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  Review, Interpret, Construct, Justify





The Learning Design Sequence is illustrates as follows.





  • The learning design is based on the presentation of a well-researched and justified response to an open-ended situated problem. The design is constructed to build on a series of smaller, collaborative authentic tasks, each scaffolding the skills and concepts necessary for developing a response to the final authentic task.
  • The series of tasks needs to be carefully constructed within the chosen context to structure the development of an understanding of the appropriate skills and processes required to review available information, interpret appropriate data, construct a well-argued response to the situated issue and justify the response with appropriate evidence.
  • The learning setting is based on a virtual scenario involving a number of smaller, collaborative tasks leading to an accumulation of skills and understanding evidenced in an individual response to an over-arching question. The tasks follow the broad sequence outlined below:
    1. The initial suite of tasks require students to work collaboratively to explore case study data, complete procedural tasks, interpret and critique information and justify responses to a series of related authentic tasks in context.
    2. The developmental sequence of the collaborative tasks provides a structure in which students can develop practical skills underpinning the domain, leading to a growing conceptual awareness of how to address the complexity of the question posed. Students may choose to work through the suite of tasks in any order, however a defined sequence is preferred for cohesion in feedback and to enhance co-construction of knowledge.
    3. The final activity completes the inter-related set of authentic tasks set within the virtual context and is the culmination of the conceptual development outcomes of the group tasks. This task requires students to work individually with higher order analytic skills than before. Students are now expected to use skills and knowledge accumulated through the previous collaborative tasks to evidence their ability to review outcomes of the suite of tasks, interpret and conceptualise the more complex information now available, construct, articulate and justify a response to the question posed. Each response is expected to reflect a sophisticated understanding of the complexity of the issue in context.


  • The first step in designing a setting where this form of problem solving can be most effective is to recognise that the integrity of the experiential learning tasks, the context and the situated learning is dependent on the clarity of the expected outcomes of the learning experience.
  • The suggested sequence for developing a similar learning design is
    • Identify expected over-arching learning outcomes.
    • Identify and sequence skills, processes, concepts required to meet these learning outcomes.
    • Identify a social context and a significant situated problem which complements the expected learning outcomes.
    • Clarify the over-arching open-ended problem in context.
    • Create a sophisticated virtual learning context, including appropriate personnel, data sets, documents.
    • Develop a suite of collaborative tasks within this virtual context to meet the learning needs of the identified skills, processes and concepts.
  • In creating a context for this learning design it is important for the following elements to be included:
    • The problem upon which the learning is based must provide students with supported opportunities to develop knowledge in context, using authentic information-processing criteria.
    • Each activity should involve learners in the knowledge processes of reviewing, interpreting, constructing and justifying.
    • The learners should be expected to transfer the experiential knowledge of the context to a broader understanding of the problem posed.
    • The sub-tasks should not be completed alone, but within a collaborative network of fellow students who can provide feedback and constructive advice


  • The activities need to be sequenced to allow students to develop increasingly sophisticated skills and experience in reviewing and interpreting information, leading to conceptualising and justifying a sensible response to a problem.
  • The activities need to provide students an experiential structure for developing and articulating accumulated knowledge and understanding in context.
  • The role of collaboration in the reflective nature of developing knowledge needs to be accommodated in the activities. Each task needs to provide students a wide range of opportunities to share their knowledge development.



A course can be structured to assist students learn how to make informed, viable management decisions related to a ward in a hospital. The students take on the role of a nurse unit manager, investigating available information and patterns of activity within the ward to inform a decision related to changing pain management practice. Students are given access to case-based evidence for each patient, professional observations of ward staff, personal responses from patients and a range of appropriate procedural guides and practice manuals. The key task is to construct a portfolio of evidence to justify a change of clinical practice. The subsidiary group tasks build the skills and procedures necessary to make such an informed decision. All sub-tasks involve experiential development of skills and processes using virtual data.


A course can be structured to assist students to learn how to make informed, viable, data driven decisions related to student outcomes in a classroom. The students take on the role of a classroom teacher, exploring student activities, outcomes data and interactions within their classroom to inform a decision related to changing their school-based assessment policy. Students are given access to professional observations of their students, parent interview data, student outcome data for their class, National/State benchmarking data, and a wide range of policy and curriculum documentation. The key task is to construct a portfolio of evidence to justify a change of assessment practice within their school. The subsidiary group tasks build the skills and procedures necessary to design, collect, record, collate and interpret outcomes data to inform the decision. All sub-skills involve experiential development of skills and processes using virtual student outcomes data.





All resources made available for this form of learning design need to be consistent with the chosen authentic context and provide a set of complementary case studies. A wide range of resources needs to be developed to encourage students to develop critical selection skills. The following resources are suggested:

  • authentic data sets to analyse;
  • virtual characters, complete with case histories;
  • virtual documents modelling real life documents and materials related to issue;
  • procedure guide outlining learning tasks;
  • a reading guide posing differing theoretical and research-based perspectives on the issue;
  • URLs for appropriate journal articles and book chapters;
  • documents and evidence of a range of stakeholder perspectives;
  • a data analysis manual for any required analysis skills;
  • access to group responses to each task - Bulletin board.


