About ABC Learning Design


Two teachers discuss module design with ABC materials.
Teachers discussing the redesign of a module during an ABC workshop at UCL.

ABC Learning Design a collaborative programme and module design method created at University College London (UCL) in 2015 and now used widely across the sector to help develop new programmes and review existing provision.


In How to Use Digital Learning with Confidence and Creativity: A Practical Introduction (2024)


ABC enables programme and module teams rapidly to develop a storyboard visualising the learner journey based on their activities through the course of study. The method is non-prescriptive and builds from the participants’ existing practice but can be used to identify opportunities for blended learning, to review assessment and feedback and align the programme to wider institutional priorities

Many institutions now use ABC as part of their own strategic change initiatives. The UK JISC report “Approaches to curriculum and learning design across UK higher education” published in November 2022 highlighted the astonishing popularity of the approach.

In their survey the ABC model “featured in 32 of 79 responses (40% of the open text comments mentioned using ABC or an adaptation of it)”.


At the heart of ABC is a 90 minute collaborative classroom-based or online workshop. As teaching teams build the storyboard, they reflect on the purpose, structure and outcomes of their current or planned modules. In this process, teaching practice is discussed and opportunities to enhance the student journey may be identified and agreed. 

ABC storyboards and participants giving feedback.

The key to ABC is pace, engagement and collaboration. ABC has been found particularly useful for new programmes or those changing to an online or more blended format. The approach generates high levels of engagement, and stimulates creative informed dialogue and group reflection about curriculum design among even time-poor academics. Change is a likely though not a required outcome as storyboarding the sequence and combination of activities as a peer group may also validate current designs and practices. Participants often report feeling more confident as teachers after an ABC session. This 8 minute video explains how ABC works

ABC is free! From 2015 to 2019 the ABC team introduced the method to some 40 universities and colleges throughout the UK, Europe and beyond. Well over a thousand academics and learning professionals participated in these sessions, filed-testing ABC a range of disciplines from medical sciences through engineering to education and social sciences.  ABC was released as a free downloadable toolkit under a Creative Commons license with the latest version an outcome of a highly successful Erasmus ABC to VLE project.

RECORDING: To VLE and Beyond? Revisiting ABC Learning Design – Webinar 15 May 2023
How has ABC evolved and been modified since its launch at UCL in 2015? Recording of the event.