This workshop is designed to rapidly produce an outline for a FutureLearn course. Interaction, conversation and productivity are the key ingredients to this workshop, alongside enthusiasm, a bit of creativity and the willingness to explore an alternative route to creating courses.
Workshops take around 3 hours – all the materials are provided below, or we can run them with you.
The workshop is suitable for many types of course and duration. It has been successfully run by FutureLearn for several years, as well as within the partnership. Degree partners, who are producing hundreds of courses, have adapted this workshop towards their own requirements and other partners have taken this workshop and used it in their own way. Sometimes a partner will run the workshop as originally designed – otherwise it is repurposed to fit localised requirements. It was designed to be flexible to accommodate this. We’ve also been using it internally, and with partners as a part of Studio clients' course design and development projects and commissioned courses.
Designing a course can be a difficult process, especially when looking into a blank high-level course outline spreadsheet. This workshop can help ease that process and transform the process of learning design into a rapid development and a productive use of time for project leads, educators and any other people involved in the design and delivery of course(s).
The materials are adapted from ABC (Arena Blended Connected) Curriculum Design, UCL (1) which itself is built upon curriculum design research from the JISC Viewpoints Project (2) and Diana Laurillard’s learning types (3) and Learning Designer tool .
A core feature of the workshop is to arrange different learning types into the shape of the course. As the cards build up they describe and define the resources and learning activities which make up the course. These are derived from Diana Laurillard’s learning types and used across similar tools such as Learning Designer tool (4).
Production enables learners to consolidate their learning by creating real outputs using their current knowledge.
Enable the learner to adapt their actions to the task and use peer feedback and reflection to improve their next action.
Learning through conversation. All steps in a course lead to conversation through commenting and social interaction.
Learners work together to search for understanding, meaning and solutions or to demonstrate their learning by creating something.
Guiding the learner to explore, compare and critique the concepts and ideas being taught.
Learners watch video, listen to audio, review images and diagrams, watch animations and read text or short articles.
All of these cards, when flipped over, have a reverse side which expands on the detail, drives the team to consider:
- What will the learner actually do?
- Define the resource or activity
- Describe the discussion prompt (to provoke conversation)
- The learning time (estimated, usually 5, 10 or 15 minutes)
- If the step contributes towards an assessment
Below is one example, blank, card for a learner Discussion:
During the workshop these are filled out as a part of a conversation with the course team. The simplicity of the workshop means cards can move around, have new ones added / removed as needed. There is a large amount of freedom as designs should start with vague ideas, go through experimentation / trying things out but finally leading to an established overview of a course.
The example is in two stages. Firstly the learning design cards are placed face up. The cards are arranged in a linear form, left to right (or top to bottom) and can be stacked if learning types are combined in a step. Each card can translate to one or more steps on FutureLearn, or they can be a whole activity – a series of steps. But you may end up doing it your way – it’s flexible enough to use it as required.
Cards are placed down, usually flipped over to the detailed side and educators expand each one enough detail to provide an overview of what happens at that stage in the learning. The ‘Learning time’ element helps keep a sense of the size of the course overall, and each part – try to keep it aligned to the original specification.
These cards can be used to build a whole course, or just a part of a course – the example above only shows the design for a single learning activity in FutureLearn, which equates to 5 steps on the platform.
It took about 10-15 minutes to produce this one activity above. A whole course can be storyboarded in 2-3 hours, so the workshop itself is about a half-day for all involved. A credit-bearing Masters programme could be designed in a single day, especially if everyone involved can attend.
Please be aware that this video was made at a Partner Forum where we introduced the concept of the storyboard workshop to project leads and it was slightly different to the version presented here. It is also from three years ago – so may appear a little dated. Plus – running a workshop for around 50 people is quite different to a single course team. We recommend running it for one course at a time and with the core course team. To run the workshop you’ll need one facilitator and one note-taker (to write on the cards and capture the discussion). Ideally these are separate people!
To run your own workshop you'll need the following resources:
FutureLearn Learning Design Storyboard workshop (Sept 2018 – includes leading / facilitation notes on key slides) [PPT version] / [PDF version] / [PDF version w/out notes]
FutureLearn Storyboard Workshop – Course Details and Course Shape (A4 – makes two copies, double sided)
FutureLearn Storyboard Workshop – Learning Types Card (A6 double sided. [updated December 2017])
FutureLearn Storyboard Workshop – Blank Storyboard (A1) Not required – but can be useful to lay out cards.
All of the above can be downloaded in the Google folder below:
Running a workshop
If you run a workshop yourself…please let us know (comment here or email Matt Jenner) so we can hear how it went and make improvements for everyone.
Alternatively we can run a workshop for you
FutureLearn Studio provide production and consultancy services for partners who want to create courses on FutureLearn. This workshop is one of several that FutureLearn Studio can offer you. Find out more here. – for all enquiries please contact Richard Banks.
These materials are an adaptation of UCL’s ABC Curriculum Design and therefore come with the same Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license which they do.
This means you are free to:
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
But you must also do so under the following terms:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
- ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
 ABC (Arena, Blended, Connected) Curriculum Design, Clive Young and Natasa Perovic, UCL https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/abc-ld/
 Viewpoints project, University of Ulster (2008-2013), http://viewpointsproject.blogspot.co.uk/
 Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.
 Learning Designer – Learning design online tool. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/learning-designer/