Using learning design to meet the ongoing needs of young prescribers

Karen Baskett, Gosia Mendrela, Heather Petrie & Meg Stuart

Curriculum and Training

National Prescribing Service

Prescribers see many patients in a day. How do they become confident in prescribing the right drug for each patient? The National Prescribing Curriculum (NPC) is a series of case-based modules which mirror the decision-making process outlined in the World Health Organization Guide to Good Prescribing. The modules are currently used by all Australian medical schools for final year students. The Curriculum and Training team at the National Prescribing Service (NPS) have been re-designing the NPC using LAMS software for the past year and are currently piloting 4 modules with over 100 undergraduate medical students. We aim to offer the complete suite of modules in the new format by February 2009.

The emphasis in the National Prescribing Curriculum is on learners building their own personal formulary of preferred drugs for specific conditions enabling them to prescribe confidently and rationally. NPS contracted LAMS International to create three new tools: the Drug Treatment tool, My Formulary and Write Prescription tool. As most learners access the NPC modules in a self-paced mode, the original aim in using LAMS was to provide a more learner-centred curriculum with increased feedback from both peers and experts. The updated modules are situated in real life learning environments, with relevant and authentic tasks. Learners are provided with access to independent, evidence-based resources. Early evaluation results from the current pilot indicate that students find the added levels of feedback very useful.

Currently the template for each module is for self-paced delivery but the ease in which LAMS can be modified means we can also offer templates for delivery in other formats (for example tutorial or Problem Based Learning). With minor modifications, the modules will also be suitable for pharmacy and other health professional students and we are currently consulting pharmacy education experts in regards to adaption of the existing modules.

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A "pedagogy-first" approach to teaching learning design

Matt Bower

School of Education

Macquarie University

This paper recounts a critical classroom experience that occurred when teaching technology-based learning design to trainee teachers, and discusses the implications of the incident for teaching and learning. Observations are drawn from the subject “EDUC261 – Information and Communication Technologies and Education”, which is an optional second year course available to trainee primary and secondary teachers at Macquarie University. On the basis of the observations it is conjectured that adopting a ‘pedagogy-first’ approach to learning design allows teachers to more easily select appropriate technologies from a suite of learning tools (such as LAMS) and sequence them more sensibly than when a ‘technology first’ approach is adopted. As well, it is contended that by considering the nexus between pedagogy and technologies under the pedagogy-first approach students are better able to appreciate relationship between educational principles and their implementation. Other implications of the approach are discussed and possible extensions are proposed.

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Implementing effective Learning Designs:

An overview of an ALTC Competitive Grants Program project

Leanne Cameron

Macquarie University

Learning design for the higher education environment is a complex task, especially in light of the increasing diversity of the student body. Learning materials need to be designed to take advantage of different student ability levels, learning approaches & media, and curriculum developed to support a huge variety of outcomes that are often discipline specific. Learning design is a professional activity for which many of our academic staff is not trained.  In the project outlined in this paper we will implement a learning activity planning tool that will provide comprehensive guidance for academics that will assist them in the development of inspiring learning design examples and supportive activities. The project team will initially explore the issues to emerge from the implementation of learning designs and identify barriers to their widespread adoption and ways of overcoming them. These findings will then underpin the implementation of a learning activity planning tool that addresses these adoption challenges in its design and streamlines the planning process. We will then develop a tool which can be used by academic staff to tailor these exemplary examples to meet the individual lecturer’s and/or course co-ordinator’s particular requirements, whilst providing them with the underlying pedagogical principals involved in the learning design.

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Renewing the curriculum to more effectively accommodate clinical rotation: 

An overview of an ALTC Priority Program project

Leanne Cameron & James Dalziel

Macquarie University

Browen Dalziel

University of Western Sydney

Traditional medical curriculum approaches to clerkship involve all students returning to campus one or two days a week for lectures – however, this approach is poorly suited to modern hospital rotation practices (in which different student groups attend different hospital specialties, e.g. oncology or paediatrics) and most importantly, all students attend the same lecture on the designated weekly topic, rather than individually focusing their study on topic areas relevant to their particular hospital experiences. The project seeks to renew the curriculum and teaching methods of the crucial latter years of medical training through a flexibly delivered, student-centred approach based on innovative technologies.  This paper outlines the scope of the project and the presentation will discuss its progress to date.

