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Common pedagogic strategies

Used in and adapted for many different disciplines. Well documented and active researched. Including:

Case-based learning, community-based learning, creative project-based learning, experiential learning, inquiry-based learning, lifelong learning, location-based learning, performance and skills development, problem-based learning, research-based learning, work-based learning. More detail.

Critical digital pedagogies

The power and complexity of digital pedagogies may, however, make it more difficult for us to evaluate their impacts and to choose and configure them carefully. They can have unwelcome consequences. For example, algorithms can accentuate bias. We therefore need more sophisticated design techniques, what we can call critical digital pedagogies.



Digital enablements

Digital technologies can also allow us to act in ways that would otherwise be entirely impossible, in virtual realities. We can, for example, travel through time, change the laws of physics, run series of events backwards and forwards. This enables pedagogies that are uniquely digital, impossible without digital tools and techniques.

Digital enhancements

Digital technologies can be used to enhance actions in many ways, for example to make them easier to select, adapt and initiate, more controllable, predictable, visible, measurable, traceable. Actions can be taken at a greater distance, anywhere in the world, at any time, and observed in action. Actions occuring over extended periods may be more easily sustained, reactivated, repeated. We can also chain together more complex sequences of actions, or create structures of branching pathways with choice architectures or algorithmic logic to determine outcomes.

Digital pedagogies

Digital pedagogies are pedagogic strategies that involve digital technologies and techniques in either of these three ways:

  1. Digitally-enhanced pedagogies: pedagogic actions (by teachers and students) enhanced with digital technologies (e.g. easier sharing of images).
  2. Uniquely digital pedagogies: pedagogic actions, that would not otherwise be possible, enabled by digital technologies (e.g. real-time document editing by participants in distant locations).
  3. Pedagogies for developing student and teacher digital capabilities, including critical and creative understanding of the effects of technology.

In addition, digital tools can enhance our ability to design, implement, analyse, control and adapt pedagogic actions. Larger-scale patterns of pedagogic actions, extended over time, are more easily designed and implemented using these tools - learning design is (potentially) simpler, more transparent, shareable and repeatable. This designing often follows common pedagogic approaches (case-based learning, problem-based learning etc.), which have distinctive requirements and ways of using technology.

We can make further distinctions between:

  1. Generic enhancements and enablements of actions (which are very much the same enhancements that apply to other forms of social activity and work).
  2. The enhancement and enabling of learning designs and pedagogic approaches, usually of greater complexity and duration.
  3. Enhancing and enabling learning designs and pedagogic approaches that are unique to a specific discipline - what has become known as "signature pedagogies" (Gurung, Chick & Haynie, 2008).

Type a enhancements are supported by everyday digital skills (e.g. editing a web page). Type b enhancements are, in addition, more specialised to education. And type c requires some specialism and adaption to individual academic disciplines.

Dr Becca Stone

More information.

Dr Robert OToole

Arts Faculty Director of Student Experience and Progression (digital). National Teaching Fellow. WATE winner. Module convenor: Introduction to Design Thinking; Design Thinking for Social Impact; Designing Change.PhD Arts Education: Transdiciplinary Studies of Design Thinking for the [Re]making of Higher Education.


Director of Student Experience & Progression.



Generic good practice

Digital technologies can be used to improve how we communicate, organise events, record information, collaborate etc. across all practices.



Organisational maturity model

The maturity of an organisation concerns how well it is organised to understand, define, communicate, and address its needs and ambitions in the short, medium and long terms. For dynamic organisations, where diverse needs and ambitions are defined at a local level by innovators, achieving a high degree of maturity requires additional effort and facilitation.


Pedagogic actions are shaped by habit, default structures, and processes that are built into technologies and spaces. Little time is spent reflecting, analysing, and considering alternative approaches. Customising actions to meet diverse needs only happens in an ad hoc manner, with little documentation of reasons and methods. Design choices and the rationales behind them are not clearly articulated, communicated, and widely understood. Gaps in provision are left largely unaddressed, or filled by a wide plethora of ad hoc solutions, with no guarantees of quality, reliabiliy, or sustainability.


Individuals and small groups take time to reflect on actions, critically and creatively adapting available technologies and spaces to meet diverse needs. They may develop their own pedagogic strategies and learning design patterns, but their is little cooperation on this with the wider community. Design choices and rationales may be well articulated, but knowledge concerning practices and innovations is not shared beyond individuals or the small group. Gaps in provision are filled on an ad hoc basis, with some largely incoherent campaigning for support from central services.


Design choices and rationales are clearly articulated, communicated, and widely understood. The organisation's members have a strong sense of "owning" a set of common practices, technologies, and spaces, evolved for their diverse needs. Individuals and small groups draw upon this as the basis for a critical and creative design process, so as to address diverse needs as they emerge. New challenges are interpreted in relation to this framework - immediately addressed by existing practices, requiring some adaptation, or necessitating novel approaches beyond current practice. Lessons learned from adopting and adapting approaches are shared back to the community. Gaps in provision are collectively identified, and addressed through a transparent and managed development process.



Pedagogic strategies
  1. Pedagogic strategies are patterns of actions intended to make learning happen: organising, directing, timetabling, breaking-down processes, challenging, framing, guiding, evaluating - there are many different actions.
  2. Learning is the acquisition of capabilities and characteristics by students - but what this means in practice varies considerably, and consequently there are many different pedagogies.
  3. Assessment is a particular class of diverse pedagogic patterns.
  4. Pedagogic patterns of actions vary in scope, from simple and immediate (interactions in the classroom), to complex and extended, spanning periods of time beyond individual events.
  5. Some patterns follow common pedagogic approaches, such as case-based learning, problem-based learning, research-based learning, project-based learning, location-based learning, workplace learning, performance coaching.
  6. They vary in the extent to which they are initiated, undertaken, and controlled by teachers and students - roles and responsibilities vary.
  7. They may be habitual - shaped by assumptions, previous experience, language, physical spaces, and technologies.
  8. Or they may be designed - consciously considered, selected, adapted, created, to serve our goals and values more effectively.
  9. Designed pedagogies take into consideration first-hand experience, as well as evidence from research.
  10. They are informed by theories from various sources, including academic disciplines (especially pyschology, sociology).
  11. They use the affordances offered by tools, technologies, and spaces, but are also constrained by these material systems.
  12. Sometimes they evolve to address the challenges encountered by a specific discipline, and make use of approaches that are common to that discipline - we call these signature pedagogies.
  13. Transdisciplinary pedagogies bring together approaches from distinct disciplines, with additional pedagogic actions to help make connections and deal with differences.
  14. The design of pedagogies may also be informed by the critical evaluation of existing practices against ethical principles (e.g. inclusivity) - we call this critical pedagogy.
Pedagogies for developing digital capabilities

For example, there are well-established techniques for teaching software design and programming to people who are not computer scientists. This can also take the form of transdiciplinary digital pedagogies, such as digital humanities and digital arts. Find out what we have available in the Arts Faculty.



Signature pedagogies

Pedagogic strategies that have evolved within specific disciplines, to address challenges in a way that fits with the context. These approaches emerge to fit with the knowledge systems, practices and culture of the discipline. They may be a response to changing external pressures, for example in response to the need to make the curriculum more employability-focussed. Sometimes they emerge in response to specific threshold concepts.

Critical and creative work on SPs is one of the main concerns of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The books Exploring Signature Pedagogies and Exploring More Signature Pedagogies document SPs used in a broad range of disciplines.

Find out what we do in the Arts Faculty.