What Is the Purpose? Using Blended Learning Designs to Purposefully Focus on Student Engagement, Support and Learning

  • David GreenEmail author
  • Christopher N. Allan
  • Julie Crough


“What is your purpose?” This is the key question that the Griffith Sciences’ learning and teaching team asks academics to continually reflect upon throughout the design and development of learning and teaching activities. The response to this question offers guidance for refining and rationalising the resources, tasks and sequences required to efficiently and effectively develop blended learning tasks. This chapter showcases a process undertaken within the Griffith Sciences Blended Learning Model to support blended learning design. The process included the creation of a range of visual learning designs developed through the use of a series of professional learning questions to focus on the purpose for student learning with the chapter including examples of the visual learning designs and the types of professional learning questions used. Each of the resulting learning designs provides a simple visual dataflow that outlines the sequence of teaching and learning activities while identifying the appropriate resources and personnel required to efficiently and effectively complete the appropriate tasks. Two case studies are included to elaborate on the process undertaken and demonstrate its operation.


PebblePad Learning design Blended learning Purposeful design Case study STEM Higher education ePortfolio 



In writing this chapter, we would like to acknowledge the contributions of the academic teaching staff who participated in the Griffith Sciences Blended Learning Model project. They demonstrated the engagement, motivation and commitment necessary to enhance the student experience in their specific courses. We thank them for their readiness to offer and consider ideas and advice in addition to generously providing us with the benefit of their extensive disciplinary knowledge.

In particular, we’d like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Belinda Schwerin and Mr. Arie Korf for kindly permitting us to include the development of their assessment activities as case studies within this chapter. They exemplified what can be achieved when purposefully designing and implementing authentic student experiences within a learning environment.


  1. Agostinho, S. (2011). The use of a visual learning design representation to support the design process of teaching in higher education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(6), 961–978.
  2. Allan, C. N., & Green, D. M. (2018). Griffith Sciences Blended Learning Model. Retrieved November 7, 2018, from
  3. Biggs, J. B., & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar
  4. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Expanded edition). Washington D.C.: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  5. Britain, S. (2004). A review of learning design: Concept, specifications and tools. Retrieved November 7, 2018, from
  6. Campbell, C., & Korf, A. (2018). Supporting student learning through innovative technology in the aviation classroom. In ICICTE Proceedings 2018 (pp. 18–28), Corfu, Greece. Retrieved November 7, 2018, from
  7. Conole, G. (2007). Describing learning activities: Tools and resources to guide practice. In Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age (pp. 81–91). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Conole, G. (2010). Learning design–making practice explicit. In ConnectEd 2010: 2nd International conference on Design Education, Sydney, Australia.Google Scholar
  9. Conole, G., Dyke, M., Oliver, M., & Seale, J. (2004). Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design. Computers & Education, 43(1), 17–33. Scholar
  10. Conole, G., & Wills, S. (2013). Representing learning designs–making design explicit and shareable. Proceedings of Educational Media International, 50(1), 24–38. Scholar
  11. DeViney, N., & Lewis, N. J. (2012). On-demand learning: How work-embedded learning is expanding enterprise performance. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 491–501). San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Ellis, R. A., & Bliuc, A. M. (2015). An exploration into first‐year university students’ approaches to inquiry and online learning technologies in blended environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(5), 970–980. Scholar
  13. Falconer, I., Beetham, H., Oliver, R., Lockyer, L., & Littlejohn, A. (2007). Models for Learning (Mod4L final report: representing learning designs. Glasgow: Glasgow Caledonian University.Google Scholar
  14. Fenn, J., & Raskino, M. (2008). Mastering the hype cycle: How to choose the right innovation at the right time. Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  15. Franks, P., Hay, S., & Mavin, T. (2014). Can competency-based training fly? An overview of key issues for ab initio pilot training. International Journal of Training Research, 12(2), 132–147. Scholar
  16. Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95–105.Google Scholar
  17. Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles, and guidelines. San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Goodyear, P. (2005). Educational design and networked learning: Patterns, pattern languages and design practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(1), 82–101.
  19. Goodyear, P., de Laat, M., & Lally, V. (2006). Using pattern languages to mediate theory-praxis conversations in design for networked learning. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 14(3), 211–223. Scholar
  20. Gulikers, J. T., Bastiaens, T. J., & Kirschner, P. A. (2004). A five-dimensional framework for authentic assessment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(3), 67–86. Scholar
  21. Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. Scholar
  22. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  23. Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2017). The experiential educator: Principles and practices of experiential learning. Kaunakakai, Hawaii: Experience Based Learning Systems.Google Scholar
  24. Konnerup, U., Ryberg, T., & Sørensen, M. T. (2018). The teacher as designer? What is the role of ‘learning design’ in networked learning? In B. Milan, N. B. Dohn, M. de Laat, P. Jandric, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Networked Learning 2018 (pp. 331–339). Zagreb, Croatia.Google Scholar
  25. Maslow, A. H. (1966). The psychology of science: A reconnaissance (1st. Ed.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  26. McGee, P., & Reis, A. (2012). Blended course design: A synthesis of best practices. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(4), 7–22.
  27. McLean, G. M. T., Lambeth, S., & Mavin, T. (2016). The use of simulation in ab initio pilot training. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 26(1–2), 36-45. Scholar
  28. Neely, P., & Tucker, J. (2012). Using business simulations as authentic assessment tools. American Journal of Business Education (Online), 5(4), 449. Scholar
  29. Oliver, R., & Herrington, J. (2002). Online learning design for dummies: Professional development strategies for beginning online designers. In P. Barker & S. Rebelsky (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.Google Scholar
  30. Owston, R. D., Garrison, D. R., & Cook, K. (2012). Blended learning at Canadian Universities: Issues and practices. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 338–350). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  31. Puentedura, R. R. (2012). The SAMR model: Background and exemplars. Retrieved November 7, 2018, from
  32. Robinson, A., & Mania, K. (2007). Technological research challenges of flight simulation and flight instructor assessments of perceived fidelity. Simulation & Gaming, 38(1), 112–135. Scholar
  33. Torrisi-Steele, G., & Drew, S. (2013). The literature landscape of blended learning in higher education: The need for better understanding of academic blended practice. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(4), 371–383. Scholar
  34. Wiggins, M. W. (1997). Expertise and cognitive skills development for ab-initio pilots. In R. A. Telfer & P. J. Moore (Eds.), Aviation training: Learners, instruction and organization (pp. 54–66). Aldershot, United Kingdom: Avebury Aviation.Google Scholar
  35. Wilson, G. F. (2002). An analysis of mental workload in pilots during flight using multiple psychophysiological measures. The International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 12(1), 3–18. doi:/
  36. Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (Applied social research methods). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Green
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher N. Allan
    • 1
  • Julie Crough
    • 1
  1. 1.Office of the PVC (Griffith Sciences)Griffith UniversitySouthportAustralia

Personalised recommendations