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Keywords e.g. warehousing
Qualification Code e.g. 600/5640/X
Keywords e.g. warehousing
Unit Code e.g. Y/505/4889
Open Awards Unit ID e.g. CBF498
Keywords e.g. warehousing
Open Awards Unit Code e.g. UA33ART12
Open Awards Unit ID e.g. CBF521

Meet the Online Learning Designer


Meet Matthew Jackson (BA Hons, QTS, AFHEA) Open Awards' wonderful online designer.

I know what you are thinking; one of these new fandango job titles; but what does it actually mean, what is it all about and what has design got to do with learning?

Well hopefully, after reading this, it will all become clear.

Traditionally, when we think of formal learning we think of sitting in a room with peers or colleagues and have a subject expert impart their knowledge onto their audience.  This ideas around learning has not fundamentally changed since the days of Socrates, so we are talking well over 2000 years.  That is until the end of the 20th Century and the arrival of multimedia, internet connectivity, the worldwide web and a global pandemic!  The corona virus has accelerated the concept and development of what it is to learn online.  So, with that in mind what do I do?

8.30am I start work with   responding to emails and a look at what I have planned for the day. I notice there is an initial meeting at 11am, with a colleague who has submitted a product request form. This means we are starting to scope out e-Learning product they would like creating.  I then prepare for the meeting by remind myself of all the details requested and double check that I am prepared for the virtual meeting over MS Teams.

11:00am Scoping Meeting - The first meeting with a client is always about setting expectations and finding the purpose of a course and who and what is it for.  Making sure that the specification suitable for its purpose and delivery.  Whether this is online delivery, hybrid or a blended form of delivery is more suitable to the content and what the client is expecting to achieve.  We also need to decide on the practicalities such as timescales, how we can work on the project together and who will be involved.  This is when we appoint a subject expert to write the content of the course. 

1:00pm Subject Content Meeting – I am working on another project which has gone through initial scoping. I have already created a structure and turned the content submitted into a storyboard ready for the interim meeting.  When setting down the structure I consider educational pedagogy, putting the learner at the heart of the learning experience. With consideration of how the learner will be assessed and how I will achieve in engaging the learner to participate. This could involve creating short animated videos or educational games and quizzes based on the information provided by the subject author. Meeting the subject content writer aids clarification of the content submitted and answer any questions around gaps or bridges to create a salient piece of onscreen learning.

3:00pm Sign off Meeting – I have completed content that has been checked by the subject expert and the commissioner of the piece has submitted some suggested changes. This meeting is to agree any final changes and sign off the piece. This is a critical stage of design as we want to ensure that the content is correct but that it is an engaging experience. The commissioner has recommended something that would make the learning experience better. We discuss this and agree the changes, adding time scales.

4:30pm Shop Front – the final task of the day publish a piece of signed-off learning to the shopfront, so that it is available to our customers. Some final checks are required, plus setting up the wording on the shopfront. Then an email is sent to colleagues to let them know the course is “live”.

More about Matthew: As well as working for Open Awards, I am studying for my masters in teaching at higher education after working as an Associate Tutor at Edge Hill University teaching on postgraduate and undergraduate Initial Teacher Training degree courses.  I felt that my 12 years SEN experience in teaching ICT and Computer Science together with 5 years in developing teaching materials for classroom, online and blended learning delivery would be valuable to pass onto the next generation. 


Come and join Matthew for the Online Learning Support Huddle at 3.30pm on Wednesday 14th April 2021.  If you have not been before, this is a chance to have a chat other educational practitioners, pick up tips and generally offer help and support to each other.  So, if you are feeling isolated with what is going on in the world of online learning, click on the link and sign up to the huddle meeting today! 


If you cannot make it to the huddle why not help Matthew by getting involved with his research project.  All you need to do is answer some questions based on your experiences of remote teaching and learning (e-learning / blended learning) before and after the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Go to this link to complete the survey.


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