Dwayne Hodgson

A Portfolio

The work and adventures of Dwayne Hodgson,
+ Learning Designer & Facilitator at learningcycle.ca
+ Storyteller & Photographer @ thataway.ca

Visuals, Dialogue & Learning: Your Alternative Pictures of the Steps of Design

Recently I created a short instructional video that explains how the different steps of design can be displayed as a learning design canvas.  Check it out!  The post generated some excellent comments and a few alternative examples (see below). Based on your feedback, I've added the 8th (SO THAT... / Transfer) and 9th (SO WHAT.../ IMPACT) steps to create an expanded learning design canvas (or click here for a Word version of the canvas you can fill in). 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the reactions to this second draft have ranged from very positive ("nice alignment") to critical ("it doesn't work for me"). Fair enough, whenever you try to depict an abstract concept visually, there are for sure going to be different opinions. Perhaps it is similar to seeing a movie adaptation of a book that you loved: "The main character in the film doesn't look at all as I imagined her!"

But I think that one of the strengths of using visuals in learning is that they do provoke varied responses in different people: what clarifies the inter-relationships for one person, may make it less clear for others.

In a lot of the facilitation work that I do, I find that proposing a visual synthesis of a problem, idea or system can be an invitation to dialogue and deeper learning. I have often seen how presenting a simple, even simplistic, synthesis of the problem in a visual or graphic can help a group of learners make a breakthrough to a better understanding.

Not that they need to accept  what I propose -- far from it! --- but most often having seen what they don't like, they come up with something better. As such, my "brilliant, Eureka-inducing-jump-out-of the-bathtub" solution usually turns out to be a  imperfect"penultimate" solution.

But no worries. I've learned to be okay with that because after all the goal is to promote their learning or group process.  And speaking of which....

Some Responses to the Learning Design Canvas Post:

Here is a growing collection of additional ways of mapping out the steps of design that readers have sent in these past few months. 

1) The Classic, Narrative Model!

Note Bella from Peter Noteboom of Global Learning Partnersshared how he continued to use the classic written list. This involves just writing the details of the steps starting with the WHO and working through to the HOW. He likes it because it keeps the WHO prominent as the starting place for any learning design. 

2) The Consolidated What/What For - LTI Indicators Embedded - 4C Model 

Margaret Spielmann, & Jenny Giezendanner from SIL shared a very detailed "Learning Module Design Guide" (along with an explanation) that they use in their Learning that LASTS classes. It's an intriguing innovation in that it:

a) Combines both the What (content) and What For (Achievement-Based Objectives) in Step 3 but also adds in indicators of Learning Transfer and Impact.

b) Provides yet another alternative formulation of the 4A / 4I Learning Task model, the 4C model: 

  • Connection (the inductive task)
  • Content (the new knowledge, skills and attitudes the learners will engage with)
  • Challenge (what they will do with the new KSAs)
  • Change (the difference it will make in the future) 

Thanks, Jenny & Margaret for sharing this template. 

Margaret also subsequently posted a Learning Event planning module that is slightly different. 

3) A Very Comprehensive Learning Concept Map

Wendy Wong sent a link to Don Clark's Learning Concept Map  which led me to his eclectic, but chock-a-block full-of-neat-ideas website. There is some great stuff there; check it out! 

4) The Fish!

Lois Jones shared her vision of how the Steps of Design and it turned out looking like a fish. 

I love how it captures the same inter-relationships as the Canvas that I created, but in a less "boxy" way! 

Click on the image to see a larger version of the picture. 

5) The Funnel

Paul Nitz in Malawi -- winner of the Dialogue Education Principles Review Game -- sent this great depiction of the 9 steps that starts with the WHY at the top of what looks to me like a funnel. As you "flow through" two more "filters" of steps, you reach the SO WHAT? at the bottom. 

Great stuff. It reminds me of when we worked on the SURE-Fire Meetings Design, GLP's great course on creating effective meetings (little plug there!). We found that starting with the WHY helped you name who really had to be there to achieve the overall purpose of the meeting. 

In learning design, however, I find that I don't always control the 4 parameter steps (Who, Why, When and Where); often these decisions are made for me. But if you do have a choice of who is to attend, this is a great way to conceptualize it. 

More Ideas, Please!

If these ideas spark more ideas for you, please jot them down electronically and click here to upload them to this website. I'll review them and add them to this post.

In Visual Dialogue, dh