Identifying the characteristics of support Australian university teachers use in their design work: Implications for the learning design field

  • Shirley Agostinho Associate Professor, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong
  • Lori Lockyer Dean, Graduate Research School University of Technology Sydney
  • Sue Bennett Professor, Head of School, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong
Keywords: Learning design, university teachers, support, teacher design thinking


Quality teaching is a strategic objective for universities; thus, there is an expectation that university teachers design high quality learning experience for their students. The field of learning design has developed over the past 15 years as a way to support teachers in their design work. There has been significant research and development work that has focused on creating support tools to help teachers plan, develop and deliver learning experiences. However, little is known about what supports teachers access and use when they design and overall how teachers undertake their design work. This paper presents the findings from a qualitative study that investigated the types of supports 30 teachers from 16 Australian universities reported using in their design work. Data was collected from semi-structured interviews, and the results show that participants accessed a variety of supports depending on their design need. The kind of support participants accessed in their design work were colleagues, literature, workshops and seminars, conferences, institutional support services, and enrolment in postgraduate study. How participants explained using these supports can be characterised as varied, personalised, dynamic and networked. Based on these results, implications for the learning design field are discussed with recommendations for future research.


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Author Biography

Shirley Agostinho, Associate Professor, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Wollongong
Shirley’s research career focuses on investigating how information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to enhance learning. This began with her PhD, which examined how a Web-based environment can be designed to foster an online learning community for university students, and has evolved and expanded to explore how both teachers and learners (ranging from school to university) use ICT to support learning. Her research is devoted to designing effective learning environments and encompasses the dual perspectives of examining how teachers can be supported to design high quality learning experiences and how learners can support their own learning through the use of ICT. Shirley has expertise in the design, development, implementation, evaluation and research of learning environments supported by the use of information communication technologies. She teaches in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the School of Education.
Special Issue 2018 - Learning Design