It’s that time of year again. The summer holidays are almost over, the kids are going back to school and we’re packing up the workshop kit for another ALT-C. I’m really looking forward to this one. This time last year Elizabeth Ellis and I were presenting our digital personas. These were the outcome of the first phase of our research into the study behaviour of Open University students. They were a really helpful first step in helping us categorise the way our students currently approach their studies, and our persona dudes had quite an adventure in Liverpool.

Digital dudes missing in action

In this last year we’ve made some great progress. From those first findings we’ve been able to robustly validate 7 clear learning behaviours, and we’ve started to explore their application and tested some of these with students. We’ve explored emerging technologies and critical approaches to digital pedagogies. Pull all those elements together and what’s starting to emerge is a methodology for a behaviour-led approach to the design of future digital tools and spaces (next generation digital learning environments, if you will). This methodology is still in its embryonic stage, but we can’t wait to test it out at ALT-C. Based on the response and feedback, we’ll be refining and looking for ways to deliver it in ways that will have the greatest impact on shaping future developments. Our full research paper is available for download. We’ve also been nominated for an award! Shortlisted for ALT’s Learning Technology Research Project of the Year (you can still vote for us in the Community Awards). Our colleagues from the Learning Innovation team will be presenting several interesting sessions, as well. David Vince and Lawrence Kizilkaya will be demonstrating their ongoing developments in Virtual Reality for education, and Andrew McDermott will be presenting on why collaborative, digital by design authoring matters to staff and students. Members of the Learning Design team ‘across the aisle’ will be talking about using analytics for evidence-based interventions in live modules, as well as the importance of analytics in flipped learning. It’s a packed programme this year. As regular attendees of ALT-C, it’s always interesting to see how the programme emerges, and builds on the previous year. We’re pleased to see so many presentations on co-design experiences with students, and student-led development, as well as sessions that promise thoughtful, critical engagement with educational technology.