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The use and usefulness of non-assessed online learning: Tracking students’ behaviour on LAMS

Eva Dobozy

School of Education

Edith Cowan University, WA Australia


Recent reviews of active and participatory learning design are critical of the effectiveness of such strategies, pointing out that students’ participation levels in technology-mediated discussion tasks are generally low. In addition, they note that when students are made to participate, through the attachment of assignment points to participation in online discussions, students become skilled in taking full advantage of the assignment points, without necessarily engaging in deep learning. These reviews point to a disturbing trend in student engagement that needs urgent attention. Does student effort or the lack of it pose an inherent problem for the design of online discussion tasks? Is there a need to factor in students’ ambivalence towards online communicative collaboration when designing LAMS learning tasks? In this paper, I document the use and usefulness of non-assessed discussion forum learning design, discussing the meaning of student content engagement and its relationship to deep learning before reporting preliminary research results that sought to investigate current student engagement with non-assessed learning tasks. My findings illustrate the importance of reassessing current conceptualisation of learning and assessment tasks as a linear progression. Moreover, I conclude that it is counter-productive to ‘make students collaborate’ through the simple attachment of assignment points to tasks, because it rewards compliance rather than learning.

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Using LAMS to foster discussion and reflection in a pharmacology unit for undergraduate nurses

Jed Duff

School of Nursing

The University of Notre Dame, Australia

Karen Baskett

Curriculum and Training

National Prescribing Service

Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) means selecting management options wisely; choosing suitable medicines if a medicine is considered necessary; and using medicines safely and effectively. Even though QUM has been a key component of the National Medicines Policy since 2000, there is much concern that it is not widely known or understood by nurses, one of the professional groups responsible for its implementation. Several challenges exist for nurse educators in incorporating QUM into the nursing curriculum including insufficient time allocated to teaching pharmacology and incompatible teaching pedagogies, namely asking students to memorise long lists of drugs, rather than allowing them to develop a framework of QUM principles that would facilitate life-long learning.

In attempting to overcome these challenges, the University collaborated with the National Prescribing Service to adapt their online QUM module for use with undergraduate nursing students. Using a LAMS/Moodle server allowed the design, management and delivery of a highly interactive, collaborative and reflective learning environment. The module used vignettes; forums; discussions; and student reflection to foster an environment that promotes concept construction rather than the achievement of a discreet set of knowledge or skills. In modifying the assessment strategy for this particular project, student authoring strategies were utilised. Student evaluation showed learners benefitted greatly from exposure to their peers’ ideas and to multiple perspectives in general.

The online environment is not without its challenges but with planning, can be a useful adjunct for the teaching of Quality Use of Medicine.

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Adding external tools to LAMS

Luke Foxton

Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence, Australia

In this presentation we will demonstrate how LAMS can use external LMS and Internet tools to its set of activities. A LAMS author can now create LAMS sequences using not only LAMS tools but also LMS tools from Moodle, .LRN and Sakai. Other online tools such as Dimdim (conferencing) and Google Maps will also be presented. Biographical notes

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The FLEXO Project: Implementing adaptive learning in LAMS

Ernie Ghiglione

Program Manager

Macquarie E-Learning Centre Of Excellence

The FLEXO Project is a Spanish government funded project that plans to implement a platform for adaptive learning. The project aims to design a conceptual model for personalized learning and implement it in their open source platforms: LAMS, Moodle and .LRN. LAMS is part of this project along with five leading Spanish universities, three Corporations and 2 non-governmental organizations. The FLEXO project has a budget of over 7 million euros over the next four years.

The presentation will outline the scope of the project, the initial work on the conceptual model for adaptive learning and its implementation focusing in LAMS.

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Web 2.0 supported collaborative learning activities:

Towards an affordance perspective

Andreas Kuswara &  Andrew Cram

School of Education

Macquarie University

Debbie Richards

Department of Computing

Macquarie University

Web 2.0 provides social software that is intuitively appealing for supporting collaborative learning. However, as revealed in our pilot case study, simply making Web 2.0 tools available or even mandating their usage does not guarantee that students will use the tools for collaborative learning. Even the use of a framework such as Activity Theory to guide the design of the unit did not ensure collaborative learning mediated by the technology. We propose that an affordances perspective may offer the guidance needed.

