Deconstruct the design

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Then, reflect on a course that you have recently taken and completed or a
course that you have recently taught, and consider the sustainability
of its design.

Deconstruct the design and delivery of the course you selected. Then,
analyze the level of sustainability of the course. Finally, explain
whether the course is sustainable or not—providing reasons to support
your position. In your explanation, be sure to describe the sustainable
elements in the course or describe specific strategies you would use to
make course elements more sustainable. Adopt and defend a firm position
on the need for sustainability in eLearning.

Support your analysis using the three pillars of sustainability, personal experience, and at least one research study (PhD, EdD, and EdS students) or dissertation (PhD and EdD students); include course resources as applicable.

I will provide you of some examples of other peoples

1. My
greatest experience with eLearning at this point is with Walden
courses. For that reason, I have selected the Walden course title
Creating a Positive Learning Environment to evaluate for design,
delivery and sustainability. This course is presented in a very similar
fashion of other Walden courses. However, it adds some additional
interactive components. The course will provide a good foundation for

Course Design and Delivery

The Creating a Positive
Learning Environment course is a good mix of Learning Design and Design
Alchemy. Learning design considers the need of the students when
planning the content and the content delivery model (Sims, 2014).
Design Alchemy considers each element of the course through the needs of
the student (Sims, 2014). The course meets student learning needs
through a wholistic approach to the content presented (learning design)
and interactive components which provide a simulated experience (design
alchemy). The combination of the learning design and the design alchemy
provide school leaders and future school leaders with access to content
and practical application of the content should a violent event erupt
in the school setting he/she leads. In this course the learner is
engaged through multiple modalities providing a strong design approach
to the course.

Course Sustainability

Course sustainability
can be measured through three areas: resource management, educational
attainment and professional development and innovation (Stepanyan,
Littlejohn, & Margaryan, 2013). Th Creating a Positive Learning
Environment is offered as part of a Walden degree program. The funds
brought to the project through student enrollment has allowed the
university to invest in quality updates to the course which keep the
content current demonstrating quality resource management (Stepanyan et
al., 2013). Student success in the course and in the degree program is
tracked and demonstrate sustainability through educational attainment
(Stepanyan et al., 2013). The content in the course is pertinent to the
work school leaders are doing. The learning experiences lead to
continuous improvement in principal leadership skills demonstrating the
sustainability measure of professional development and innovation
(Stepanyan et al., 2013). As a student in this course, I can see that
it demonstrates the ability to be sustainable over time based on the
three elements of resource management, educational obtainment and
professional development and innovation.

Need to Address Sustainability in eLearning

The idea of
developing eLearning experiences can be approached in a nonchalant
manner without consideration for the long-term sustainability of the
project. When this happens programs and courses die off due to lack up
updated content or budget (Stepanyan et al., 2013). Developers must pay
close attention to resources, educational obtainment and professional
learning as key elements of sustainability in order to have long-term
impact on the field. Researchers have determined that a quality
orientation can positively influence the educational obtainment factor
of sustainability (“Impact
of Online Orientation for First-Time Online Students on Retention,
Academic Success, and Persistence – Dissertations & Theses @ Walden
University – ProQuest,” n.d.). All of these elements indicate a need for developers to pay close attention to sustainability.


Impact of Online Orientation for First-Time Online Students on Retention, Academic Success,

and Persistence – Dissertations & Theses @ Walden University – ProQuest. (n.d.).

Retrieved April 14, 2018, from



Sims, R. (2014). Design alchemy: Transforming the way we think about learning and teaching.

(Vol. 8). Switzerland: Spinger International Publishing.

Stepanyan, K., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Sustainable e-Learning: Toward a

coherent body of knowledge. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 16(2), 91–


2.Deconstruction and Analysis of RSCH 8310

For this discussion board posting, I analyzed the RSCH 8310 course
using the seven elements of the Design Alchemy framework (Sims, 2014).
The inclusiveness element was achieved through use of the content
materials themselves. Qualitative research takes a look at a diversity
of people and ideas so those were explored over the duration of the
course. Learning for RSCH 8310 was active in the sense that we were
required to practice each stage of the coding process as we learning
about it. The learning itself was rather passive but we did have an
opportunity to try out each of the techniques that we learned about
using sample experiences. We were required to start the course with a
problem that we were seeking a solution to and then all of our efforts
in the class were geared towards that issue or problem so the
problem-solving component of Design Alchemy was met. Since we
established the problems on our own, we provided our own context for
environment, culture,motivation, needs, and situation (Sims, 2014). One
of the Design Alchemy pedagogical elements that was not very strong in
RSCH 8310 was the collaborative work area. Outside of discussion board
postings, which aren’t really very collaborative to start with, we very
rarely interacted with our classmates on project or tasks. Creativity
was another area that seemed rather weak in the context of this Design
Alchemy framework. While we were required to generate our own codes for
the sample activities that we did, most of the assignments and tasks
were fairly structured and did not leave much room for creative input on
the part of the student. The final area of the framework is enabling
emergence of new knowledge and understanding and learners left this
course with a deeper understanding of the qualitative research approach
and how to use this lens to design a research study. The RSCH 8310
course scored four and a half out of seven using the Design Alchemy

