learning resource might be measured, evaluated, and possibly improved with feedback (the building blocks of a well-designed rubric).

Finally, you will produce and turn in a draft (prototype) of your digital learning resource for review and feedback.

This Unit addresses Course Learning Outcome B: Design and create a digital learning resource and C: Critique a digital learning resource.

Learning Activities and Assignments

  • Activity 1 – Theory-Informed Learning Design
  • Activity 2 – Evaluating Technology for Digital Resources
  • Activity 3 – Optional Exploration of Open Educational Resources
  • Reading for Assignment 2 – Students as Knowledge Creators
  • Assignment 3 Considerations – The Prototype Phase

Activity 1 – Theory-Informed Learning Design

Before making any decisions about how to implement your ideas and the choice and use of various digital tools for your digital learning resource, you should consider a variety of learning theories and instructional design principles that may be applicable to your instructional context. Learning theories and instructional design principles provide a foundation for the use of digital technology in teaching and learning and can influence the choice of digital tools as well as the approach taken when creating digital learning resources.

You may already be familiar with many of the prominent learning theories and instructional design principles, but take a moment to read or re-read the following required articles and apply one or more of the learning theories described to your digital learning resource proposal (and your proposed learners) Anderson (2016), Bates (2015), and Kay and Knaack (2008). Another inspirational reference (optional) to consult, and then follow on with new learning theory explorations is Richard Millwood’s (2013) amazing diagram called simply Learning Theory.

If there are other theories you’ve explored as part of your other courses you are welcome to use any that resonate with you and that align with your proposed resource.

Take Action

Draw or use a favourite concept mapping tool to begin to diagram connections from learning theory and instructional design (ID) frameworks to your proposed learning resource. You will add to your diagram to the Unit 2 Discussion Forum after completing Activity 2 below. Explain the elements of learning theory and ID frameworks that you believe influence and can connect with your proposal. Include theories and practices that are relevant in your professional context and the context of your learners.

Activity 2 – Evaluating Technology for Digital Resources

At this point in the course you probably have many ideas for potential resource solutions and you may have already identified some digital tools that can be used to create your digital learning resource. If you are looking for some ideas for digital tools, you can start by looking at the Top 100 Learning Tools for 2022 by Jane Hart. Take some time to check them out and consider which could fulfil the requirements you have identified.

The next step in the design thinking process is to narrow down your ideas and to select the most promising ones. When dealing with the creation of a digital learning resource, there are a variety of theoretical frameworks that can be used to help you make effective decisions about the choice and use of various digital tools. Some prominent frameworks include the SECTIONS model (Bates, 2015), Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) model (Koehler & Mishra, 2009) and the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) model (Hamilton, Rosenberg, & Akcaoglu, 2016). You may already be familiar with most of these frameworks, so please skim the articles as needed for a review of the models. An additional resource for you to explore is Anstey and Watson’s (2018) Rubric for eLearning Tool Evaluation.

Activity 2 – Take Action

Consider how you might be able to apply one or more technology evaluation frameworks to narrow down your resource design ideas. Choose one or more technology selection frameworks that you have reviewed in your readings and describe how the framework you prefer aligns with your concept map created in Activity 1 for this use. Share your thoughts in the Unit 2 Activities Discussion Forum and provide feedback on postings from your peers.

Activity 3 – Open Educational Resources (OER) – this is an optional activity.

OER is Sharing by Giulia Forsythe is in the public domain

You may already be familiar with open educational resources in your work, certainly you will have seen these resources in your MALAT courses. All of the basic content of each course in the program is licensed as follows:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License unless otherwise noted.

You can use the link above to explore what that means if you’re not certain. If you’d like to learn more about OER, and consider the possibility of designing your digital learning resources as an OER, explore the following OpenLearn (n.d.) open course, Creating Open Educational Resources with a particular focus on Unit 1 – What is open learning and why OERs?

Additional (optional) Resources

  • Creating Open Educational Resources – Covers the basics of what are OER, what are open licenses, how do you create OER, where can you host OER, the importance of providing editable technical formats, and links to some examples.
  • Open Licensing for Instructors – Provides a good primer on licensing considerations and Creative Commons licenses.

Optional Activity 3 – Take Action

Consider whether or not you would want to design your digital learning resource as an OER. Form some questions and some rationale one way of the other and you will engage in discussion with your classmates in the Unit 2 Zoom session.

Readings for Assignment 2 – Co-Creation

While the majority of the content and activities for this course were pre-designed, before you began the course as an element of quality assurance, one element was left as a task of co-creation for you in partnership with a team – creating an effective rubric to evaluate the quality of a digital learning resource (or course). The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with a relevant, collaborative task to practice teamwork and to connect your exploration and discussion with your team. You and your team can then make connections from this assignment to the development of your digital resources.

