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The Learning Design Sequence is illustrated as follows.





  • The learning is based on the solution of an open-ended problem which has multiple possible solutions. The task needs to be carefully selected so that it leads learners to deal in thoughtful and reflective ways with the underpinning conceptual basis and to acquire the knowledge and understanding needed to act competently in the completion of the task.
  • The learning setting is based on a problem-solving scenario involving 3 tasks which follow in sequence.

    • In the first task, students are required to deconstruct a system/product in which known weaknesses/deficiencies exist. The focus of the deconstruction is to explore the system/product and its weaknesses/deficiencies from a practical and conceptual perspective and to articulate the weaknesses/deficiencies as a means of exploring what might constitute a more sound system/product.
    • In the second task, students are required to describe the attributes that are consistent with a successful form of the system/product investigated in the first task. The development of a framework describing a successful system/product is intended to enable students to develop an understanding of the elements of a successful entity and how they work in conjunction.
    • In the third and final task, students are required to apply the attributes to design a system/product according to derived/given specifications. They do so using the knowledge gained from the previous tasks and its application in a practical setting.


  • To create a setting where this precise form of problem-solving can be applied, it is important to choose an authentic context for the task and to create an overarching context where the 3 tasks represent natural steps and a natural progression of ideas and learning.
  • The selection and specification of the problem needs to be done in ways that facilitate and support the following learning principles:
    • Learner engagement by supporting learners’ intent and expectations, catering for prior experiences and motivation and the provision of socially engaging experiences.
    • Challenges for learners that cause them to question assumptions, to discern variations, to go beyond what is provided and take ownership of the learning process.
    • Acknowledgement of context through the provision of appropriate problems and the situating of learning in meaningful contexts.
    • The involvement of practice that enables learners to demonstrate what has been learned, to gain feedback as they progress and reflect on the experience and develop confidence.
  • In creating the context for learning, it is important for the following elements to be included:
    • The problem upon which the learning is based must provide students with the opportunity to deal meaningfully with the underpinning knowledge.
    • The activity must involve learners in planning, self-regulation, metacognition, articulation and reflection.
    • The learners should have to deal with a wide array of information and need to pick salient information from among distracting information.
    • The task should not be completed alone but rather attempted with the cooperation and assistance of others who can provide feedback and guidance.


  • The activities (sub-tasks) that students complete need to be planned or selected by the students. This is a reflective process and one which is an important part of the learning process. The task solution must contain sufficient degrees of freedom for students to take ownership of the problem solving.
  • The activities need to build the students’ knowledge and understanding, and represent more than simply following rules and procedures.
  • The activities need to be guided by existing and actual cases. The organising problem needs to be cast in a fashion that provides students with the capacity to use existing cases as part of the problem-solving process.

Fig 1. Example of a learning task involving the exploration of a Website in unit IMM 4141



  • The course aims to help students learn how to write articles for magazines.
  • Students assume the role of a cadet journalist in a Teen magazine, a magazine for teenage girls. In the first task they are provided a recent edition of the magazine and asked to critique the articles in terms of their suitability and potential appeal to readers of Teen magazine. The critique is in the form of a review to the Editor.
  • In the second task, they are required to develop a series of guidelines and strategies which might inform and scaffold writers of articles for this magazine.
  • Finally, they are asked to work in groups to write a story for the magazine based on a late and breaking news event, e.g. the arrival of a rock band in town ahead of a large concert. They are provided with all the background information they need and use the guidelines prepared in the second tasks as a scaffold to guide this activity.


  • The course is learning how to develop marketing plans. The students assume a role in a company looking to float a dotcom initiative.
  • For the first task, a proposal in the form of an existing marketing plan is presented and students are required to provide a report on it. The plan will have some known weaknesses and the intention is for students to discover and describe what these might be. The outcome could be a report to a superior.
  • In the second task, students are given a task to develop some guidelines and strategies that will result in a successful marketing plan in that organization for the dotcom initiative. The development of the guidelines needs to be given in some meaningful context.
  • Finally the student is given the task of developing a final marketing plan. The task is scaffolded by the guidelines and strategies developed in task 2 and the student works with others to apply this information in a creative and applied fashion. The setting provides many supports in this final task including templates, advice from senior staff, cases etc.

Security Studies

  • The course is one in designing security systems for shops and retail outlets. Students assume the role of a security expert and are required to develop a security design for a pharmacy. They are provided with a series of three tasks.
  • In the first instance they must explore a security system for the pharmacy which is in place with the view to assessing its security. (the system may have recently been breached and they are looking to examine how it may have been weak/deficient. The outcome from this may be a report to a superior.
  • The second task is the development of a series of guidelines and strategies by which the quality security systems for pharmacies can be designed and measures of their potential strength/success. Again, this second task needs to be cast in a realistic fashion.
  • A third and final task may be the development of a new security system for the pharmacy with given constraints, e.g. budget.