  • It is essential that all resources made available/developed for the students are consistent with the authenticity of the situated issue which is the experiential basis for the learning design.
  • All resources must complement the virtual setting which forms the basis of the experiential learning design.
  • The resources must provide multiple perspectives related to the issue being explored, and a range of virtual experiences from which students can develop an informed position on the 'problem'.
  • Although virtual, the resources should provide a sense of being primary sources, reflecting real-life data.
  • Resources must provide links and suggested further exploration to allow opportunities for students to source their own information.
  • Data analysis examples and analysis guides must be consistent with the virtual setting, modelling appropriate skills and processes needed for interpreting and conceptualising responses to the problem.
  • Students must be provided with more resources than needed to facilitate the process of selection of information and justification of their response to the problem.
  • The public nature of responses to each learning task must create an on-going resource pool for the cohort.



Possible resources include:

  • Clinical practice manuals
  • Treatment protocols
  • Intranet access to specific clinical practice protocols
  • Books, articles related to focus of ward (e.g. Burns)
  • Patient profiles and treatment data
  • Staff profiles
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Rosters
  • Staff observations of ward management issue
  • Virtual patients and staff

Possible resources include:

  • Policy documents
  • Curriculum documents
  • Benchmark data (National and State)
  • Books, articles related to current theories of assessment
  • Internet access to Education system Web site
  • Student profiles
  • Staff profiles (including ancillary /support staff)
  • Student assessment records - portfolios, standardised test data, performance indicators
  • Assessment profile and criteria for classroom activities
  • Minutes of staff meetings
  • Staff observations of teaching-learning environment and student interactions
  • Virtual students and staff
  • Interviews with experts, parents, other key players





  • Tutor guidance: Students need easy access to a support system and regular, informed feedback to assist their development of essential skills of ICT access, analysis, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and selection of appropriate evidence to support an argued position.
  • Discussion forums: Students need access to a range of public forums such as bulletin boards and email for asynchronous sharing of information, resources, responses to learning tasks, peer opinions, mentor and expert feedback and whole cohort reflection on issues. The discussion forums need to accommodate individual, group and cohort interaction.
  • Learning pathways: Students need access to a structure outlining expected outcomes, useful resources and timeframe for all activities, group and individual tasks underpinning the learning design. Students need access to a related set of directed activities in context, modelling skills outcomes of group tasks.
  • Collaborative teams: Students need the opportunity to work within a small, collaborative team. The team will provide a networked system to support independent skills development, understanding of the roles and responsibilities required to function effectively as a group, development of problem solving strategies, ability to articulate a response to differing ideas and to submit a consensus solution to learning tasks.


The critical forms of support include:

  • Institutional and instructional support for easy access to ICT communication tools and resources;
  • Clear guidelines and expected outcomes for each learning task, including the significance of each task in the over-all individual student outcome of developing a justified response to the authentic 'problem';
  • Collegial support from peers in collaborative teams;
  • Support from tutor to guide skills development and problem-solving processes;
  • Regular feedback from tutor on proposed group solutions to learning tasks.


In this learning design, students are expected to work through a series of experiential learning tasks structured to develop skills and processes needed to conceptualise and articulate solutions to a situated, open-ended problem. The support is necessary to ensure that:

  • students remain in contact with the cohort through continued ICT access to discussion tools;
  • students effectively access intra- and inter-team collegial support in their learning;
  • students develop appropriate skills to enable them to select and interpret data;
  • students carry out appropriate analysis of available resources, have access to wider resources and a conceptualisation of the situation is developed in group responses to learning tasks;
  • each student understands the complexities of the situation, the openness of the problem posed and the potential for a range of well justified, sensible responses;
  • students develop the knowledge and skills to review, interpret, construct and justify a response to the posed problem.


  • A Learning Guide, a suggested learning pathway detailing possible approaches to completing the group tasks and outlining the key task;
  • Collaborative teams, small groups of student nurses working together on each task, providing support, feedback on draft responses to tasks related to ward management issues;
  • Discussion forums - email and interaction on team bulletin boards, sharing responses to group tasks, feedback from nurse educators/tutors/mentors.
  • A Learning Guide, a suggested learning pathway detailing possible approaches to completing the group tasks and outlining the key task. The guide could include related sets of tasks associated with skills necessary for interpreting student outcomes data, including interpreting benchmark data.
  • Collaborative teams, small groups of classroom teachers working together on each task, providing support, feedback on draft responses to tasks related to interpreting student assessment data.
  • Discussion forums - email and interaction on team bulletin boards in the classroom and general bulletin board in the staffroom, sharing responses to group tasks, interacting with ancillary staff/practising teachers/tutors/ mentors.


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