Rethinking online learning design to enhance the experiences of Indigenous higher education students


  • Alison Kay Reedy Universidad de los Andes, Colombia;and Charles Darwin University, Australia.



Education design research, equity, Indigenous education, yarning, higher education, online learning


The educational inequity that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced in higher education in Australia is replicated in virtual learning spaces, with generic models of online learning design taking little account of cultural factors that impact on learning. To counter this, new approaches to online learning design are needed that consider the experiences of Indigenous people. This article explores culture as a critical element of online learning design that enhances the learning experiences and outcomes of Indigenous people. The study reported in this article was conducted at a regional Australian university and was methodologically situated within an educational design research framework. Data were collected through the narrative method of yarning with 19 Indigenous students enrolled in a range of disciplines. From the data, 10 themes were developed, which guided the design of a learning design model and six preliminary design principles. The study contributes to the gap in the literature on learning design for Indigenous online higher education students. As the model and preliminary design principles are culturally situated at the site of the study, they need testing by educational designers and academics to ascertain their usefulness in other contexts.


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How to Cite

Reedy, A. K. (2019). Rethinking online learning design to enhance the experiences of Indigenous higher education students. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(6), 132–149.



Special Issue 2019 - Digital Equity