Issue 1 - September 2008

Inaugural Issue

Welcome to the first issue of Educational Designer - a free journal established by the International Society for Design and Development in Education with the goal of improving the design and systematic development of educational materials.

The first few issues have been planned - further contributions are invited: see the Guide to contributors for details.

The aims and future plans for the journal are discussed in the editorial for this issue.

Strategic Decisions: Ambitions, Feasibility and Context

Paul Black,
King’s College London

The main aim of this paper is to identify some of the main issues which call for strategic decisions in the early stages of designing new materials. I do this by giving short accounts of four different innovations in which I have been personally involved, and then, in summary, comment on how these indicate both the complex interplay of five issues – research basis, curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and sustainability – and how, according to the contexts, some might be left alone and others are crucial. It is argued that both successful implementation and long-term impact are crucially dependent on teacher change.

Black, P. (2008) Strategic Decisions: Ambitions, Feasibility and Context. Educational Designer, 1(1).
Retrieved from

Engineering Educational Design

Christian Schunn,
University of Pittsburgh

Various analogies have been applied to educational research, the most prominent current one being medical clinical trials. What about the design and development of educational materials? There are many design principles being developed for educational materials, but the process of design is much less codified or systematic. By contrast, engineering as a discipline has created very systematic processes for doing design work, whether the design of products, processes, systems, or services, similar to the systematic scientific processes that are applied across the sciences. This paper overviews major findings from the study of engineering design practices and then presents an analysis of the extent to which engineering design processes may and may not be usefully applied to the process of educational design.

Schunn, C. (2008) Engineering Educational Design. Educational Designer, 1(1).
Retrieved from

A Designer Speaks (the first of a series)

Malcolm Swan,
MARS/Shell Centre, University of Nottingham

This paper describes some of the research-based principles that I use when designing learning experiences to foster conceptual understanding. These principles are illustrated through the discussion of one type of experience: that of sorting multiple representations. I refer to learning experiences rather than tasks, because tasks are only one component of the design. Close attention is also paid to the role of the teacher in creating an appropriate climate for learning to take place. After a brief excursion into my own theoretical framework, I describe the educational objectives behind my design and provide a detailed explanation of it in one topic, that of algebraic notation.  This is followed with an explanation of the principles that informed the design and the evolution of the task. Finally, I briefly indicate how the design might be generalised to include other topics.

Swan, M. (2008) A Designer Speaks. Educational Designer, 1(1).
Retrieved from
ISSN 1759-1325