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Active Digital Design Webinar: Advancing Online Learning

19 Jun 2020 | Anna Holland and Christine Rivers Advance HE is working with the University of Surrey to offer its Active Digital Design (ADD) approach to other institutions to support moving content online to create a quality learner experience. Anna Holland and Dr Christine Rivers explain and invite you to a webinar, 26 June, to hear more.


In response to the impact of Covid-19 on opportunities for face-to-face learning, teaching and assessment on campus, blended, hybrid and online learning approaches have been prioritised by HEIs.

Within this context, the University of Surrey, Surrey Business School approach to hybrid education has been articulated through its Centre for Management Education as Active Digital Design (ADD).

The ADD Approach

The ADD approach is based on five active principles: explore, collaborate, create, share and reflect. In addition to these five active principles for learning and teaching we are using digital design techniques based on the concepts of usability, user experience and simplicity.

We recognise that to engage students online and make them active learners, we need to design with a digital-first mindset. This means repositioning the function, value and purpose of our VLE from a static repository complementing face-to-face teaching to a meaningful high-quality learning space that aligns on-demand, live and independent learning and most importantly stimulates student learning. In order to transition faculty and support the adoption of a digital-first mindset approach, we strategically planned and implemented active, hands-on Learning Design Sprints and we are in the process of delivering these to more than 100 staff over 7 weeks.

Find out more in our webinar, Friday 26 June...

Our webinar will start with an overview of our own journey that led to the development of the learning design sprints. This includes the successful, evidence-based five step ADD approach which transforms, enhances and stimulates student learning and experience:

Step 1: Template and Content

  • Structured module design template and consistent approach to embedded content

Step 2: Supporting Visuals

  • Conceptual module maps with weekly module maps, use of images for content (e.g. weekly agendas, activities, narratives)

Step 3: Learning Icons

  • Integrated learning icons into the VLE, as well as across all learning materials

Step 4: Narratives

  • Guided, scaffolded learning and hyperlinked content

Step 5: Learning Resource Sets

  • Including sets of bite-size videos and deeper learning materials (learning activities, articles scaffolded with narratives)

We will then share how we designed the learning design sprints based on the ADD approach (including materials we developed), how we implemented the learning design sprints as a means to promote our ADD approach and how we deliver ADD in practice.

We want to spark a conversation around what a quality online learning experience is and how best to enhance student engagement based on ADD.

Session Takeaways 

We hope you enjoy the webinar but most of all that you leave with:

  • a detailed understanding of the ADD approach, including the opportunities and challenges involved.
  • insights into examples of best practice and what works.
  • lots of practical advice, tips and activities on how to build an active, engaging online learning environment.

We’re looking for to see you.

Active digital design webinar: Advancing online learning

26 June 2020, 12:30 BST - book your free place

Dr Christine Rivers is Co-Director of the Centre for Management Education at Surrey Business School and accredited Executive Coach and Consultant in Management Education. 

Anna Holland is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Management for the Centre of Management Education at Surrey Business School.  


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