ABC Learning Design

What is ABC Learning Design?

ABC is a learning design process by which individuals or module teams can work together to plan an outline of the type and sequence of learning activities (both online and offline) required to meet module learning outcomes and ensure there are a good range of content and different activity types throughout. This can help to move learning that would normally take place in a classroom into an online environment.

The six learning types


Where learners consume information without further actions or application (e.g. listening to a lecture or podcast, reading from books or websites, watching demos or videos.


Where learners work together, challenging each other’s’ ideas and negotiating solutions, to produce a shared output (e.g. a report, diagram, presentation).


Where learners articulate their own ideas and questions, and respond to ideas and questions from instructors and/or peers.


Where learners independently locate and/or explore information (e.g. from the library, internet, subject experts) to address self-identified questions and build overall knowledge. Learners’ grasp of new information is not formally probed.


Where learners seek to accomplish a task or goal, using repetition, self-reflection, and feedback from instructors/ peers to refine performance.


Where students create something for the instructor to formally evaluate (e.g. some form of coursework).

Learning type cards & example activities

A set of overview cards. One side outlines a description of the learning type itself, while the other side illustrates a comparison between traditional classroom-based learning activities and a what’s possible using a blended or distance approach.

Learning types wheel

A visual representation of the 6 learning types and a range of appropriate tools and technologies available. An overview to use when designing content and activities for your modules that can provide an engaging way for students to experience their learning.

Online & Blended Learning checklists

These have been developed as a series of questions that work alongside the ABC framework to help you design your online learning offer more efficiently. The learning types outlined in the ABC learning design process have been embedded and signposted throughout the checklists.

Both checklists contain examples of good practices for designing and delivering online/blended learning, as drawn from the literature. Each themed section contains a series of questions that prompt you to reflect on whether you have embedded specific good practice ideas in your module. Space is provided to explain any approaches that are not suitable for your given content and to map out plans for potential enhancement.

Technical guidance for using the checklists

Clicking on the links below will ask you to log into PebblePad. This is the background system being used that will enable you to save, access and edit the checklist over a period of time and enable you to share and collaborate with colleagues for development. It will also allow checklists to be submitted for review for QA purposes if required. Once your checklist is saved for the first time, you can continue to use the link below to access your copy (as it will require you to log in, and it will direct you back to the checklist you already started editing). Alternatively, you can log into PebblePad directly, which will be in your assets.

If you wish to share the checklist to work collaboratively with colleagues, please follow these instructions. If you are developing multiple modules and want more than one editable copy of the checklist, don’t hesitate to contact the Digital Education team.

    Online/Blended Learning Checklist (Micro)

    This ‘micro’ checklist is for when you are
    refining the details of new or existing
    online/blended modules.

    Online/Blended Learning Checklist (Macro)

    This ‘macro’ checklist covers broad issues surrounding a proposed online/blended module, and is particularly valuable in the early stages of module development.

    If you have any feedback on this website or the blended learning checklists, you can use this anonymous feedback form.

    If you wish to discuss anything you have seen in more detail, please email the Digital Education team and a member of the most appropriate team for your query will get back to you.