Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Theoretical Frameworks and Design Principles

Reviewing patterns and principles of design for our group project

Activity 14: Conceptualise H817 OU

Our group held a synchronous discussion before we commenced this exercise and decided that a couple of us should choose theoretical frameworks that help to guide and direct our design, whilst others review case studies. We felt this would be a more logical and balanced approach to this task in view of activity 13 which required deriving design principles and patterns from the theoretical frameworks and  case studies respectively.

I selected two frameworks:
  • Laurillard (2002, 2007): Conversational Framework
  • Nicol (2007): A Framework and Ten Principles for Assessment and Feedback in the First Year
The design principles I derived from them are:
  • Laurillard: Establish where your learners are at the time of assessment
  • Nicol: Design domain-appropriate assessment

These link to each other in that in order for appropriate assessment to be selected an educator / facilitator requires sound knowledge of the learning domain and of the learners themselves. In an optimal learning environment assessment can then be linked directly to student learning and consequently should provide reliable evidence relating to the learner's growth and development.

Our project, how to incorporate effective assessment into a course where students learn by designing objects or activities and representing these as multi-media artefacts, requires methods of assessment that will evaluate the end-product and the creative, social and technological process that are involved throughout the duration of this creative process. This calls for a range of formative, summative and diagnostic methods of assessment that are flexible, adaptable, and appropriate for the learning domain and compatible with the digital environment.

Links to case studies and theoretical frameworks

Between our group of four and the research papers that we have all reviewed there have been many overlapping points in relation to the assessment and evaluation of multi-media artefacts such as:

- assessment needs to be appropriate for the learning domain (seems obvious but this is apparently not always the case)

- in digital learning environments, teachers / facilitators need more awareness of the transformational impact that technologies can have on assessment practices ( the implication here being that more training, guidance and support is required)

- assessment should focus more on capturing the creative process rather than the end product

- artefacts should be presented and captured using a variety of media and uploaded to an ePortfolio

- integration of multiple assessment tools enables a more flexible approach to assessment

- the implementation of peer learning strategies should be encouraged

- both peer and self-assessment methods perceived as viable (also viewed as having pedagogic benefits e.g. aids in promoting more autonomous learning, increasing learner motivation and confidence)

- reflective practices and active feedback between students can improve the quality of social ties, extending it beyond the academic and aid in personalizing learning

Affect of patterns and principles on our solution

Our team communicates well and have had several intensive discussions to date. The research papers have more or less provided evidence that supports many of the ideas and issues that we have already raised and issues that also became evident after analyzing our personas and defining a design challenge.

This step by step process is in a sense creating a robust foundation for our design, one that is grounded in research and one that will aid in informing and guiding the rest of our design project.


Laurillard, D. (2002) `Rethinking Teaching for the Knowledge Society`  EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 37, No.1. pp.16-25 [online] Available at: (Accessed 29. 05. 2013)

Laurillard, D. (2007) ‘Pedagogical forms for Mobile Learning’,
in: Pachler, N. (ed) (2007) Mobile learning: towards a research agenda. London: WLE Centre, IoE.  [online] Available at:

Masters, G. N. ‘Reforming education assessment: imperatives, principles and challenges.’ Policy and Practice 5.1 (2013): 7-73. [online] Available at: ( Accessed 29. 05. 2013)

Nicol, D. (2007). ‘ Principles of good assessment and feedback:Theory and practice.’ From the REAP International Online Conference on Assessment Desigh for Learner Responsibility, 29th-31st May, 2007.[Online] Available at:
(Accessed 29. 05. 2013)

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