Sustainability of RSCH 8310

There are three main domains of sustainability in eLearning: resource
management, educational attainment, and professional development and
innovation (Stepanyan, Littlejohn, & Margaryan, 2013). RSCH 8310
appears to be a cost-effective and efficient delivery method for
qualitative research practices. Staff workload is low since there are
only a few major assignments over the scope of the course and
instructors are not required to develop new resources during the
duration of their term as instructor. All of the course materials,
readings, and media pieces are already in place and linked to the
content of the class. Educational attainment is partially met due to the
fact that the new information gained during the course is usable and
applicable to upcoming work in the EDPD 8900 course. There are some
concerns with the placement of this course near the end of the course
sequence so student retention and participation rates are lower than in
previous RSCH courses. This course has some ability to adapt to change
as new qualitative research methods come into common usage and may
easily be updated to include new texts and media pieces as they become
available. While not high, the overall sustainability of RSCH 8310
through the three components listed bt Stepanyan, Littlejohn, &
Margaryan (2013) is acceptable.

Sustainability in eLearning

There are various elements to be aware of when discussion
sustainability in eLearning ecosystems. These include human and social,
technical, environmental, and economic aspects. The needs of the
individuals within the eLearning system have a strong impact on the
overall sustainability of these eLearning environments (Alharthi &
Spichkova, 2017). These social and human impacts are being mediated by
the overall increased comfort and experience that people have with
interacting in online environments and the more globally diverse
communities of learners that they are communicating with (Laureate
Education, 2014). With new communication technologies coming into
existence and the development of educational technologies like games and
simulations, there is a growing need for sustainability in eLearning


Alharthi, A. D., & Spichkova, M. (2017). Individual and social requirement aspects of sustainable elearning systems. arXiv preprint arXiv:1701.06433.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014). Anatomy of eLearning: Conceptual framework [Interactive media]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Sims, R. (2014). Design alchemy: Transforming the way we think about learning and teaching. In J.M. Spector, M. J. Bishop, & D. Ifenthaler (Series Eds.), Educational communications and technology: and innovations (Vol. 8). Cham, Zug, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Stepanyan, K., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Sustainable e-Learning: Toward a coherent body of knowledge. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 16(2), 91-102. Retrieved from the Walden Library Databases.


At my institution, we formally review courses on a cycle. We try to
schedule reviews after a recent teaching of the course so people’s minds
are fresh. Our cycle provided for each core course in a program to be
reviewed once every three years. Reviewers include faculty, outsiders
from our Advisory Committee, which can include people from the industry
or with whom we have formed strategic partnerships, and graduates from
our or competitive programs who hold the same degree and who are
practitioners in the field. Student and faculty feedback from course
surveys is also presented as part of the course review process. The
focus of the review is on the currency and relevance of the curriculum
and whether the learning activities meet the objectives for the course
and have transferability to the role of a DBH on an interdisciplinary

Design and Delivery of a Course

We recently completed a review of one of our behavioral interventions
courses on chronic and comorbid conditions (It’s called Biodyne II) and
revamped its curriculum and learning approaches based upon that
review. Using Sims’ seven elements of Design Alchemy as a guide, I’ll
now reflect on that process and the resultant design of the course. I
believe that our approach to reviewing the course was inclusive, as it
drew from a wide range of stakeholders. A gap was identified in one
area (not enough activities that demonstrated a DBH’s ability to consult
effectively with the medical team) and as a result, a collaborative,
long-term project was developed for students to fill this need. The
basic project is now to hold a simulated shared medical appointment with
patients and a medical provider. All of the course’s main assessments
now form components of this project. Students are free to choose the
subject of the shared medical appointment as long as it includes a
behavioral health component and a chronic/comorbid component. They work
collaboratively as peer review teams and then to hold a simulated
medical appointment where they rotate roles – patient, provider, DBH.
This taps into their creativity and also helps them to see the shared
medical appointment through different lenses. As many of our students
come to us from specialty mental health, this exercise will help them to
see that as a DBH, they can play a critical role in addressing a
patient’s medical and behavioral needs, as well as being a supportive
partner to the medical provider. They will hopefully see themselves
emerging not as specialty mental health providers, but as part of the
medical team. I feel that this new approach to the course meets the
elements of Design Alchemy.