Keywords: affordance, Web 2.0, collaborative learning, activity theory, learning design.

Biographical notes

Andreas is currently a PhD student at the School of Education, Macquarie University. He started to get involved with educational technology as practicing teacher at Bina Nusantara University, Indonesia. The practical experience sparked great interest in investigating how technology, in particular web based tools, can be better used in formal education setting. Educated as engineer, and raised as a consultant, you can now find him in FaceBook as web 2.0 net-citizen.

Andrew is a PhD student at the School of Education, Macquarie University. His interest in using information systems technology to support learning stems from his work with an online mathematics learning system, where he contributed to learning design, usability and accessibility. He is currently applying activity theory and the idea of affordances within research that uses virtual environments to simulate social situations that involve difficult problems such as ethical dilemmas.

Debbie is an Associate Professor in the Computing Department at Macquarie University. She is a strong believer in collaborative learning, team-work and project-based learning and in encouraging students to build computer systems that people can and want to use. Ever since first reading “The Design of Everyday Things” she had stressed to her students the importance of affordances and matching user tasks, mental models and other human factors with the system design and laying the burden on the designer to ensure the user doesn’t feel like a dummy.

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A Digitised Learning Environment for Māori Immersion Education in New Zealand

Robin Ohia & Eddie Reisch

E-Learning Division, New Zealand Ministry of Education

The aim of a Digitised Learning Environment for Māori Immersion Education is to provide access to digital resources and learning activities for teachers and students within bilingual educational settings. The Digitised Learning Environment aims to allow discovery, access and use of resources for research and learning irrespective of their location through the provision of integrated systems.

The Environment consists of three systems to contribute to learning activities within the primary sector of Māori Immersion Education in New Zealand.

The Digitised Learning Environment for Māori Immersion Education project began with the Internationalisation of LAMS version 1.1 and consequently the completion of the LAMS user interface version 2.1.(LAMS Bilingual Interface), suitable for use within Māori Immersion Educational settings.

Upon the completion of the LAMS bilingual interface the project then progressed to a “proof of concept” trial phase including the introduction of the LAMS Bilingual Interface to teachers, the inclusion of learning design within all online and offline learning activities to support students’ achievement and the development of online learning content to support the learning. The “proof of concept” trial phase currently includes several Māori Immersion schools within the primary sector from the lower North Island of New Zealand.

The use of learning design within all learning activities both online and offline supports the notion of a blended learning environment which, in this instance refers to the process of teachers and students using technologies to support traditional learning within Māori Immersion Educational settings.

In parallel to the LAMS development, the second system of choice MOODLE is currently being developed for Māori Immersion Education as a repository of learning to support teachers, learning designers, course writers and students at all levels. At this stage the end user content, the creation of repositories and support for teachers, designers and writers has been the focus.

The third contributing system of the environment is ADOBE CONNECT. Its implementation within the environment is to provide teachers with the opportunity to create localised learning content using Microsoft PowerPoint which is then packaged as flash/SWF files for distribution via the internet. Adobe Connect will also be used as an online training tool for teachers pertaining to all aspects of the learning environment.

The Digitised Learning Environment for Māori Immersion Education project is supported by the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. The National Virtual Learning Network (VLN) http://www.virtuallearning.school.nz will play a role in supporting Māori Immersion Education as well as developing a model for main stream education in using LAMS. The VLN now connects hundreds of teachers and students across NZ. It provides access, support, professional development and a strong sense of connection to many staff, principals and communities.


The Digitised Learning Environment for Māori Immersion Education project through the use of integrated systems and rich mixed mode media learning content both online and offline, will help teachers construct new ideas leading to improved student engagement and motivation and therefore student learning outcomes.

Both Eddie and I look forward to the opportunity to answer any questions on the ways that Māori Immersion Education is being developed and the way that the VLN is being used for learners across New Zealand.

