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24 hour education design retreat at the University of Amsterdam


Institution: University of Amsterdam (Erasmus+ ABC to VLE project partner)

Description: Case study of ABC-workshop during 24-Hour Education design retreat

Author: Egbert Neels

Date: 19 February 2020

Course details: This case study provides an overarching description of the use of ABC to support the 24-hour education development retreat. A total of 9 teachers worked on their courses, varying from machine learning to dental practice.

Case Study

University of Amsterdam ABC LD workshop

Most UvA Teachers have ideas on how to change their courses, but cannot find the time to translate these ideas to practical application trough course change and design of course materials. To facilitate these teachers UvA TLC experiments with the 24-hour education development retreat. Teachers are invited to leave their regular workspace behind and take 24 hours to change their education. The ABC-workshop formed an important part of this initiative.

Interesting about this specific event is that teachers worked mostly individually. The timeline was filled by individual teachers, and the results were discussed in the group. 

Context of change

The use of the ABC-workshop was suggested by the UvA teaching and Learning Centre, who represents ABC to VLE, and also organized the retreat.

ABC workshop plan

The workshop was given by Egbert Neels, educationalist for UvA TLC and was supported by Mariska Min-Leliveld, also an educationalist and director of the TLC. The whole programme took about two hours. This was 30 minutes more than we’ve anticipated.

Opposed to the earlier use of ABC within UvA, teachers did not form teams. The worked individually on their course design, and results were shared with the group.

ABC design

University of Amsterdam ABC LD workshopThe design of the workshop was fairly standard. Teachers engaged in curriculum delopment trough 3 steps, the spider graph, the planning with the front side of the cards and selection of learning activities on the backside.

Because the workshop was part of a larger programme the participants already had some ideas on their course design. In the hours before the course they thought about current issues in their courses and how to address these issues. The workshop was a valuable next step to translate their findings in course planning and concrete learning activities.


What was actually done

After the workshop was explained to the participants the engaged in formulating their tweets and filling in their spider graphs. Doing so they were supported by the trainers, who guided them through the process. Like in many workshops, the participants needed some help in ‘putting their pens on the paper’ and not doubting to much about the amount of learning activities in their predesign.

The group shared their first results and continued planning their courses, and choosing the learning activities. During the process they were supported by the trainers. This resulted in some interesting discussions. Because the group consisted of teachers in different stages of their educational design process the assessment-step was only used by some of the participants. The individual results were discussed plenary.

This plenary discussion was very interesting, and provided all the participants valuable insights in each other’s work. Because of the in-depth discussion this step took 30 minutes longer than expected. Because of the facilities, and the large number of participants in a small room space was an issue. We put two sheets on the window, as can be seen on the pictures.

What support was required/provided

The workshop was organized by the TLC, who has experience in organizing this workshop. No special

Impact and evaluation

We have only recently used the workshop in this session. The workshop resulted in happy teachers, who really got new insights in redesigning their courses. They valued the workshop itself, and the fact that they could take all the materials. Because of the short time between the workshop and this case study there are no insights in further impact on the courses of the participants.

“The workshop provided me with the idea that my course is perfectly suited for hackathons!”

“Can I take some extra cards?!]”(x9)

Successes and lessons learnt

The workshop worked really well as a follow op for the activities earlier in the programme. It provided a good opportunity to translate the ‘big questions’ about what should be better about your course into practical decisions.

Because of the different backgrounds of the teachers they were not able to work together on a sheet. This resulted in two lessons learned: Individual planning takes a lot of extra space, and discussion of individual result takes more time.

Scalability and transferability

The described use of the workshop is perfectly suited for further use within and outside the organization, the lessons learned taken into account. The workshop will be a part of our next 24-hour initiative.

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