Three Elements of Sustainability

Three elements must be considered when determining the sustainability
of elearning. They include resource management, educational
attainment, and professional development ( Stepanyan, Littlejohn, and Margaryan, 2013).
One of the developments I am quite excited about is in resource
management. We decided a few weeks ago to make a much greater
commitment to the idea of textbook affordability. As a result, our
librarian has been placing copies of textbooks on reserve for students
who choose not to purchase them, and we eliminated one textbook from the
course, choosing instead to pull readings from a textbook that students
already owned but were not using to its full potential. As many course
readings as possible come from our library and are inserted into
courses via permalinks, which never change. However, there are areas
where I do feel we could trim costs and process even more. I as the
instructional designer am a resource, so I’m definitely interested in
ways that I can reduce the time and work it takes to get a course
ready. I am not thinking of the redesign that occurs after a review so
much as the re-use of a course during those times that we are not
reviewing and revamping. We are guilty of putting too much specific
information down in our assignments; that example on readings for
interviewing techniques that Sims shared in Table 3.3 in Chapter 3,
regarding sustainable v. unsustainable design was a direct hit (2014, p.
36). My team will be meeting about that very shortly, thanks to that
As far as educational attainment, I believe the low resource costs
will play a role in that since there is a clear link between the cost of
materials and student success, with students often choosing to not buy
the textbook, which can result in poor grades or sometimes even
withdrawal from the course or program (Florida Virtual Academy, 2016).
Lastly, there is professional development and innovation. Stepanyan,
Littlejohn, and Margaryan opine that sustainability can be viewed as a
“commitment to continuous improvement and adaptation to a constantly
changing environment” (2013, p. 97). I see this occurring in our
courses, but it’s definitely an area to work on where our faculty are
concerned. Our faculty is actually very small and entirely composed of
adjuncts. Although we have tried to establish a community of practice
among them for the purposes of providing professional development on
both eLearning and the field of behavioral health, it has not been
successful — despite the fact that we developed our plan based upon
their input about what they want. We schedule monthly meetings that
include either a training on an eLearning component or an item from the
field, but turnout is abysmal. I don’t think we need research to tell
us what is obvious, but here goes anyways: “Many academics report being
too busy to prioritise exploring new approaches to teaching and
learning” (Gunn, 2010, p. 96). The most successful thing we have done
was to give everyone a stipend to use to fly in for a day of in-person
training. We had nearly 100% turnout and the event was a roaring
success. However, it is not sustainable from a cost perspective and we
had to jettison the idea for this budget year because we just didn’t
have the money. However, it’s clear that this element of sustainability
needs to be prioritized.

The Need for Sustainability

Asking oneself, “Is this sustainable?” is a solid framing question
whenever a new initiative or approach is considered. One of the items
that I really like about my very small institution is that we’ve all
swallowed the Kool-Aid. Every single one of us gave up a successful job
and career path at other, well-known institutions to bring this school
to life. As such, we have a real “work harder! We’ll just make it
happen! No obstacle is too great! If we’re knocked down, we’ll just
get back up!” mentality, especially amongst those of us who have been
there from the time the school was concepted. However, in the past year
or so, I’ve felt a change in air. That energy is flagging a bit. New
employees don’t feel the same way, and I feel it even in myself, and I’m
one who has been there since Day One. Several of those who came on
board in the beginning have left in the past year, and there are only
two of us Originals left at this point, which says something, doesn’t
it, about our own personal sustainability. I’m much more interested
now in working smarter, not harder, and so this particular module
doesn’t have to work very hard to make its case with me.

Florida Virtual Campus, Office of Distance Learning and Student
Services. (2016, October 7). 2016 student textbook and course materials
survey (Rep.). Retrieved…

Gunn, C. (2010). Sustainability factors for e-learning initiatives. Research in Learning Technology, (18)2, 89-103. Retrieved from

Sims, R. (2014). Design alchemy: Transforming the way we think about learning and teaching. In J.M. Spector, M. J. Bishop, & D. Ifenthaler (Series Eds.), Educational communications and technology: and innovations (Vol. 8). Cham, Zug, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Stepanyan, K., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Sustainable e-Learning: Toward a Coherent Body of Knowledge. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 16(2), 91-102.

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