SFU Masters of Educational Technology and Learning Design

  • Provides a historically-grounded treatment of the constructive role of technologies in the transmission and production of cultural knowledge and understanding. Students develop a grasp of the ways in which technologies have mediated and transformed the nature of knowledge, the knower, and processes of coming to know.
  • Engages students in a critical analysis of learning design theory, including the underlying assumptions these embrace about knowledge, learning, the learner, learning technologies and the nature of instruction. Students will examine the appropriateness of media and learning technologies to support teaching and learning, and create a learning design according to a principled approach.
  • Design principles for multimedia learning are derived from the theories and research of cognitive science. Topics include: tutorial interactions, history of adaptive learning systems, adapting to individual differences, dialogues with teachers (and other agents), problem solving and cognitive load, learning from multimedia, cognitive principles for document design, tools for self-regulated learning, intrinsic and situational motivation, simulations and self-regulated inquiry, inquiry with microworlds and cognitive tools, multimedia scenarios for anchored instruction.
  • Reviews constructive approaches to integrating learning technologies, provides analysis tools from cultural historical activity theory, reviews impact of organizational culture and draws on visualization of social activity networks. Organization and change strategies are examined in higher, school and workplace learning; providing a source for designing organizational learning technologies.
  • Examines methods, practices and thinking of direct value in improving quality and use of learning technologies. Students experience leading software tools for observational analysis, qualitative research and digital ethnography. We consider computer-supported methods for learning technology professionals and for assessing learning technology programs.
  • This course focuses on the variety of methods used to collect and analyze data in research on learning technologies. This includes coverage of both basic methodological issues important to research in any educational field (reliability/trustworthiness, validity/triangulation, analytical rigor, warranting of knowledge claims) as well as new and innovative techniques enabled by (and at times, required by) new technologies. Importantly this course is not focused on learning about research, but on learning to do research. Thus the core project is working to conduct an actual research study. Class readings, discussions, and exercises will all be designed to support students in the research process and significant class time will be spent working on the projects.


  • The career path of distance education professionals; whether in academia, government, or the private sector; eventually leads to some form of management position. In these positions they are often asked to either create a new distance education unit/organization or re-engineer an education or training organization into one that embraces distance education methods. The creation and management of distance education organizations and/or units requires special skills and knowledge.

    Piskurich & Sanders (1998) as part of an ASTD study identified a list of competencies for professionals involved in the design, development, implementation and management of distance learning technologies. Some of the proposed implementation and management competencies covered skills and knowledge related to: change management; leadership; industry awareness; business knowledge; project management; communications; and, implementation and support. Specific competencies required to manage a distance education enterprise included:

    1. Understand the current and future climate of the distance education and distance learning industry, and formulate strategies to respond to that climate.

    2. Demonstrate awareness of distance education organization business functions and how business decisions affect financial and non-financial work results.

    3. Supervise the selection of learning technologies and assure that these selections meet organizational needs.

    4. Understand the relative costs of each distribution method, or combination of methods, and assure that the organization is receiving a good value for the dollars spent on these technologies.

    MDDE 605 will endeavour to provide the Athabasca University MDE community with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively plan and implement a distance education organization. The course and your instructor will guide you through the planning and implementation process. The assignments will be founded on a problem of your choosing that requires you to progressively create an implementation plan for a new or re-engineered distance education enterprise.


  • This course provides practical experience with online technologies currently used in distance education, and allows critical assessment of them. The course uses various technologies to present material, to announce course-related activities, and for communication with the instructor and other course members.

    The following are some of the technologies examined during the course.

    1) Asynchronous tools
    2) Synchronous conferencing methods
    3) Course/learning management systems
    4) Social software applications
    5) Mobile learning (pod/video-casting)

    Students who are already using technology in specific distance education contexts can base their course studies around this experience. Newcomers to the educational technology field may follow less applied interests in
    their course work.

  • Students submit this form, with signatures, at least 2-3 weeks before the Issue Date. You need to
    register in EDUC 883-5 before the last day for graduate students to add courses or register late per
    the current SFU calendar. You must be registered in EDUC 883-5 before any part of the comprehensive examination is issued. See overleaf and the Faculty of Education GraduatePrograms Policies, Procedures & Protocols Handbook for important information about thecomprehensive examination.