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The GESCHN On-Line Paediatric JMO Orientation Program

Arjun S Rao, Richard J Thode & Jonny Taitz

Greater Eastern & Southern Child Health Network

The Junior Medical Officer (JMO) Education Program Project, which began in September 2006, is responsible for developing a new orientation and training program for paediatric JMOs in the Greater Eastern & Southern Child Health Network (GESCHN) with an emphasis on the use of technology and the Internet.   While the focus of the project is paediatric orientation, there has also been development of resources to assist GESCHN paediatric basic trainees in their preparation for the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) examinations.   The Project Officers have also been involved in feedback and implementation of the Clinical Excellence Commission interactive Paediatric Emergency Modules.

In March 2008, five web-based "common orientation modules" were delivered.  These offered a standardised level of basic paediatric orientation to all JMOs in all hospitals within the Network.

An anonymous baseline questionnaire conducted in JMO Term 1 of 2008 provided a general picture of existing paediatric orientation practices in an initial sample of GESCHN hospitals. The remainder of Network hospitals offering paediatric rotations were baseline surveyed in Term 2. We provide an Interim Project Report based on the findings from the initial survey. A final report will follow upon completion of the surveys in all GESCHN hospitals.

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Applying Learning Design concepts to problem-based learning

Debbie Richards

Department of Computing

Macquarie University

Leanne Cameron

Macquarie E-Learning Centre of Excellence

Macquarie University

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) seeks to produce learners who not only remember the theory, they know how and when to apply it. However, providing a problem to a group of students is not a guarantee that they will be able to solve it. Even more uncertain is whether the solution the students offer and the journey they undertook to arrive at it resulted in them learning the intended underlying concepts and theories. As students become increasingly time poor, they are less inclined towards a learning approach which requires them to be self-directed and motivated. This paper reports on a learning design which seeks to scaffold and accelerate the PBL process by providing a balance of facts and concepts to be remembered and tested via an online quiz, followed by an activity-based tutorial session that focussed on the application of those concepts to new problems in conjunction with the use of resource material and memory aids.

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Realization of the LAMS WZiEU Project

Adam Stecyk &  Marcin Chojnowski

Faculty of Management and Economics of Services

University of Szczecin

The paper describes a LAMS implementation in the Department of Management and Economics of Services at the University of Szczecin. The main aim of this article is to present a brief summary of the realization of the second stage of the LAMS WZiEU Project which explores the didactic, methodological and technical aspects of designing and creating e-courses. It shows the process of designing and creating two new e-courses: History of Economic Thought (e-learning course) and Strategic Management (blended learning course). There was the choice of e-learning techniques and mechanisms are discussed as well as the range of technical work. The presented model describes the flow of work and task allocation that was necessary to realize the e-courses. The paper also presents some information about new the directions of evolution of the LAMS WZiEU Project concerning synchronous learning techniques and integration with Moodle.

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A unified asset development strategy – a case of a business school

Sarah Teo & Peggy Pang

Learning Design


For the past decade, many educational institutions have adopted the use of online learning. The level of adoption ranges from delivering a portion of single subject content to conducting a whole subject in a program.  A small number of institutions of higher learning have adopted a completely online approach. Established in 2001, U21Global provides a completely online learning environment for students taking post-graduate programs in its business school.  Development of online multi-media content is a lengthy and expensive process. A large repository of content has been developed over the past 5 years. These content are not only used often for different classes of students but are also re-used to develop new programs. Careful planning and painstaking effort to ensure reusability of the content for multi-uses and multi-users since the beginning of product development is bearing fruit.  The content designed for the learners in award programs are now finding ways into customised programs for other groups of learners.  This paper shares with readers the story behind the success of asset development and usage using a unified approach. Of particular emphasis is the upstream strategizing stage before embarking on asset development. This paper will also share with the readers some best practices that provide fruits from initial discipline and direction taken five years ago. 

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Using LAMS for collaborative learning - Case research and exchange of opinions on crimes committed through computer networks

Tomiya Yamazumi

Department of Information and Media Studies

Nagoya Bunri University

Satoru Yoshida

Data Pacific (Japan) Ltd

In this study, collaborative learning was conducted over 3 weeks among 10 students in second year who take “basic seminar course” at Nagoya Bunri University, Department of Information and Media Studies.