This form of learning setting needs to be resourced with an array of items for students to choose from:

  • examples of real life documents and materials relating to the subject;
  • policy documents;
  • templates, instruction books, manuals, guides;
  • access to people (opinions and advice) solving these problems as part of their occupation;
  • varying viewpoints on the subject/topic from different stakeholders;
  • theoretical treatises, e.g. journal papers, textbooks on the subject.


  • The students need to choose those resources that they deem necessary to learn the skills and understanding required to successfully solve the problem. For this reason, this learning design needs to have multiple resources many of which supplement others and may even repeat information in alternative forms.
  • Students must have the means to source their own information in addition to the resources provided.
  • Students must be provided with more resources than they need so they must choose those of greatest relevance.
  • The resources must provide multiple perspectives supporting different solutions to the problem.
  • The resources should be primary sources wherever possible, reflecting those that are used in real-life applications of this knowledge.
  • The resources should provide students with the means to develop a strategy for problem solution based on information at hand (students should not have to re-invent knowledge etc).

Fig 2. The scope of the learning resources for the unit IMM 4141



The online setting provides a range of resources to support the student in the process of writing stories for Teen magazine. Examples include:

  • copies of other magazines for teen girls;
  • demographic data describing the things young teens are interested in, advertising policy for a Teen magazine, etc;
  • general documents describing how to write magazine stories, headlines, information organization, sourcing information, etc;
  • company documents on storywriting. policies on ethics, paying for information, privacy, previous stories; and
  • canned interviews with senior staff at the magazine, other journalists.


Possible resources include:

  • documents describing how marketing plans are developed, strategies for doing feasibility studies;
  • examples of successful marketing plans, unsuccessful marketing plans;
  • information about the proposed dotcom venture e.g. news stories, technology descriptions, projected sales, etc;
  • web links to similar institutions;
  • newspaper articles and journal articles describing dotcom ventures and their successes and failures.

Security studies

Possible resources include:

  • books describing security devices, how they work, their functional details, costs etc;
  • examples of security installations, guidelines for designing installations;
  • cases of security breaches, cases of attempted security breaches;
  • interviews with pharmacy staff about security problems;
  • interview with pharmacy owner about expectations budgets etc.;
  • interviews with security experts.





  • Students need some form of guidance to assist in the development of a plan of attack for the problem to be solved e.g. a suggested approach, examples of ways to break the task down, some indication of the expected form of the deliverables.
  • Students need access to the opinions and feedback from others e.g. students solving similar problems, peers to collaborate with, mentors to seek advice from, experts to provide expert opinion.
  • Students need to be able to articulate thoughts and to receive informed feedback and guidance.


The critical forms of support include:

  • the guides and strategies for the problem-solving process; an example would be very helpful;
  • support from peers and other problem-solvers;
  • some capacity to seek information from experts who can guide and provide advice;
  • support from a tutor to guide the problem solving process.


In this learning design students are providing solutions to large, ill-defined and open-ended problems. The support is necessary to ensure that:

  • The problem-solving approach being taken will enable the student to provide the deliverables required.
  • The student understands the complexities in the situation and has the knowledge and skills to deal with this.
  • The solutions being proffered are sensible and meaningful and are in accord with practices and processes in the area.
  • The student is progressing in the right direction and not stifled or stopped by impassable obstacles.

Fig 3. Learning supports for the unit IMM 4141 showing strategies, FAQs, institutional supports



  • A Learning Guide, a suggested learning pathway detailing possible approaches to completing the 3 tasks.
  • Collaborative groups, students work with colleagues and seek feedback and guidance in directed ways.
  • Bulletin board where magazine drafts are posted for feedback from sub-editors, content experts, company legal eagles.
  • FAQs, lists of questions and answers students have made in previous offerings.
  • Guest Editors, online access to experts who can provide guidance for particular aspects of the three tasks.


  • A Learning Guide, a suggested learning pathway detailing possible approaches to completing the three tasks associated with the marketing plan.
  • Collaborative groups, students work with colleagues and seek feedback and guidance in directed ways on the various elements in the three given tasks.
  • Bulletin board where marketing plans are posted for feedback from company execs, legal reps etc.
  • Workplace mentors who can read drafts and provide feedback.
  • FAQs, lists of questions and answers students have made in previous offerings.

Security studies

  • A Learning Guide, a suggested learning pathway detailing possible approaches to completing the three tasks.
  • Collaborative groups, students work in teams to complete the tasks with assigned roles.
  • Templates and guides for plan drawings.
  • External security people to provide informed feedback on aspects of the design (e.g. tutor).
  • Bulletin board where security designs are posted for feedback from stakeholders e.g. customers, workers, management.
  • FAQs, lists of questions and answers students have made in previous offerings.


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