Designing to maximise reuse

“The term “learning design” refers to a variety of ways of designing student learning experiences, that is, the sequence of activities and interactions[1]“. This course does not advocate or dictate any particular learning theory, design model or pedagogical approach. Learners are encouraged to implement their own design models in this course. However, careful thought and consideration is needed when designing OER courses to maximise potential for reuse.

Designing OER materials for independent self-study will improve reuse potential, because these materials can serve both online self-study opportunities and can be easily integrated to support face-to-face teaching. Materials which are primarily developed for face-to-face teaching do not migrate well for online independent study thus restricting reuse potential.

The interaction equivalency theorem

The Interaction Equivalency Theorem developed by Terry Anderson posits that “if any one of student-student, student-teacher or student-content interaction is of a high quality, the other two can be reduced or even eliminated without impairing the learning experience – thus creating means of developing and delivering education that is cost affordable for all of us (Anderson 2003[2]).” There is a considerable body of research evidence to support the theorem.

Consider for example the OERu model which designs and develops OER courses for independent study. The OERu model does not typically provide tutorial support for free learners (i.e student-teacher interaction), therefore careful consideration must be given to the other forms of interaction in the course design. OERu courses are designed with additional emphasis on student-content and student-student interactions by integrating peer-learning opportunities afforded by networked learning on the open web.

Design framework resources

If you are new to the world of learning design for online learning you may find the following frameworks useful to get started with the design of your learning pathways for this course.



Learning design frameworks for online teaching


  1. 2003. Australian Universities Teaching Committee. Project on ICT-based learning designs
  2. See the The Interaction Equivalency Website