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ABC Learning Design at Laurea and Laurea´s ABC-cards

With ABC Learning Design -method it is possible to develop the student learning experience not just the end result but also the process. Laurea has also created it´s own Learning Design cards to facilitate the process and in which Learning by Developing (LbD) pedagogical action model has also been taken into account.

In Laurea ABC-method has been used in pedagogical workshops parallel to the transition to a new learning management system. These workshops has been mandatory to all Laurea UAS staff who are involved in teaching activities. Other use for ABC-method is for example to renew study units/courses to decrease drop outs of students from courses.

What is learning design?

Learning design means process of developing and/ or renewing learning involved units (such as assignments, study units/ courses) which are carried out systemically and collaboratively. Learning design sets the focus on the students’ learning experience in the course . It also takes into account digital solutions in a pedagogically meaningful way. With learning design it is also possible to document and model good practices.


ABC Learning Design is a method by which using teacher teams will create visual manuscript from the certain study unit/ course. Method consists of 90 minute long workshop. ABC-method is taking into account different ways of learning and digital solutions to support those.

Various ways of learning are presented in each card. Those are placed in storyboard template to build up visual manuscript for the study unit/ course. In each card there is a description of how the named way of learning can be used in class and online teaching. To fill in learning types -form at the beginning and at the end of workshops is it easy to see what was the starting point and how the study unit/ course has developed during the workshop.

Original ABC Learning Design -cards are based on theory by Diana Laurillard (2012) about how students learn. This theory is called Conversational Framework and it has been described in book teaching as a Design Science (2012). Method has also been utilized in global Erasmus+ -project due to which method´s utilization nowadays is relatively international.

Example of visual manuscript

Example of visual manuscript

Compared to other learning design methods, ABC-method is rather quick to use and it is truly student- and learner-centred. Utilization of ABC-method also stimulates interaction between and within teacher teams.

ABC-method can be adapted easily into planning of different kind of study units/ courses and ABC-workshops can also be arranged in online format. Global Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 forced Laurea to digitalize the method. ABC online workshops were flexible to arrange in online format, see blog post about the topic. Teachers did the visual manuscript either in word or in Padlet.

Visual manuscript in Word

ABC Learning Design -method has also been reshaped for Laurea´s needs and as the end product of this process Laurea´s own ABC-cards were developed. Laurea´s pedagogical action model Learning by Developing (LbD) can be seen from the cards.

Laurea´s ABC-cards

Laurea´s ABC-cards has been formed based on cards by University College London (UCL), Lund University and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Learning types, demonstrated in these cards suitable both in class and online teaching, are:

  • Orientation
  • Gathering and adopting information
  • Collaborative learning
  • Learning through discussion
  • Learning by developing LbD
  • Practice-based learning assignment
  • Production of new knowledge and skills

Laurea´s ABC-cards

Download Laurea´s ABC-cards (in Finnish)

ABC-method literature


Laurea´s ABC-cards in use

In Finnish: ABC Oppimisen muotoilu ja Laurean ABC-kortit (link to Finnish webpage)

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