Navigating back to learning harmony

A new article from QUT academics looks at the grey area between the roles of academic staff and learning designers in using educational technology and the challenges of working out who is in charge and how best to work in this contested space.

The global learning technology market is forecast to grow from $200 billion in 2019 to $375 in 2026 – a measure of the explosion in importance placed on improved online education tools, particularly after the acceleration of online learning adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The article analyses aspects of some cases of increasing conflict between learning designers and academic staff as the role of both groups change, particularly with the accelerated roll out of online learning. Anecdotal evidence of increased conflict over the types of learning programs used, reduced time available to work on solutions, and reduced access to learning designers reveal some of the pressures commonly reported by each group.

The analysis observed that both groups had a shared desire to improve learning and teaching, but changed power dynamics and understanding as a result of the accelerated online teaching rollout. Policies that prioritise collaboration over learning design rather than fragmentation and institutionalised power imbalances could help.