Information Services

About ELDeR

Details of the developing Edinburgh Learning Design roadmap (ELDeR) at the University of Edinburgh.


Learning Design at the University of Edinburgh

Learning design is the process of designing learning experiences (planning, structuring, sequencing) through facilitated activities that are pedagogically informed, explicit, and make better use of technologies in teaching.

Fiona Hale, adapted from various

Funding was secured in October 2015 from Information Services Group to adapt and develop a framework called CAIeRO into a University of Edinburgh framework for learning design. The framework has been evaluated and adjusted across a series of workshops resulting in the Edinburgh Learning Design Roadmap (ELDeR) process being developed.


The ELDeR Process


ELDeR is a two-day facilitated learning design workshop that is being piloted in schools and colleges across the University [] and is available for programmes and/or courses undergoing development or redesign. ELDeR facilitators are trained at the University from across Information Services, IAD and locally within schools.

ELDeR is team based and collaborative and therefore all workshops must include the academic course team/programme team, IAD, IS-Educational Design and Engagement, IS-Academic Support Librarians, school based learning technologists and colleagues who can act as critical friends. The academic lead for the course/programme must also attend a one-hour Pre-ELDeR discussion about the development/redesign challenges and requirements of their course/programme.

It is strongly recommended that academic teams attend an ELDeR workshop before official validation, where possible. This enables workshop outputs to be implemented as soon as possible in to the validation process, making a tangible connection between the workshop and the course development and implementation.

At the heart of the ELDeR process is the design of student learning experiences, where student feedback and assessment literacies are given top priority and a shared vision of the course/programme is developed between team members. The design and development of learning outcomes, feedback opportunities, and assessment points merge together, forming an iterative process where there is congruence (see McCune & Hounsell, 2005) between all three, rather than one driving the others. By considering what students should be able to do by the end of the course and how they will know that they are getting there, a foundation is set for authentic assessment that aligns with learning outcomes.

Reference: McCune, V. and Hounsell, D., 2005. The development of students’ ways of thinking and practising in three final-year biology courses. Higher Education,49(3), pp.255-289.


[The workshop] was very well directed and helped us improve our course design elements immensely. We thought we were already at quite a well developed stage, but the workshop was vital in clarifying the student pathways through the course, the time requirements, and the assessment structures.

Prof Dave Reay, Chair in Technology Enhanced Science Education (and course lead on Online Sustainability and Social Responsibility)


Program-level ELDeR Structure

Day 1:


1.1 What are our core values?

1.2 What is the purpose of the programme?

1.3 What must we teach / what must the students learn?

1.4 What would we like to teach / what would we like the students to learn?

1.5 What must be taught before what?

1.6 What can be taught anytime?

1.7 What do we not what to do in the same way any more?

1.8 What new things do we want to do / what do we want to do more of?

Day 2:


2.1 Mapping to course level

2.2 Programme storyboarding

2.3 Assessment and feedback structures 


3.1 Action Plan


Course-level ELDeR Structure

Day 1:

Stage 1: the course blueprint (mission statement, learning outcomes, assessment and feedback structures)

Stage 2: storyboarding (topic / theme, student activities, resources, assessment and feedback, tutor activities)

Day 2:

Stage 2 (continued): storyboarding

Stage 3: storyboard presentation and critical friend evaluation

Stage 4: adjust and review from feedback

Stage 5: storyboard overlay with tools and technologies

Stage 6: creating an action plan


More information

For more information about Learning Design development at the University of Edinburgh please contact Jon Jack,  in Learning, Teaching and Web Services Directorate, Information Services.