Now, perhaps more than any time in the last four decades, the influence of technology on how we learn and teach is challenging and changing traditional design practices and models. There have been significant changes in how people communicate, how they complete financial and business transactions and how they access and transmit information. Accompanying this change has been an increase in courses available online, offered not only by new online institutions but also through traditional face-to-face schools, colleges and universities. Now more students opt to study online, taking advantage of learning ‘anytime, anywhere’, and more teachers have been hired to meet the growing student demand. However, these teachers are often being asked to design these courses as well as teach them, whether or not they have prior knowledge and skills in design practice, and these students do not always have prior experience learning online. And even though there are many experienced educational designers employing established design models and theories, the quality of the new courses being developed remains varied.
To provide a rigorous yet practical and efficient method to cater for this changing educational environment, this book introduces a practice known as Design Alchemy. To provide a context for the design framework, this chapter introduces the challenges which triggered its development and demonstrates why the ancient art of alchemy is an appropriate metaphor for the design skills needed today to achieve engaged learning and motivated teaching. Through this introduction, a foundation is provided for the elaboration of Design Alchemy presented in Chaps. 2 and 3.
KeywordsInstructional Designer Design Practice Mobile Learning Design Thinking Educational Design
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