Storyboards, episodes and patterns

One of the really interesting ideas from last week’s “Developing your Design” bootcamp was that of considering an “episode level design” between the module level design and the the detail of the activities. The episode could represent a week (or maybe a fortnight) and it could have one or more design patterns giving a rhythm and predictability to teaching.

Thinking about some of our examples, a pattern for an episode (a week) could be something like:

  • Big question
  • Unpacking theory and practice
  • Group activity
  • Q&A
  • Discussion and reflection

Once learning outcomes are authored for each episode, then then, tools like ABC activity cards, CoDesign cards, or OU’s Activity cards can help to structure each each element of the pattern into a set of tasks and content (e-tivities) geared towards meeting the learning outcomes.

But, before learning outcomes can be in the drivers seat, we were reminded of the importance of carefully crafting them – with active verbs, defining a level – so we can evaluate whether the proposed activities will work i.e. enable students to meet these learning goals.

I’ve really enjoyed working with ABC as storyboarding tool, but am aware that people can get confused on the level they are working. Some are happy to abstract them “this is the pattern for weeks 2-6” but in other situations I’ve found participants bogged down in the detail of what week 3 will contain and, in the time constrained workshop, be unable to see the sweep of the module. As a facilitator, you do encourage participants to work at the overview level, but placing an emphasis on a pattern for the week as a prelude, or additional step, may well help.

Lots to think about…

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