Initial mapping of Learning Designer competencies

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I spent some time a few months ago mapping the knowledge, skills, and behaviours of a Learning Designer. I separated the role into three areas; learning, technology, and design. The learning competencies cover having a clear definition of quality and what good learning and teaching look like. The technology competencies focus on the development of learning materials and the use of multimedia. The design competencies cover the process of working with subject matter experts, usually academics, to co-design learning with an understanding of the other two areas.

This list is not exclusive, and I sure it has changed since my team has taken my rough workings and corrected it based on their practice.

Learning (Quality)

  • Learning theory/models 
    • Kolbs learning cycle 
    • Blooms [Digital] Taxonomy
    • Spaced learning and the forgetting curve
    • SAMR 
    • Active Learning inc. SCALE-UP
    • The PAR model (Presentation, Activity, Review
    • Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction
    • eTivities (G.Salmon) 
  • Accessibility (WCAG 2.1)  
  • Quality frameworks
    • Quality Matters 
    • Online Learning Consortium Scorecard 

Technology (Development)

  • Typography 
  • Images/photography 
  • Audio 
  • Video – hardware and software, production process 
  • HTML & CSS (Javascript?)
  • Theory 
    • Dual coding  
    • Mayer’s principles for multimedia learning


  • Design thinking 
  • Student centered design 
  • Personas 
  • ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation) 
  • Rapid Prototyping (agile) 
  • Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation 
  • Design workshop structure 
  • Design workshop facilitation 
  • Module Storyboard/map 
  • Scheduling & Project Management 
  • Good practice examples 

Scholarship and continuous improvement

On top of these three skillsets, it is essential that a Learning Designer working in higher education maintains personal scholarship and operates in continuous improvement cycles. Scholarship is a set of principles and practices that allow a practitioner to ensure their methods are valid and trustworthy through rigorous enquiry. This may be through applying published research or carrying out structured research on their outputs. Continuous improvement cycles ensure that the Learning Designer gets better from every course they develop through reflecting on what has worked, what hasn’t, learning from this and then experimenting with new and emerging practices. 

Let me know what I have missed via my Twitter account.

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