Enhancing learning tools through innovative designs 

Module details

  • Offered to 2nd Year students in Autumn Term, Mondays, 16:00-18:00  
  • 1 Term module worth 5 ETCS 
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore 

This module brings together students, teachers and creative professionals to create innovative designs for visual learning tools. It builds on the success of the ImpVis project, which develops interactive visualisations for education in staff-student partnerships. These visualisations are currently being used in modules throughout College. 

You will explore how interactive visualisations benefit students learning abstract concepts and engage with their design directly through projects that unite technical, graphic, and learning design. Working in partnership, you will have a lasting impact by contributing to our co-created knowledgebase on how to design such learning tools for education and by implementing these innovative tools in STEMM modules in higher education. 


Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will better be able to: 

  • Use personal reflections upon your learning of STEM concepts within your discipline and those of others to explain how visual tools can aid understanding across STEM disciplines for a diverse set of learners 
  • Carry out independent research to gain a better understanding of educational design, graphic design, or interaction design 
  • Use your newly-gained knowledge to contribute to the design of an interactive, digital and visual learning tool that is well aligned with its learning objectives, including planning suitable graphical components and deciding on the type and level of interactivity of the learning tool 
  • Collaborate in a multidisciplinary team towards a common objective, taking into account the diverse skill set of each team member and negotiating responsibilities accordingly 
  • Work effectively in partnership with staff, valuing your own as well as the staff partner's expertise, and sharing ownership of and responsibility for the final design amongst partners 
  • Critically evaluate output from others and provide constructive feedback that enables them to improve their work 

Indicative core content

This module will provide a collaborative creator space for you to acquire the skills and knowledge required to design innovative visual learning tools that will be used in modules throughout College. 

During the first part of the module, you will explore a range of existing interactive visualisations from different sources to understand their strengths and weaknesses within different educational settings. You will reflect upon your own experience of learning difficult concepts in STEMM to co-create a vision of what are the characteristics of good visualisation design. 

For the majority of the module, you will use the insight you developed in the beginning of the course to create an effective design of a visual learning tool in STEMM education. In order to do this, you will work in a project group of peers and partner with a member of staff in one of the College's academic departments. The visual learning tool you will work on will be designed specifically for use within a STEMM module in College.  

You will develop your ideas through a proven design process as implemented by ImpVis. Within your project group, you will have the opportunity to do a deep dive in either educational, graphic, or interaction design. This means you will direct your own learning into the relevant areas, which could be e.g., how people learn abstract concepts or how visualisations and animations can aid learning. Subsequently you will critically evaluate your design and those of others based on the vision co-created earlier in the course. Your output will have a lasting impact on the College's educational mission, both in terms of adding to our knowledgebase on the educational design of interactive visualisations and in terms of a design / prototype of a visual learning tool that will be used by your peers in College. 

Learning and teaching approach

Students will spend the majority of the module's timespan working in a multi-disciplinary project group to create a design for a visual learning tool on a specific STEMM concept. There will be: 

  • Weekly interactive sessions, mostly dedicated to group work and discussions 
  • Online resources that will help you further your knowledge and skills in your chosen specialism 
  • Individual research  

You will receive ongoing verbal feedback in the course of this module through discussions with peers, undergraduate teaching assistants, and staff in the synchronous sessions. After submission of the main assignment, there will be a dedicated 'review and feedback' session where each project group will assess each other's designs and provide final feedback on their assessments. 


  • Your assignment for assessment will be in the form of a (digital) portfolio, which will incorporate your visualisation design, your own reflections on your learning journey and achievements, as well as evidence of engaging with the feedback process between project groups. You will submit your finalised portfolio after the module has finished (on a co-negotiated timescale), but there will be various submissions of contributions towards your portfolio throughout the term. You should therefore expect to do some work towards your portfolio on a weekly basis.

Key information

  • Requirements: It is compulsory to take an I-Explore module during your degree (you’ll take an I-Explore module in either your 2nd or 3rd year, depending on your department). You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 105 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes for example reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments, project work and preparing for other assessments 
  • I-Explore modules are worth 5 ECTS credit towards your degree; to receive these you will have to pass the module. The numerical mark that you obtain will not be included in the calculation of your final degree result, but it will appear on your transcript 
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 6 course 
  • This module is offered by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship