Learning designers as capacity builders in Australian universities

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Next Generation, Higher Education: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities Vol. 42

March, 2020, 125 pages
Published by
Eva Heinrich & Roseanna Bourke

Central teaching and learning centres are responsible for translating new sectoral and institutional strategic priorities into practice. In response, directors look to recruit, employ and retain learning designers (also called educational designers or similar) to increase existing capacity. Learning designers play a vital role in building institutional capacity through sustained technological and pedagogical innovation, to meet these sector demands and the continually changing academic and professional practices. More research is needed about how best to attract and retain new learning designers both from an institutional and employee perspective. The researchers designed two separate surveys to target the following stakeholder groups: 1) directors of central teaching and learning centres, and 2) learning designers employed under the auspices of these centres. After gaining human ethics approval, the researchers used online surveys for data collection. Potential participants were contacted through publicly available professional email addresses and professional networks which directed members to the project webpage, containing links to both surveys. Twenty-one directors and 103 learning designers responded. Data were coded and analysed using descriptive statistics and NVivo Pro 11. The results provide new empirical data for directors and learning designers to understand the roles and responsibilities of learning designers and the importance of identity and agency within this emerging cohort of professionals who contribute to institutional and sectoral capacity.

Keywords: Learning designer, roles and responsibilities, identity and agency