Kalpani Manathunga and Konstantinos Michos, PhD students in our learning technologies team at UPF, attended the in the 11th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL2016) held in Lyon, France from 13th to 16th September, 2016. They also participated in  workshops conducted in parallel to the main EC-TEL conference. Konstantinos presented a paper, “Towards understanding the potential of teaching analytics within educational communities” at the “4th International Workshop on Teaching Analytics” (IWTA’16). Kalpani participated in Connecting Learning Design and Learning Analytics (CLAD) workshop co-organized by Davinia Hernández-Leo and the topic of the paper was “Connecting pattern-based learning designs with analytics: The case of the PyramidApp”.

The papers they presented in the main conferences are:

Abstract : Computer Supported Collaborative Learning methods support fruitful social interactions using technological mediation and orchestration. However, studies indicate that most existing CSCL methods have not been applied to large classes, means that they may not scale well or that it’s unclear to what extent or with which technological mechanisms scalability could be feasible. This paper introduces and evaluates PyramidApp, implementing a scalable pedagogical method refining Pyramid (aka Snowball) collaborative learning flow pattern. Refinements include rating and discussing to reach upon global consensus. Three different face-to-face classroom situations were used to evaluate different tasks of pyramid interactions. Experiments led to conclude that pyramids can be meaningful with around 20 participants per pyramid of 3–4 levels, with several pyramids running in parallel depending on the classroom size. An underpinning algorithm enabling elastic creation of multiple pyramids, using control timers and triggering flow awareness facilitated scalability, dynamism and overall user satisfaction in the experience.

Abstract: Social computing enables collective actions and social interaction with rich exchange of information. In the context of educators’ networks where they create and share learning design artifacts, little is known about their collective behavior. Learning design tooling focuses on supporting educators (learning designers) in making explicit their design ideas and encourages the development of “learning design communities”. Building on social elements, this paper aims to identify the level of engagement and interactions in three communities using an Integrated Learning Design Environment (ILDE). The results show a relationship between the exploration of different artifacts and creation of content in all the three communities confirming that browsing influence the community’s outcomes. Different patterns of interaction suggest specific impact of language and length of support for users.

See also info in our gti group website and also the presentation we did about PyramidApp in a Collaborative Online International Learning Symposium.

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education welcomes submissions to the thematic series on ‘Learning design for in situ continuous professional development’. Deadline: Dec. 1st.

Building on recent advances in learning design and focusing on higher education, this thematic series addresses the specific challenges that designers of learning arrangements face when designing in situ professional development (such as workplace learning). As always, such designs should cover the activities that learners engage in, the social setting (fellow learners, facilitators) and the context in which learners carry out their activities. If the workplace is the context and the learners are professionals, designers face unprecedented challenges. For example, how can educators be convinced to become genuine designers who cast aside their default constraints of school, curriculum, lecture and embrace the opportunities of online or blended learning? How can learning activities be designed that are at the very leas compatible with but better still make sense in a workplace setting? How can team learning be facilitated? How can the transition from merely learning in a team to learning in a large, personal networked learning environment be made? And also, how should this kind of learning be implemented in a workplace environment that has been spoon fed on training sessions with mere knowledge transfer, often in settings away from the workplace? We welcome papers that focus on these and other challenges typical for the design of in situ professional development arrangements. Although such papers may be situated in any workplace setting, papers addressing the topic of teacher professional development are of specific interest.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Learning design
  • Design thinking
  • Professional development
  • Continuous professional development
  • Workplace learning
  • online learning
  • Technology-enhanced learning
  • Blended learning


Shirley Agostinho from University of Wollongong visited us the last two weeks. We have enormously enjoyed her visit these days, including encouraging conversations with the different members of the team, the nice piece of joint work done and the avenues for collaboration identified. We will really miss having her around!


From left: Laura Serra, Marc Beardsley, Kostas Michos, Kalpani Manathunga, Davinia Hernández-Leo, Shirley Agostinho, Pablo Abenia, Laia Albo

This is the picture we took the first day of her visit (Sep. 12th) and that she has also shared in their “learning design research” blog.

Below the slides I used in the panel “Global partnership for development. The role of academia in empowering participatory and collaborative action” at the Social Impact of Science Conference 2016. I talked about “Open collaborative platforms, education and research: MOOCs, ILDE“.


The session was chaired by Enric Senabre Hidalgo, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and with speakers Xavier Serra Casals, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Davinia Hernández Leo, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Bruno Raimbault, Médecins Sans Frontières, Open Street Map movement; Xabier Barandiaran, Barcelona City Council – Participation Councillorship. The session organised with the support of the DTIC-UPF María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Programme (MDM-2015-0502).

Peter Sloep’s visit

ounl_petersloep_290Peter Sloep visited us at UPF 19th and 20th of July. We enjoyed discussions around learning design, communities, analytics, MOOCs, and group formation.


It has been a pleasure for me to chair this morning a very interesting session on the impact of MOOCs. It was one of the monographic sessions of this year CIDUI conference. I summarised five papers contributed by five teams of authors. Papers address the challenges around MOOCs and propose some solutions. This was followed by a debate by the authors with contributions by the audience.Foto_CIDUI_Davinia

Main topics included: challenges for educators and the institution; assessing the quality and impact of MOOCs; basic technological skills of educators and learners; and blended learning using MOOCs.

Some days ago Lori Lockyer, from Maquarie University (Sydney, Australia) visited us. We discuss with her our current research and she also shared with us outcomes from her projects, all around bringing learning design and analytic thinking together.