Due to the current situation with COVID-19 we are sharing ways to run Online ABC Learning Design workshops.

ABC Toolkit Part 6 – Online ABC

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Part 5 Online ABC LD (Covid versions)

ABC Toolkit Part 6 - Online ABC

Part 6. Online ABC LD (PDF 9 pages)


Due to social distancing demands, the community cannot run the popular face-to-face ABC LD workshops at the time of writing. However, many institutions wish to continue to use the method. The community has been very active in sharing their experiences. There are three components of ABC LD that are often repurposed for online delivery.

  1. The first is the concept of the learning types. As mentioned above, the learning types framework types has proved a rapid, robust and engaging route into pedagogical discussion and reflection. Even without the complete ABC LD workshop, learning types act as a focus for consideration of existing (face-to-face or blended) teaching and learning activities and what fully online alternatives might be. One example is to use a simple worksheet categorising the six types in terms of ‘conventional’ and digital practices, how they might be implemented in the VLE and some ideas for engaging activities using these tools.
  2. The Tool/App Wheel provides another approach to linking pedagogy and technology, providing a clear visual representation of the toolset available and where it can be used. Although drawing from ABC LD, these are essentially staff development activities.
  3. The collaborative storyboarding is the most challenging component  to replicate online but is also the one that participants usually find the most rewarding. While there is no single tool or approach that meets this requirement, several approaches have been tried by the community. One is to use a shared Microsoft PowerPoint space, as the base version tools (primarily the cards and storyboard) are already in this format. The participants work synchronously in the shared online worksheet and ‘drag and drop’ cards along the timeline. Popular shared ‘whiteboard’ tools such as Padlet, Miro and Microsoft Planner have also been used to provide some of the dynamic interaction of the live workshop. Trello is a card-based online organiser that also shows some promise. UCL is experimenting with Learning Designer a session planning tool from UCL aimed at secondary school teachers but based on the same learning types pedagogical model as ABC LD. While not designed for course-level planning, it produces a useful list of actions. Various members of the ABC LD community, including UCL, have produced Microsoft Excel sheets that can be used to track decisions in ABC LD workshop and produce an action list.

It may be that no single software tool will emerge, but institutions will adopt a variety of tools and workflows according to local licensing availability, context and needs. The project partners continue to evaluate online alternatives and will add these to the Toolkit as they emerge.

Links and resources

Webinar Recording: Running ABC Learning Design Online (May 2020)

Collection of Online ABC resources

Associated ABC to VLE case studies

Helsinki – ABC “Classic” Workshop (includes section on a new online variant)

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