The purpose of using LAMS was to research and discuss on crimes recently occurred committed through computer networks. In each seminar, theme relating to unsolved problems was adopted, which no prevention measure or legal system is established for.

First, each student individually learned these problems through Internet browser. Next, they shared results of their survey (contents, related URL etc.) through forum on LAMS, and then exchanged their opinions. Thus, utilized LAMS as a tool for students to collaboratively quest for conclusion on problems that have no definite answer.

In this study, all students worked together on each activity at the same time. Gates were allocated after every activities and teacher controlled the sequence flow. Depending on the number of students (in case of larger number), it may possible to allow students to freely go on to the next step. During chat activity, teacher also made remarks, and posed a question when the discussion stacked or got off the theme.

After the first practice using LAMS, 90% of the students had a positive impression on LAMS in terms of usability, interest, and comprehension. This study shows that LAMS could be a friendly learning tool in Japan for students with basic information literacy. Collaborative learning combined with browsing could obtain educational effect, because network environment has been well facilitated. In the future, studies on the usage of LAMS under a variety of circumstances are desired.

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WikiEducator, Taking the FOSS movement to a new stratum

Minhaaj ur Rehman

Educational and Training Consultant

Lahore, Pakistan

Open Source movement has grown rapidly in the past two decades. Richard Stallman’s inception of Free Software Foundation in the 80’s had paved the way for the development and creation of free software and content online for collaborative development for generations to come. WikiEducator is a project that has promised to take the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) movement forward with a goal to create open educational content by 2015. To date it has conducted numerous workshops all around the world to promote ICT and FOSS. This presentation reviews the achievements and challenges for this ground breaking project..

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LAMS and related projects in NSW schools

Debbie Evans
Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre

LAMS has become an integral part of many aspects of Macquarie ICT Innovation Centre in developing, implementing and evaluating innovative ways of enhancing learning through the application of dynamic and emerging information and communication technologies. Once again this year, the Centre has been collaborating with supporting the work of school leaders and teachers in addressing the quality of ICT teaching and learning in NSW public schools. This presentation will overview the work currently being done and the key impacts it is making on teaching practice.

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Strategies for developing sustainable virtual communities for design

Gráinne Conole & Juliette Culver
The Open University, United Kingdom

How do teachers get new ideas? What mechanisms do they use to share practice? How might social networking tools and web 2.0 approaches be harnessed to create dynamic, evolving and sustainable virtual communities – where teachers can share and discuss learning and teaching ideas and designs? These are some of the key challenges being addressed in the development of a social networking site for Learning Designs, Cloudworks (Cloudworks.open.ac.uk). The presentation will report on progress to date, it will articulate what we hope to achieve and give an overview of the vision underpinning the development of the site. The first version of the site consisted of ‘social objects’, the key type being ‘clouds’, which are essentially ideas or Learning Designs. Currently technical developments are focusing on the development of community ‘cloudscapes’, which enable users to create dynamic communities of social objects specific to a particular community need or built around a particular event. The presentation will focus in particular on the relevance of Cloudworks for the LAMS community. This work is part of the Open University Learning Design Initiative (ouldi.open.ac.uk), which is developing a set of tools, resources and approaches to Learning Designs, which aim to help teachers make better use of new technologies.

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The problems of online collaboration for junior high school students: Can the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) benefit students to learn via online learning?

Susanna Mann
University of Sydney, Australia

This presentation identifies the problems incurred in online collaboration with high school students. The major problem is that the mentality of high school students using online collaboration is similar to casual chatting on ‘MSN’, which is used more for socializing than learning. This problem is particularly significant with junior high school students. The findings from the two focus group discussions (with two groups of junior high school students) show that there are many problems using online collaboration when students performed a learning activity. This paper attempts to point out that the live monitoring facility in the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) may provide the solution to help students to learn via online learning.