The University of British Columbia provides a guidance page on the topic of Students as Knowledge Creators.Take the time for an exploratory read of this article and include some of the elements about open pedagogy and the process of co-creation in your team in your Assignment 2 written summary (if you and your team agree they have value).

The resource you will be evaluating as a team for Assignment 2 is quite detailed. It is a good idea to get ahead of this assignment and read through the Quality Online Course Initiative (QOCI) rubric designed by staff at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Assignment 2 – Co-Created Rubric for Evaluating Digital Resources (Team Assignment)

The purpose of this assignment is to provide you and your team an opportunity to design a rubric for the assessment of digital learning resources. As part of your Unit 2 reading, you are encouraged to explore what “students as knowledge creators” means and the idea of a renewable assignment is presented. The rubric you and your team will use for this assignment is intentionally selected as an open education resource (OER) with an open license. This means that you and your team (and others with whom you share your work, privately or publicly) may use the rubric you adapt for their own contexts if they wish as long as you attribute the original work according to Creative Commons attribution rules. Your work on this project should help you make connections between what you are creating as your digital learning resource for this course and evidence-based quality criteria for the design of digital resources. Peer review of resources, in the context of graduate education is a critical component of collaborative learning learning. This assignment will support you and your team to practice researching and debating what criteria may be used to evaluate quality. This assignment helps determine your achievement of course Learning Outcome C – critique a digital learning resource.

Assignment 3 Considerations

By taking into consideration the theoretical frameworks and the learning theories and instructional design principles you have reviewed in Unit 2, you should be able to select at least one promising idea for a digital learning resource that you think would meet the needs of your end user. Your digital learning resource for this course should represent approximately two hours of learning, interactivity, and assessment and should include opportunities for learners to provide feedback and reflect on their experiences. According to explorations related to learner needs, the choice of technologies to create your resource should be aligned with your context (technologies that you and your prospective learners can access) and literature-informed practice for the design of human learning.

You need to begin to build a prototype based on the following concepts (these should be included in your evolving explanations as you go):

  • Description:Clearly and concisely describe the purpose of your digital learning resource.
  • Learning Goals:Clearly describe the intended learning goals of the digital learning resource.
  • Intended Audience:Identify the intended audience for your digital learning resource.
  • Rationale:Explain how the digital resource will solve your problem of practice and meet the needs of the intended audience.
  • Tools:Provide a summary of the tools that you would like to use to develop your digital learning resource and clearly justify why you would like to use them using one or more educational technology evaluation models.
  • Assessment/Evaluation Plan:Describe any assessments that you will use to ensure the audience has achieved the intended learning goals (if applicable), and/or any evaluation methods that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the digital learning resource.
  • Learning Theories & Instructional Design Principles Used:Identify the specific learning theories and instructional design principles that you will use in the creation of your digital learning resource and include an explanation of how the theories and principles will inform the design of your digital learning resource.
  • Instructions for Use:Clearly and concisely outline instructions for use of your digital learning resource.
  • Plan for Use:Describe how the digital learning resource will be used by learners (their level of access to the resource, their level of technology skill to use the reseource, purpose for their learning, etc. 

You are encouraged to share your evolving Design in the Unit 2 Activities Discussion Forum and seek feedback from your peers and your Users (if you have easy access) and your course peers as you iterate.

One strategy that you can use to seek (and provide) feedback, which is often used in the design process is the “I Like, I Wish, What If” method. Using this method, you can provide open feedback by providing three types of statements for your peer(s):

  • “I Like…” statements convey the aspects that you like about the draft design plan
  • “I Wish…” statements share ideas about how the draft design plan could potentially be enhanced or modified
  • “What if…” statements express new suggestions that might not have a direct link to the draft design plan, but might open up possibilities for new ideas that your peer can explore

Another strategy you can use for peer feedback of the draft design plans is a Feedback Capture Grid which includes four quadrants to note your likes, wishes, questions and ideas. You can use the following template to guide your feedback if you choose to use this method.

Consider making your digital learning resource open so that it is publicly accessible for others to copy, use, adapt and share. Please refer to the OER resources in Activity 3 from this unit.

Assignment 3 – Draft Digital Resource and Explanations (Individual Assignment)

The purpose of this assignment is to create a prototype (a preliminary version) of the digital learning resource you proposed to create in Assignment 1. Based on feedback from your faculty member for Assignment 1, you will refine your idea (Ideation) and create a version 1 of your design based on your reflection of your problem of practice, your exploration of learning theory that informs design, and what you have continued to learn from the potential users of your resource. This assignment helps determine your achievement of course Learning Outcome B – design and create a digital learning resource. Link to Assignment 3.