Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first two months of Unlimited. Subscribe for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply.

Find out more

Future imaginaries

In this article Neil Hughes introduces the concept of future pedagogical imaginaries.
Painting of a man looking out across a foggy landscape.
© Neil Hughes
To see a world in a grain of sand. And a heaven in a wildflower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand. And eternity in an hour” – The Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

For the Romantic poets such as Coleridge, Shelley and Blake, imagination was everything. The same might be said about learning designers as exemplified by Emma Hutson and Professor Stockwell. As they explained at the beginning of their conversation, their design journey began by casting their minds forward and imagining what teaching and learning in Higher Education might look like in 2050.

By constructing what might be referred to as a future pedagogical imaginary (Hughes, 2022), Emma and Peter were able to trigger conversations with colleagues about their ideas for a highly flexible masters programme with no set curriculum and learning that takes place in ‘pods’.

The imaginary also stimulated the drafting of blueprints, course prototypes and templates that could be shared, and worked towards. While the final course design may not have materialised exactly as they envisioned, this process undoubtedly provided structure and helped give direction to a large and diverse design team.

The other artifact that Emma and Peter referred to as critical in the early stages of their design process is learner personas. Their construction, as we will see, also involves a process of imagining.

© Neil Hughes
This article is from the free online

Blended and Hybrid Learning Design in Higher Education

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now