Answers to some of your questions

What do learning designers do?

Learning designers work with people who want to have courses built, either in person or online. On any design project we bring expertise in education, the subject matter expert (SME) brings expertise in the topic, and together we work in partnership to create the learning experience. One way we can provide expertise is in crafting learning outcomes, developing interactive learning activities and assessments, and making sure they all align with each other. We know how to design great learning experiences in all modes and guide SMEs along the way.

We prefer to use “learning designer” instead of “instructional designer” because it’s more learner-centred. We place learners at the heart of our learning design process.

What topics can you design courses in?

We can design courses in any topic because we usually work in partnership with a subject matter expert (SME) who is familiar with the topic. We put ourselves in the shoes of the learner, asking clarifying questions of the SME so that we can create course materials and activities which are very understandable, meaningful, and relevant to learners.

What type of online learning do you create?

We have created courses in all modes of online learning: virtual, on demand e-learning, asynchronous online facilitated, and blended modes. Our learning design page gives you examples which will give you more information about the different modes. Of course we design in person learning experiences as well.

How do I know how much it will cost me to have you design a course?
Since every learning design project is so different, I usually have a conversation or meeting with the client first to determine your goals for the project. Then I will write a comprehensive proposal to put it all in writing, capturing project timelines, process and deliverables and proposing a budget. My proposals also include a short bio and recent examples of similar projects that I have worked on. I find that my clients are usually very appreciative of receiving a proposal and it helps us all clarify the goals and intentions of the project, as well as all our roles and responsibilities, early on.
What age or demographics do you design learning for?

Much of our work involves designing for and facilitating with adults, although we have worked on facilitation, consulting, and learning design projects related to youth education as well. We place a high priority on inclusive design and facilitation practices, which we bring into both our facilitation and learning design work for clients.

What is your learning design process?

We tend to use an ADDIE design process which has phases for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. The design and development phases often have elements of rapid prototyping (another design process) in them as we iterate the course based on feedback.

To start off, after our project proposal is accepted we usually schedule a kick-off meeting, during which we discuss Analysis phase pieces such as the purpose of the course, who the learners are, anticipated mode of the course, etc. In the Design phase we put together a design blueprint which is a high level document that outlines our learning approach, topics and possible activities. Next usually comes a more detailed design storyboard (for e-learning courses) or a comprehensive lesson plan (for other online and in person modes).

For online courses, in the Development phase we take our design storyboard and develop it in the online platform or tool that has been chosen for the course. In the Implementation phase we prefer to pilot the course with a small group of learners (and make changes to it based on their feedback) before rolling the course out more widely to more learners. We include Evaluation phase pieces when asking for pilot feedback and incorporating a course evaluation.

What are some of your beliefs about design and facilitation?

Well, each of us on the BCB team likely have personal teaching and learning philosophies, but generally as a group we believe in thinking deeply about how people learn and in intentionally crafting experiences to help them do that in the best way possible. We believe that learners learn better when their learning is interesting and related to things they already know. We believe that people learn better together; it may not always be “easier”, but it will be richer. We believe that when we facilitate learning we are “guides” in supporting participants’ learning. We believe that making time for thinking and reflection is an important part of both teaching and learning. These are just some of the things we believe.

What geographical location do you do work in?
While most of my facilitation work in person does tend to be in Greater Victoria, I am available for occasional travel to other locales for facilitation work. For learning design projects I am able to work with anyone in any city, province or country because of the nature of the work. I consistently use tools like Zoom, Skype, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Drive and more to collaborate with others on course design projects. Sometimes even the phone! ?
Where do you get your inspiration for your learning design projects?

Each of us on the team believes strongly in keeping up in the field and continuing our own learning. (This is a never ending process!) We read articles and books, listen to podcasts, and regularly participate in other people’s learning events. We share learning amongst our team members all the time. We also have colleagues in the field with whom we learn and share. Beth leads/co-leads two communities of practice that are related to facilitation, and is constantly learning with and from those particular groups. We also all learn from Beth’s podcast, Facilitating on Purpose. The guests are so inspiring and keep teaching us things about great design and facilitation.

What is your favourite kind of work?

We can’t pick just one! We love working on learning design projects for the various modes of learning, facilitating courses and workshops for clients, and also facilitating meetings such as strategic planning events. We also appreciate being able to support clients with education-related consulting projects.

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