Information Services

ABC Learning Design Workshop

ABC workshops use the ABC Learning Design method to support academic teams in the design of short online courses.

The ABC Learning Design method enables you to create a storyboard for a short online course in a hands-on, collaborative workshop of around 90 minutes.

To respond to the need for learning design services to be made available remotely, we have moved the workshop online. It is based on the face-to-face workshop, originally developed at UCL by Clive Young and Nataša Perović, and takes place within Microsoft Teams.


Online learning

Completing an ABC workshop enables the course design team to:

  • Collaborate on the course design and share ideas with colleagues.
  • Understand the learner's journey through the course.
  • Consider the balance of learning types within the course, using a theoretical framework for learning design*.
  • Discuss different options for engaging learners in online activities, that go beyond acquisition.
  • Use a shared terminology and proven method to help design the course.

* based on Diana Laurillard's Conversational Framework.

Preparing for an ABC workshop

Before the workshop, you will need three to five learning outcomes for your course, and a small team of academic colleagues, usually two or three, although this may vary depending on the scope of your project. We can provide support for setting up and facilitating a workshop. See our Writing Learning Outcomes guidance for more information.

In the workshop

You will complete a five-minute prep activity (a Tweet-sized tagline for your course using the learning outcomes), then spend the rest of the time mapping out the content using Microsoft Planner as an interactive storyboard. You will work with your team, with Instructional Design support, to create learning sequences of activities using the six learning types. The end result will be a plan that you can use during the development of your course, to remind you of key decisions made during the learning design process.

Learning types

The ABC Learning Design method is based on the six learning types, developed by Professor Diana Laurillard. It offers an intuitive way for academic colleagues and subject matter experts to design a learner journey in a clear, innovative and collaborative way.

Designing a course using small 'chunks' of content helps online learners to stay engaged and makes the content development process straightforward and efficient for everyone involved.

Select the 'i' icon for a definition and examples  of activities for each learning type. You can also view and download Learning Types - Definition and Examples.

By the end of the workshop, you will have planned out your course content, by section, topic or week; noted details of content and activities; identified any media to be produced; noted where assessed activities will take place.

This approach to course design also has many benefits to online learners:

  • Reduces information overload and facilitates recall.
  • Helps learners to grasp new ideas and steadily build on skills.
  • Offers opportunities for learners to reflect, problem solve, and discuss ideas.
  • Helps learners to feel challenged and motivated to learn.
  • Creates a positive learner experience on any device.


After the workshop

When the ABC workshop is complete, you will have a plan for moving to the course development stage of the process. We will provide content templates, mapped to the learning design, which will simplify the development of your content and help you to stay on track while writing.

These templates contain useful guidance on how to approach writing for online learning, develop media scripts, and word count limits, which will help reduce the amount of rework required during the copyediting process.

We can support you with all aspects of your course design and development, from project document set-up and copyediting to building final content on the platform.

Contact us to find out how we can support you