Design Rationale



Learning Design Rationale - written by Jon Hamlin - submitted November 29, 2012 - Download .pdf





Teenopoly Presentation - Education 890




The guidelines for the rationale are (from Dr. Kevin O'Neill's Education 890 syllabus)



Your Learning Design submission will have two components:

  1. A short (10 page double-spaced, Times 12 point, 1 inch margins) "Design Rationale" paper explaining:
    • What problem of learning your design addresses
    • How you understand the problem, with reference to your experience and the literature
    • What technology you chose for your design, and why. What specific affordances does the technology have, and how do these fit the characteristics of the problem you identified?
  2.  Either an electronic resource (e.g. web site) or a storyboard.

Your rationale paper should address the following questions:


Who is your learning design for?

Learning Goals

What is it that you want people to learn?


What do you know, from experience and from the literature, about why this is difficult to learn? (In other words, why bother building a technology-based learning design to teach this?)




Document your learning design. What you put here will vary depending on the decisions you've made about the Learning Goal and Problem, so you will have to work closely with your instructor to get clarity on this part over the semester. The key thing to accomplish here is to be clear about how the design decisions you make are linked to your understanding of the Learning Goal and Problem. Above all we are looking for coherence.

Be sure to include:

  • Context of use: Where will your audience use it? Over how long a period of time?
  • Technical details: How do you expect this to be implemented technologically?
  • Activity structure:Will this be an individual or collaborative activity (or some combination)? If part is collaborative, why so and how will the collaboration work?


Assessment How will you know if you have achieved the results you wanted with your design? I am not interested in a research design to address this question (e.g. a design for an experimental trial), but some ideas for a practical assessment of learning that you would routinely do as an instructor using the design. In this section you should demonstrate that you can develop ideas about assessment that are coherent with the goals you have set our for your design.
References In this section, reference any journal articles or other publications you used in developing your learning design. Please use APA reference style. Here is a useful reference with examples.