22 November – 5 December 2021

For this topic, we shift our focus from participation in a learning environment to the perspective of the educator in the design for learning. Over this fortnight, you will have the opportunity to explore current practices in Learning Design that have been informed by research to create engaging blended and online learning experiences for your students. Understanding how to design learning for student retention, active learning, collaboration, inclusivity, employability; and how to translate learning analytics into pedagogical action are some points that will be considered.

Enhancing community-building and promoting student engagement and ownership in learning becomes essential for blended and online learning. Learning design thus needs to be informed by a set of principles that considers approaches that focus on student engagement like Active Learning, Community of Inquiry, PBL, Collaborative Learning and Networked Learning.

You will be encouraged to reflect on your own experience of what constitutes good learning design as well as consider how you can design and support flexible, active, networked and community-based learning in your own teaching practice.

Activities for all learners

We are very happy to have Martin Weller with us for this last topic. In this webinar he will be giving his perspectives on Design for online and blended learning and elaborate on what constitutes Learning Design. The webinar will take place on Tuesday 23 November 13:00-14:00 (CET). For further information about Martin and the webinar, please view the event page!

Martin Weller
 together with Anne Whaits, Jörg Paregis and others in the ONL team, will be moderating a discussion on questions related to Design for online and blended learning, picked up during the topic. This will be the last tweetchat in ONL212, if you have not yet tried it out, take the opportunity. (see the event page)

Learning blog – reflection
Towards the end of the topic, finalise and share your reflections in your blog and have a look around how others have captured their stories. Suggested themes for reflection in your learning blog:

  • Reflect on your current practice and reason about possibilities for development of online and blended learning designs. You may want to use the “Community of Inquiry Educator Survey” as a tool for reflection on your own teaching practice. You can view the survey here).
  • Reflect on how you can provide support, facilitation and scaffolding for students in online and blended learning environments.
  • Are there opportunities for further development in this area, that you have identified as a result of your own experience as a learner in the ONL course and of your engagement in this topic?

Feedback on blogs
One essential aspect in designing and supporting learning is to regard the importance of feedback. We would therefore like to encourage you view and comment on other participants blogs – remember how motivating constructive feedback can be!

PBL group work

For guidance on PBL group work including the FISh design please see Learning activities.


“ One and a half years ago, we were forced to work online with the implementation of emergency remote teaching and learning because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems that in many instances we may still be approaching our teaching practice in the same way without using any of the existing models of learning design for blended and online learning to inform our practice. We need to draw on current best practice and review how we design hybrid, blended and online learning to promote active learning; and how we combine synchronous and asynchronous activities that encourage students’ engagement and learning.”

Readings and resources


Hodges, C. et.al (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. EDUCAUSE review.

Open University – Reflection and Resources from the Open University Learning Design Team – Webpage with Resources

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “The Community of Inquiry Conceptual framework”. / Download the whole book.

Weller, M., van Ameijde, J. & Cross, S. (2018). Learning Design for Student Retention. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(2)

Further optional readings and resources

ABC Learning Design – homepage and resources

Boelens, R., De Wever, B., & Voet, M. (2017). Four key challenges to the design of blended learning: A systematic literature review. Educational Research Review, 22, 1-18.

Cleveland-Innes, M. & Wilton, D. (2018). Guide to Blended Learning. Burnaby: Commonwealth of Learning.

Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design. (manuscript)

Conrad, D. & Openo, J. (2018). Strategies for Online Learning. Engagement and Authenticity. Edmonton: AU Press. (book for download or read online)

Fiock, H. (2020). Designing a Community of Inquiry in Online Courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 21(1), 135-153.

Mintz, Steven (2021). How to Design a Course for Maximum Student Engagement: Seven Innovative Approaches. Webinar presentation (60 min) Recording / Presentation slides

Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Homepage 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – homepage and guidelines



By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to:

  • discuss pedagogical approaches; possibilities and challenges in designing online learning environments
  • apply models for design and facilitation of online and blended learning.
  • reflect on how to design for learning and support learners in your own practice.



webinar   Webinar: Tuesday 23 November
13:00-14:00 (CET)

Tweetchat: Wednesday 1 December, 2021
14:00-15:00 (CET)



During this topic I have:

  • Contributed actively to the group work on the scenario
  • Commented on some colleagues’ blog posts
  • Written my reflective blog post on topic 4
  • Studied the recommended  where resources for this topic.