Roozekrans described his design vision in his book ‘How to Create Better Ideas (2020). The Snake model consists of six steps, which he explains in detail.
Course design focuses on realising a proper student learning process and a supportive learning environment based on the pedagogical concept. Studying his book, I could recognise some design characteristics that should be given more thought in course and curriculum design.
- The design creates value.
- An excellent design process has two sites: divergence and convergence. For example:
- Course design is a process that starts with a thorough understanding of the relevant educational and disciplinary topics by conducting literature research about the design task or problem. The teacher designers build an in-depth understanding of their problems or wishes during the design process. They use sources with authority (e.g. scientific evidence, the experiences of trusted colleagues or educational experts). They should not stop thinking after their first (excellent) idea but should consider possible alternatives and analyse whether these could be better solutions for the original problem or wish.
- The next step is to develop original ideas and solutions for the course design that the teachers and students can value. The process continues by refining or changing the ideas. Like researchers, designers try to find elegant solutions to their problems. I will not attempt to explain the term elegantly. Maybe coherence, cleverness or foxiness are good terms.
According to Roozekrans: ‘A good design solution is hardly ever a lucky shot, but more likely, the results of the thorough design process. Knowing the process gives you a foundation and structure to optimise the results. Just following the steps is not enough, and it needs passion and full dedication to find goods and mixed solutions/results and create high-quality output’.
- Making mistakes is typical in the design process; you analyse your faults, learn and formulate new and better ideas. Teacher designers should celebrate trial and error and critical thinking. Teacher designers need a certain eagerness or drive, a determination to solve an educational problem or special wish and an interest in finding relevant, maybe unexpected, solutions.
- Visualising is testing. Visualising is a reality check to see what is working and what is missing. In course design, possible visualisations can be made of the learning process. Therefore, one of the things that must be done in design learning is to develop more possible visualisations that can be used in the design process. Some examples are the diamond diagram, the route map, the blueprint or a storyline. The teacher designer should be a good craftsperson, know how to analyse and describe education and understand learning methods and materials.
Roozenkrans, J. (2020). How to create better ideas. Connecting the left and right brain in the design process. Amsterdam: BISpublishers.
The possible consequences for Course design are described in Chapter 18.2.1 in Jan Nedermeijer, Evidence-Based Blended and Online Learning (2023). Brill: Leiden, Boston (in press).