Learning Design Bootcamp – Supporting Higher Education institutions before, during and after COVID-19

The Learning Design Bootcamp started in 2019 as an idea to support Higher Education (HE) institutions in the design and development of online/blended learning when online learning was an option in HE. However, in the second year, as soon as the Bootcamp 2020 was launched, the pandemic hit, becoming an exclusive and extremely timely activity supporting HE institutions in the transition to online learning.

The Learning Design Bootcamps in 2019 and 2020 provided an intensive four months programme for Learning Technologists and academics  engaging in the design and development of a 15 or 30 credit module of their choice. The teams were supported on-the-job by mentors and coaches in the design and development of their module following the CoDesigns Learning Design Framework.

During the Bootcamp, the teams designed and developed their modules supported remotely by their mentors with clear deadlines. 

Bootcamp 2019

Four teams were selected from the following universities in 2019:

  • The University of Warwick
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University East London
  • Solent University

Bootcamp 2020

Six teams were selected from the following universities in 2020:

  • University College London
  • University of Exeter
  • St George’s, University of London
  • Aberystwyth University
  • Keele University and
  • University of Surrey

The Learning Design Bootcamp Committee led by leaders in online learning and academics from different UK universities, has been keen to research what needs to change in terms of capabilities, opportunities and motivations among learning technologists and academics when engaging in learning design in HE.

Following the 2019 Bootcamp, the COM-B model (Capabilities-Opportunities-Motivation:Behaviour) in combination with the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) (Michie et al, 2011), was used to identify the potential capabilities, opportunities and motivations present within the 2019 cohort in order to influence and adapt the next Bootcamp in 2020. 

The analysis suggested that the implementation of learning design methodologies/frameworks might be more likely to occur if learning technologists and academics’ psychological capabilities, physical and social opportunities, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations were addressed. A scoping exercise carried out by the researchers focused on the low uptake in the use of learning design frameworks/methodologies, resulted in a conceptual map of the system of behaviours that may be encouraged for long-term use and implementation of learning design frameworks/methodologies among academics and learning technologists in HE. 

The systematic method presented by the developers of the COM-B model and BCW has helped the researchers to use behavioral analysis to review the 2019 Learning Design Bootcamp. Feedback from the bootcamp mentors and the final review panel, who evaluated the presentations from the teams, identified that the teams had developed the behaviour to utilise pedagogically sound methodologies in the design of online/blended learning modules/programmes. However, in some cases, the behaviour had only been developed in one of the roles, typically the learning technologist, and it was noticeable that team cohesion and buy-in from both roles was a key factor for the winning team.  

The research and the review of the Bootcamp 2019 has enabled the identification of potential intervention functions which might bring about change within the HE institutions that were involved in the Bootcamp 2020. The findings from this research are under review and will be published and shared among the HE community soon. Further evaluations will be carried out this year to assess behavioral goals and the potential psychological capabilities, physical and social opportunities, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that may have an impact.

What’s your experience of Learning Design? 

What’s your experiences of Learning Design in your institutions? Is there a framework? We’d love to know how often curriculum is reviewed in your institution, please comment below or using #ldbootcampuk. We’ll be publishing your tweets in a future SEDA Educational Developments magazine. 

Bootcamp 2021

The Call for the Learning Design Bootcamp 2021 was launched on 12th February, with a deadline of 5th March. The Learning Design team from The Open University is hosting the Bootcamp in 2021. The Bootcamp this year will be more than ever an opportunity to influence the quality of education in HE and an opportunity to continue sensing and exploring behavioural goals that may influence the development, implementation and strategic direction of learning design and curriculum design in HE.

Committee Members:

Gerald Evans, SFHEA, Head of Learning Design, The Open University

Katharine Reedy, SFHEA, Learning Designer, The Open University

Santanu Vasant, SFHEA, Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, University of East London

Jannah Aljafri, Learning Designer, Cambridge Education Group Digital

Catherine Turton, Instructional Designer, Solent University

Alison Ormesher, Instructional Designer, Solent University

Dr Julie Voice, FHEA, Head of Educational Technology, City, University of London

Anita Holt, TEL Team Manager, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool

Dr Karen Kenny, SFHEA, Academic Developer, University of Exeter

Professor Manuel Frutos-Perez, PFHEA, Director of Business Development, Cambridge Education Group Digital

Jesse Alexander, Course Coordinator: Online MA and BA(Hons) Photography (Top Up), Falmouth University

Mohamed Mahayni, Associate Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London


Dr Maria Toro-Troconis, SFHEA, Bootcamp Founder & Director

2 thoughts on “Learning Design Bootcamp – Supporting Higher Education institutions before, during and after COVID-19

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