Design for Digital Learning

Pedagogical approaches to design your online module and course

Policy Documents

At Coventry, distance learning has been implemented for a few years and it is now part of its strategy.

Relevant Policy and Resources

Digital Pedagogy

Digital tools are important in the process of teaching online but pedagogy is still the key element.

What is Digital Pedagogy?


This resource provides support for designing digital first learning, including blended and learning online.

Goals of this Resource

Theories of Design for Learning

Model based on Diana’s Laurillard approach:
Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology

Moving activities online (UCL)

Learning through Acquisiton

Making resources available and presenting information forms part of most active learning designs. This might include accessing information through printed materials or the web, watching videos or demonstrations or attending lectures. Learning technologies can be used to enhance these by improving quality, combining different media, enabling student engagement and by making the process of acquisition more active for the learner. 


Learning through Inquiry

Central to an inquiry-based approach is that students undertake a task – generating and testing their own ideas. The learning process, rather than the product is as important and so ensuring support as students work on the task and that they have access to appropriate resources will be important. Inquiry based projects can be designed to run over different time lengths – day through to several weeks.


Learning through Discussion

Challenging learners to articulate their own thoughts have them challenged and work toward resolution is the basis of learning through discussion. It can take many class based forms, seminar, tutorial, small-group, buzz group, activity sets etc. The use of learning technologies provides additional affordances for use of discussion as pedagogy, with the possibility of it being asynchronous as well as synchronous.


Learning through Practice

Learning through practice provides a goal-oriented action with meaningful feedback and revision (Laurillard, 2012: 164). Also referred to as ‘learning by doing’, this might involve activities in practical classes or in non-contact time. Learning through practice can be broadly categorised into analysis, application and simulation.


Learning trhough Collaboration

Collaboration is a shared endeavour with a common purpose for the group as a whole. It places the emphasis on social learning as opposed to cooperative learning, which emphasises individual learning in a group context. In both cooperative and collaborative learning the goal is a common output for the group (Laurillard, 2012). Learning technologies can be used to provide variety in the final product or output of the collaborative activity. 

Additional Information 

Other Resources