ABC went online and this is how we did it

ABC online

ABC method used for pedagogical upgrading in context of introducing a new LMS

Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Finland) is presently changing over to a new LMS. Instead of just copy pasting the current contents of the old platform to the new one, we are taking the opportunity for a pedagogical renewal of all teaching offered at Laurea. Thus, the courses are not only transferred to the new platform but at the same time re-designed in accordance with the jointly agreed design practices.

When inserting the courses to the new platform (Canvas LMS) all the lecturers (about 350) participate in a learning design workshop. The transition period is one year, which means a great number of pedagogical workshops. For these workshops, we decided to use the ABC LD method as it meets very well the concept of learning design and can be carried out in a short amount of time.
The lecturers participate in the workshops in teams and so far we have run 20 workshops offline and 15 workshops online. With “we” I refer to the digital Cell of Laurea (dCELL) and a group of digilecturers appointed throughout the six campuses of Laurea.

We have adopted the ABC cards to respond to Laurea’s pedagogical model (Learning by Developing). Also the duration of the workshop is adjusted to two hours to permit more discussion on the course contents. Often we have in the workshops lecturers who are teaching the same subject but in different campuses and need to reach a consensus on the course contents. Same thing happens when in one team there are teachers delivering their course online and others involved in F2F course modes.

Miia ja Paivi

Picture from a F2F workshop

On 16ht of March the Coronavirus obliged Laurea to shut down all its’ campuses all teaching went online. As the feedback from the ABC pedagogical workshops had been very positive and encouraging, we transferred the method online as follows:

The ABC Online Tookit:

Us being Finns, all material is in Finnish but the contents are familiar for those who have used the ABC LD:
– Workshop presentation (powerpoint like before)
– ABC cards (as pictures of the cards from both sides)
-An online form for the learning types: this is an excel sheet which can be filled in. It draws automatically the profile of the course as of the use of different learning types

– ABC storyboard: To work on the visual manuscript of the course the teacher teams are given two alternatives:
1) To use a storyboard built on a word document. In this document teachers can drag the ABC cards under each theme of the course and write comments

2) To use a Padlet formatted in the storyboard structure. The ABC cards are inserted in the Padlet and can be copied under the corresponding themes and complemented with details. Here is a link to the Padlet

So far, the lecturers have preferred to use the word –format.


Storyboard in word format


Storyboard in Padlet

The Workshop Process:
The workshops are delivered through Zoom sessions (could be Teams as well) in very much the same manner as if they would be carried out F2F. Due to technicalities, some time is always needed for adjusting the microphones, giving instructions on how to proceed in the breakout rooms, etc. For this reason, the tweet was dropped out from the learning types form.

After introducing the method (workshop presentation) teacher teams continue working in breakout rooms
– First filling in the learning types–form (which the trainer uploads in the chat and one person in each team downloads it to his/her desktop)
– Then designing the visual manuscript by using the storyboard (again, the trainer uploads the storyboard document to the chat or provides a link to Padlet)
At the end the teams fill in the learning types –form is filled in with a new evaluation of the kind of learning types being used as result of the workshop (the same person who downloaded the form in the beginning will upload it to the chat so that we can collect the data)
The final step is to decide on the follow-up actions of each course (the action plan is at the end of the word document)

Timing of the workshop:
Each workshop is different depending on the amount of participants and the kind of courses they are designing but we try to adhere to the following timing:

20 minutes for ABC LD method presentation (main room)
10 minutes for defining the learning types used currently in the course (in break out rooms)
10 minutes for instructions for filling in the storyboard (main room)
60 minutes for designing the manuscript in the storyboard (in break out rooms)
5 minutes for instruction for the last stage
10 minutes for defining the learning types used in the new manuscript and definition of the following steps to take (break out rooms)  and closing the workshop (main room)
In many ways it would be better to be able to deliver the workshops F2F, working on a big storyboard, placing the cards physically and being able to react of body language. However, I also find that the online method has its’ advantages. The online storyboard gives opportunity to write notes which and be saved. In addition, the storyboard can be easily archived and shared. For the trainers it is easy to move from one breakout room to another without disturbing the group work.

I hope that this description of our new way of using the ABC LD method could benefit other teachers willing to apply it online. Because it works 🙂

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10 vastausta to “ABC went online and this is how we did it”

  1. janewaite01 Says:

    Hello – Jane here. I wonder do you have an English translated version of your lovely Word version of the story board template?

  2. tuimars Says:

    Sent to your email 🙂

  3. tuimars Says:

    Hi Simon, will translate that doc to English and send it to you soon. I will also update the blog link so that the English version can be found there

  4. Grette Wilkinson Says:

    This is fantastic – I would also love an English version of the Excel and Word doc if you are happy to share –

  5. tuimars Says:

    Hi Grette. Done 🙂

  6. Priska Schoenborn Says:

    Dear colleagues from Laurea University, here at Plymouth University in England we are just starting to develop online ABC workshops and the information based on your experience is extremely useful to help us design our own – thank you for sharing the information on this site!

    Would it be possible please to send us the English version of the Excel sheet (learning type graphs) and Word documents (storyboard templates) and to give your permission for us to use these? We would of course acknowledge the source.

    We would also really appreciate if you were able to help us with these additional questions but understand if you can’t during these busy times:
    >Do you have any particular tips/insights/lessons learnt you could share?
    >How did you implement/roll out the ABC workshops? For example: is it open to all and voluntary; is it ’bottom-up’ where you or senior management target particular modules; is it ’top-down’ where you target particular programmes/courses; do you run workshops for a select group of people who are then responsible to run additional workshops in their departments and/or faculties? Any information or insights here would be really helpful.
    >Do you provide any follow-up support?

    We look forward to hearing from you. BW, Priska

  7. ABC Workshops at distance via padlet | Richard Treves Says:

    […] approach has been done in more detail by Laurea University who have written it up in detail. However, there are some significant […]

    • tuimars Says:

      Hi Richard, thanks a lot for sharing your experience on ABC Online. You have made the process smooth – yes, every change of platform takes time and can cause technical challenges. I also very much liked the first column for defining the target group.


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