What is the ABC model?
The ABC model (originally developed by UCL Digital Education) brings together colleagues as ‘learning design’ teams to prototype new (and review existing) modules and programmes through an engaging hands-on workshop. The ABC approach enables academic teams to rapidly create a visual ‘storyboard’ outlining the type and sequence of learning activities (both online and offline) required to meet the course’s learning outcomes, aligned to the university Curriculum Framework.
UoR colleagues discuss their experience of the ABC approach:
A brief rationale for the ABC model is provided by the UCL creators, below:
How can I make use of the ABC model?
Prior to engaging with the ABC model, it is strongly recommended to reflect on Learning Outcomes detailed in the MDF. Download this pre-session task to check your Learning Outcomes are robust.
- Do the LOs avoid common pitfalls?
- Are they well-formed (Verb + Object + Context)?
- Does the verb indicate the level of learning required? Bloom’s taxonomy provides a helpful framework for writing LOs; there are many online examples showing how it can be adapted.
- Do module LOs map to the Programme LOs?
- And finally, are your LOs manageable? Could your typical students achieve these LOs within the notional learning hours (i.e. 200 hours for a 20 credit module)
Capture your (new and improved?) LOs and continue to reflect on them when using the ABC model.
CQSD work closely with programme leads to adapt and deliver a high-energy 180 minute workshop.
- These workshops provide an excellent opportunity to work in partnership with students to co-create the curriculum. Students can be invited at discretion of the programme lead.
- Workshop participants are required to work collaboratively in a designated module team. Groups of 2-5 work well (CQSD request design teams are decided and communicated prior to the workshop).
- Each module team focuses on one module. There are also opportunities for module teams to share their designs to explore how modules form a coherent integrated whole.
- The session can be used to review existing modules and/or scope new ones.
- Prior to the session, all participants must be familiar with the module description and Learning Outcomes, and are advised to undertake a short, self-directed review of these (although teams may wish to continue adapting/amending Learning Outcomes after participating in the ABC workshop).
- The ABC Session plan (online) and accompanying slides can be viewed prior to booking a session. CQSD can work with programme leads to adapt the workshop structure as needed.
CQSD has adapted the original UCL ABC model to provide UoR colleagues with three key tools to support learning design:
- Distinct UoR 'Learning Types' aligned to the Curriculum Framework. These provide a practical framework for designing robust. learning activities across a module and strategies to enhance provision through technology enhanced learning.
- Online storyboard (and spreadsheet adaptation) to enable rapid and collaborative module prototyping.
- 'Rating system' to assess the distribution of 'Learning Types' across a module or programme.
- Pre-session task to develop Learning Outcomes and maximise effectiveness of your engagement with the ABC model.
Colleagues are welcome to use/adapt the resources on this webpage to undertake their own workshop or else conduct a self-directed review of existing or new modules, there is no requirement to attend a CQSD workshop prior to use. However, if undertaking an individual or small group 'self-directed' exercise, the following resources may be more useful:
- Begin by considering Learning Outcomes, using the above guidance 'Preparing to use the ABC model'. Following this, there are three self-directed options:
- For a quick exercise, you could RAG rate the extent to which you were using each of the UoR Learning Types both before and after the COVID19 pandemic. The comparisons can be quite telling, do you notice lots more acquisition going on now than before, and a lot less collaboration/discussion?
- For a more involved exercise, use an adapted ABC online storyboard spreadsheet to quickly prototype your module structure, make design adjustments and inform your decisions about the structure of your module.
- UCL provide a free Learning Designer service that draws on the original ABC learning types. This self-directed service provides feedback on your module design by showing approximate timings, a pie chart of the proportion of each of the ABC learning types in the module design, proportions of time learners spend online, synchronously or asynchronously, with the teacher present, and as a class, group or individual. Please note: the service draws on the original ABC 'Learning Types' (not adapted to the university Curriculum Framework) and you should refer to guidelines when using third party tools/service in teaching and learning prior to use.
Licensing information for use of ABC resources
The resources on this webpage are adapted from ABC workshop resources, ABC Learning Design, UCL. By Clive Young and Nataša Perović. Available at: ABC Learning Design @ UCL
The resources are available for use under Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA). The licence allows remix, edit and further building upon the model non-commercially, providing you credit and license any new creations under the identical terms. View full details of what this licence deed covers.
If using resources from this webpage, please provide attribution to the University of Reading and the originators, ABC Learning Design, UCL. By Clive Young and Nataša Perović. Available at: ABC Learning Design @ UCL