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Reflect on the research and frameworks that can help you to evaluate robust digital learning design.

Evaluating innovative practices

As a digital learning practitioner, you may have heard the saying ‘pedagogy before technology’. So how do we know whether technology is serving us well for enhanced online learning?

In the last few steps, we’ve looked at the people (ie digital learning practitioners) and practices transforming digital learning.

Now we’ll look at some of the ways we can identify and evaluate our practice to ensure that we’re improving the quality of digitally-enabled learning solutions.

Digital learning reports

There are a number of educational and research institutions that look at innovation and trends in digital learning, some of which include the following:

  • NMC Horizon 2019 report: annual report investigating the short-, mid- and long-term trends, challenges and developments around educational technology within a higher education context
  • OECD 2016 report: an analysis of innovative digital technologies and their impact on (global) education
  • Open University 2019 report: annual report exploring innovations in educational pedagogies

Reports such as these are useful in finding out what research tells us about how we might conceptualise and apply approaches to innovation for digital learning.

Digital learning frameworks

Let’s now look at some of the frameworks, including guidelines and standards, that facilitate the evaluation of digital learning practices and environments, some of which also lead to accreditation and recognition of innovative professional practice.

Aligning pedagogy and technology

When it comes to balancing pedagogical and technological approaches to learning, these reports and frameworks – and the overarching criteria and aspects that emerge from more broadly – can be synthesised to evaluate and benchmark digital learning design and practices.

In essence, these standards and frameworks outline that digital learning is:

  • aligned and scaffolded: has constructively aligned outcomes, assessments, learning activities
  • social and inclusive: is collaborative, multi-disciplinary, personal
  • supported: takes a learner-centred approach, offers service and product design
  • tracked and responded: provides feedback, learning analytics
  • afforded by the appropriate use of technology: supports critical digital pedagogy, educational technologies.

Your task

Participate in one of the following tasks:

  1. Select one of the above-mentioned frameworks and standards and conduct your own further investigation. Share your summary of the framework/standard and talk about why and how it can be applied in evaluating and recognising (innovative) practices in your context.
  2. Share another useful framework/standard you know about (that isn’t mentioned here). And talk about why and how it’s useful in your context.

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This article is from the free online course:

Transforming Digital Learning: Learning Design Meets Service Design

Deakin University

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