Learning Design at Northampton

Our mission for Learning and Teaching is “to enable transformational learning experiences through inspirational teaching” (Learning and Teaching Plan 2015-18). So what does this actually look like, and what does it mean for how we design our learning activities, modules and programmes? Our Institute of Learning and Teaching has produced the following aspirational statement as guidance for those involved in the design and delivery of modules and programmes:

The module is taught through student-centred activities that support the development of subject knowledge and understanding, independent learning and digital fluency. Our face-to-face teaching is facilitated in a practical and collaborative manner, clearly linked to learning activity outside the classroom. Opportunities are provided for students to develop autonomy, Changemaker attributes and employability skills.

There are some key principles that underpin this statement, that we believe are important in transformational learning and in equipping our students for the future. These are:

  • student-centred active learning
  • independent learning, digital fluency
  • Changemaker and employability

These may take different forms in different modules, programmes and subjects. Here at S.H.E.D. we aim to help staff design learning opportunities based on these principles.


What is S.H.E.D?

ShedS.H.E.D. (Sharing Higher Education Design) is an initiative run by the Learning Design team in collaboration with the Institute of Learning and Teaching and the Learning Technology team. It aims to support staff in designing effective learning opportunities, modules and programmes, and it does this in a number of ways:

  • the S.H.E.D. site on NILE. This site is designed to provide practical advice on getting ‘Waterside ready’, and to pull together examples of good practice directly from taught module sites, where staff have allowed us to do so.
  • the LearnTech blog. This blog is where we publish publicly-available case studies, as well as pieces about learning design and pedagogy. Here you’ll find summaries of approaches to learning and teaching, such as the flipped classroom and team-based learning. You’ll also find interviews with staff, who share their teaching practice and discuss what has been working for them.
  • the S.H.E.D. roadshow. The Learning Design team also take the shed (yes, an actual shed!) on tour. Look out for us visiting a Faculty or department near you, and come and talk to us about learning and teaching. Dates will be published through various channels, and listed on this page.

When we’re not on tour, the Learning Design team is also available for one-to-one support, to run CAIeROs (course design workshops) and to support away days and other staff development initiatives. Why not get in touch to see how we could help you?