Quality design practices

Constructive alignment

Constructive alignment is the practice of ensuring that intended learning outcomes for a course of study are effective, clear and purposeful and that learning activities, and assessment tasks are developed in alignment with these outcomes. There are two basic concepts behind constructive alignment:

  • Learners construct meaning from what they do to learn.
  • The teacher makes a deliberate alignment between the planned learning activities and the learning outcomes and how to measure the achievement of those outcomes.

All learning activities need to be designed to align directly to support the achievement of assessment tasks, which demonstrate achievement of the intended learning outcomes of the course.

Pedagogy first

There is a common term touted in online and blended design circles - pedagogy before technology. What this means is not letting the use of technology drive how you plan your learning - it needs to be the pedagogy of learning that determines what technology tool best suits that learning need. There are simple processes you can work through to help your learning activities take shape.

When designing your course, decide which approach best suits the intended learning outcomes. Which elements of the course can be enhanced best by being delivered in the face-to-face context? Which elements can be enhanced best by using the online environment?

This video explores some of the key considerations when planning your online or blended course. It examines the importance of considering pedagogy before technology; constructively aligning assessment with learning outcomes; and the integration of digital literacy skills. It also offers some useful strategies for deciding which components are better suited to an online learning environment.

Evidence-based practices

What is considered best practice for the approach to learning for the learning outcomes in your discipline? Why are some concepts taught in a clinical laboratory and others whilst on work-integrated placement? Why are some concepts explored best in a face-to-face context, but others have more success when online? Learning and teaching is as much a science as it is an art, thus it is important to consult scholarly literature to ensure best practice in your approach to designing an inclusive and engaging learning journey for your students.

A whole team approach

The design process works best when there is a whole team approach. This includes all members of the teaching team, members of the central learning and teaching unit, the library and other student support services. A holistic approach to the design process ensures that students are offered a well-rounded learning experience that considers all facets of learning.


Contact your Learning Designer via the CAD job portal for clarification or assistance with any of the above.