Reflections on Developing a Tool for Creating Visual Representations of Learning Designs

Andrew Brasher, Simon Cross, Rebecca Galley

Keywords: visual representation, tool, map, design

CompendiumLD is a software tool for designing learning activities using a flexible visual interface. It has been developed as a tool to support lecturers, teachers and others involved in education to help them articulate their ideas and map out a design or learning sequence. CompendiumLD is a specialised version of Compendium, a tool for managing connections between information and ideas, which has been applied in many domains including the mapping of discussions and arguments. As most of the core knowledge mapping facilities provided by Compendium are included within CompendiumLD, it can be used for learning design, and  applied it to other information mapping and modelling problems. Evidence gathered since CompendiumLD’s first release has shown the many conditions in which it is likely to be applied and appreciated by users. It appears that the need for visualising learning designs may continue to grow given we have found that over half of staff now agree that it is becoming harder to understand how all the components of planned learning and teaching fit together. Furthermore, the use of technology is making the process of creating courses more complex. We explore these challenges and conclude with some reflections on the developments in visual representation needed to further facilitate the modelling of today and tomorrow’s complex learning situations.