There has been an ongoing debate about transition into online learning and teaching environments (Vaughan et al., 2013). Until we migrate into fully-developed ones in the future, we have the MOOCs, the pioneers in online learning journeys. However, this very idea(l) calls for a serious dedication, differentiation and perseverance. As I have mention in an earlier post, about my online learning journey, the learning design is the core element and it creates the make or break moment for learners, and teachers.

Due to the advantages of being ubiquitous, along with the disadvantages luggage tagging along, online teaching is intriguing (and refreshing we all hope!) area to investigate. As an eager teacher, I have experimented with blended and flipped learning in my classrooms. I had assumed that adding some online component would turn them into examples of blended and/or flipped learning, and guess what?! Unbeknownst to me, this is exactly the caveat Vaughan et al., 2013 warn us about. I couldn’t figure out the missing piece about the learning design, but now I know why. Just like many MOOCs that have failed before, I had overlook the power of integration of learning designs, and the “mighty” Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was not enough alone. Even if through UDL multiple means of engagement, representation as well as action and expression were available in my classrooms, something else was missing: a broader and cyclical process.

Since even if we confuse them all the time (I definitely do!), learning designs (for students) need to be complemented with an instructional counterpart (for teachers) as well.

While the 7 C’s proposed by Conole (2015) seems like an ideal one, in my opinion it is too much.
 In his theory, there are so many choices in so many steps that becomes overwhelming. Just like Schwartz (2004) mentions more is less, it feels like having too many options in a likert-type questionnaire, where one is confused with and lost among many. Therefore, since I agree with Einstein’s famous quote “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler” I prefer another design with 5 steps, with an oldies but goodies mindset, the ADDIE model.

On the other hand, Salmon (2013) proposes another 5-stage model for online learning. It definitely rivals the ADDIE modal in the virtual world by taking into account many things while succeeding in staying simple.

As already established and continuously experimented instructional designs, ADDIE and Salmon’s 5-stage have their strengths and a lot in common. Therefore, deciding on an instructional design model would definitely depend on the nature of the teaching and learning setting, real or virtual (the direction we all seem to be heading). If it’s in a real world, I would choose ADDIE over the others, and when I finally decide to take my teaching into virtual platforms I would definitely give 5-stage modal priority over the others.

Until then!

ADDIE inforgaphic:

Schwartz, B. (2004). The paradox of choice: Why more is less. New York: Harper‐Collins.

UDL picture:

Group 10 PBL Artefact for Topic 4

Topic’s ONL Reading List (from our course page)


Further optional

  • City University London. (2016). Online Facilitation Techniques. 
  • Cleveland-Innes, M. & Wilton, D. (2018). Guide to Blended Learning. Burnaby: Commonwealth of Learning.
  • Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design. Manuscript.  PDF 
  • van Ameijde, J., Weller, M. and Cross, S. (2018). Learning Design for Student Retention. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, Vol 6 | Issue 2 | pp.41-50. 
  • Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. The whole book as  PDF
Topic 4: Design for Online and Collaborative Learning