How learning development and learning design can inform each other: reflections and discussion points


  • Catherine Turton Solent University



design thinking, learner-centred design, third-space, partnerships


Learning Development and Learning Design have contributed to the transformation of higher education (HE) over recent decades, in the move towards a learner-centred approach in HE. While Learning Design is still somewhat ill-defined and emergent, practice has quickly gained traction since the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is now generally well embedded into academic training and institutional terminology (JISC, 2022). What does the intersection of these two ‘learning’ fields look like, and how could existing collaboration be strengthened for the benefit of learners? This poster aimed to promote discussion on the topic.

The poster briefly summarises the history of Learning Design and explores commonalities in the two fields such as an interest in universal design, a focus on empathy, inclusivity, and active learning approaches.

Then it explores the limits of Learning Design and gives examples of ways in which the author’s practice as a Learning Designer is strongly influenced by Learning Development. In particular, it discusses how Learning Development values, as laid out by ALDinHE provide a grounding for the author, and how the substantial body of work in Academic Literacies (Lillis, 2019) provides a critical framing for working with academic teams when exploring issues of belonging, identity and student learning within Learning Design.

Finally, it explores how roles intersect, how practitioners from the two fields do (and could) work together, for example, to collectively deepen understanding about the learning experience and improve co-creation with students. It also outlines what adopting a strong ‘design’ approach could offer the Learning Development community.

Author Biography

Catherine Turton, Solent University

Catherine Turton is a Learning Designer from Solent University, whose practice is informed by the Learning Development community. Catherine integrates Learning Development literature and perspectives into her support of course teams. Catherine is always looking for ways to further her understanding of the accessibility needs of students, and improve the digital accessibility in her work, so as to further support course teams to meet the needs of all learners. Catherine has a background in languages teaching and English for Academic Purposes (EAP).


Fallin, L. (2022) The Double Diamond: Fixing Higher Education Challenges. Available at: (Accessed: 14 August 2023).

JISC (2022) Approaches to curriculum and learning design across UK higher education. Report: November 2022. Available at: (Accessed: 14 August 2023).

Lillis, T. (2019) ‘“Academic literacies”: sustaining a critical space on writing in academia’, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Issue 15, November, pp.1-18.

The Design Council (n.d.) Framework for Innovation - Design Council. Available at: (Accessed: 14 August 2023).




How to Cite

Turton, C. (2023) “How learning development and learning design can inform each other: reflections and discussion points”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (29). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi29.1080.

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.