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LAMS and the Personal Project - International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program

Jarrod Johnson & Peter Cheel
Pedare Christian College

Students undertaking the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program must complete a Personal Project which requires: a product; a progress journal and a piece of Reflective Writing. The LAMS program assists students to complete their 2,000-4,000 word Reflective Writing by scaffolding their research and providing essay structure. It is suggested to the students that they have regular formal meetings with Supervisors, but with time constraints this can be difficult. The LAMS system allows the Supervisors or Parents to log on and track the students’ progress at their convenience. This process also enables the Personal Project Coordinator to immediately identify students or Supervisors that need to have follow up interviews or extra support. A total of 346 learners, supervisors and technical support staff were successfully involved in this program. With adaptation, this format could also be successfully implemented for students undertaking their Honours or Masters Degree.

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LAMS and a forensics online course for secondary students

Jarrod Johnson & Peter Cheel
Pedare Christian College

Pedare Christian College students have the opportunity to undertake two forensic courses, each running for a Semester as part of their Year 11 subject load. However, as in all schools, there is often a clash between subjects and a number of students miss out. The LAMS online Forensics class was developed to allow students to complete all of the modules of the course without needing to attend a single lesson. Students come to two workshop days in the holidays to do their practical work, the rest is done on LAMS. This includes videos, websites, recorded lectures, Interactive Whiteboard notes, offline activities, forums, collaborative group work and eventually testing. This year only students from Pedare were eligible to participate in the online course, but we are moving to include students from sister schools next semester and eventually allow students from any school in the state to undertake the course as part of the SACE (or Future SACE). The possibilities for this technology to be extended to other subjects is an obvious potential and this could also open up subject choices for rural and remote regions. Additionally, schools could offer courses in a specialised subject (eg. Paleantology, Geology, Viticulture) and increase their income from external students.

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Using an LMS as a resource repository for high school students

Kim Mahoney
The Hills Grammar School, Australia

With the phenomenal growth of information, increased student diversity, new learning theories and ready access to the internet, today’s teachers are being presented with an opportunity to transform the learning in their classrooms from a traditional transmission model to a student-centred model. Clearly, to prepare our students to live productive lives in an ever-changing society, we need to equip them with the skills to become more responsible for their own learning. Using a Learning Management System such as MOODLE offers a variety of means to assist in the skilling of students to become independent learners. In the scenario to be presented, a Year 8 Mandatory Technology unit has been designed using MOODLE to achieve the outcome of developing independent learners. In this example the Teacher’s role initially is to teach the students skills in using several specific software applications. The students are then set a project using the software they have just learnt. MOODLE contains all of the course documentation used as well as specific 2-3 minute tutorials, created using the software “Captivate”, which demonstrates the previously taught skills. MOODLE is used as a resource repository – when the students have specific questions relating to the software they are using, they first review the relevant tutorial and then if they still require assistance, the teacher is available to help.

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Engaging Gen Y through GLP, volunteering & LAMS

Ana Ruiz & Bec Forrester
Macquarie International, Australia

Leanne Cameron
MELCOE, Australia

Macquarie University’s International Office (MQI) is using LAMS to overcome some challenges they encountered in two inter-disciplinary programs they are running: the Global Leadership and the International Volunteer Program. MQI staff wanted students to have a basic knowledge of the countries, culture and people they were visiting, and arrive there with an already established sense of community. This initially proved difficult as the students enrolled in the inter-disciplinary programs were in different locations with unrelated schedules and varying time commitments. The staff at MQI settled on an e-learning solution that utilised the features we know these Gen Y students enjoy: Flexibility; connectivity; interactivity; collaboration; authentic experiences; extension opportunities and resource production.

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Teacher Education Student Sequences

Various UTS and Macquarie Students

UTS and Macquarie students will share their Learning Design principles using own LAMS sequences as examples. This session will build on the "Learners as designers" keynote.

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Learning Designs: Helping teachers to think about learning.

Ron Oliver
Edith Cowan University, Australia

Teaching is a process that everyone understands. It typically involves an expert (teacher) and some novices (students) and a process by the knowledge of the teacher is passed to the students. What is not well understood by many teachers is the best way they can help students to learn this knowledge. Learning Designs provide a conduit to help teachers think about learning. This presentation will discuss the outcomes from several projects exploring Learning Designs and will demonstrate how they have helped teachers to better understand the needs of learners.

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