LearningOS: Designing Your Next Generation Digital Learning Environment

Workshop Session 2

Brief Abstract

How might you implement your next generation digital learning environment? In this workshop, participants will prototype their next digital learning environment and produce a digital learning ecosystem map. Through this design thinking process, we will identify existing and emerging technologies as parts of your next gen learning ecosystem.


Mike Goudzwaard is a Learning Designer for in-person and online courses at Dartmouth College and a mentor and supervisor in the college’s Learning Assistant program. He works with faculty to empower student learning through community engagement, emerging instructional pedagogy, and educational technology. Mike is the Lead Designer and Developer for Dartmouth's digital learning initiatives. He leads the Learning Design group of technologists, faculty developers, and pedagogy experts who work to align space and technical resources for learning at Dartmouth. Mike writes at mgoudz.com/blog.
When Renee is not running design thinking workshops, teaching improv or telling blockchain jokes, she is leading Higher Education Strategy at EdSurge. She has worked on many levels at colleges (including at UCLA and Stanford University) and previously co-founded an edtech company. Her favorite resume moments include serving as a student advisor both in the US and abroad, and working to establish General Assembly’s San Francisco campus. She holds a Master’s in Human Rights Education from the University of San Francisco and a BS from California Polytechnic at San Luis Obispo, as well as a series of certifications in design thinking, product management, and partnership development. After traveling and teaching through over 40 countries, cooking is her therapy and she believes there is no better way to bring people together than a shared purpose.

Extended Abstract

Institutions are expanding their digital learning ecosystems to include tools and technologies inside and outside their learning management system (LMS) (Brown, 2017). This often presents a confusing matrix of options to students trying to navigate a digital learning journey and faculty trying to design a digital learning experience. The focus on tools and functionality can distract us from the larger, pedagogical goal of evolving agile and flexible digital learning ecosystems on our campuses, resulting in an overbuilt system with too many features that most teachers and students never use (Finkelstein and Goudzwaard, 2016).

The LMS is not dead, however implementing a next generation digital learning environment will need to focus on three characteristics to remain relevant: agility, simplicity, and interoperability (Goudzwaard, Finkelstein and Petersen, 2017). In this workshop, participants will work in small groups to identify a digital learning challenge relevant to their own contexts and use the design thinking process to 1) empathize, 2) define, 3) ideate, 4) prototype, and 5) test in the development of next generation digital learning ecosystem map. Facilitators will bring examples from their own institutions, train participants in design thinking, model rapid-prototyping, and provide coaching and feedback to participants.

This session will explore strategies on how to engage stakeholders to implement a digital learning environment, with a particular focus on utilizing the design thinking process to help campus communities build an iterative approach to learning technology.

In this session, participants will:

  1. Articulate the challenges and limitations of existing digital learning tools and platforms.

  2. Identify a digital learning challenge that could be addressed with effective, appropriate tools and platforms.

  3. Utilize the design thinking process to create an implementation framework and ecosystem map that provides opportunity for iterative design of digital learning environments.

Session Participant Engagement Strategies:

Participants will provide input through through digital polling on their most pressing implementation issues, providing cases for group discussion and framing the workshop approach.

Working in small groups, participants will identify a digital learning implementation challenge and utilize the design thinking process to prototype digital learning tools and environments producing an ecosystem map.


Brown, M. (July/August 2017). The NGDLE: We are the architects. EDUCAUSE Review. (52), no. 4. Retrieved from: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/7/the-ngdle-we-are-the-architects

Finkelstein, A., & *Goudzwaard, M. (2016). The trouble with learning management. EdSurge. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-04-08-the-trouble-with-learning-management

Goudzwaard, M., Finkelstein, A., & *Petersen, R. (2017). LearningOS: The now generation digital learning environment. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/8/learningos-the-now-generation-digital-learning-environment