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Transforming online teaching and learning: towards learning design informed by information science and learning sciences

Nobuko Fujita (Office of Open Learning, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 22 July 2020

Issue publication date: 10 August 2020




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the practical work of learning designers with the aim of helping members of the information science (IS) and learning sciences (LS) communities understand how evidence-informed learning design of online teaching and online learning in higher education is relevant to their research agendas and how they can contribute to this growing field.


Illustrating how current online education instructional designs largely ignore evidence from research, this paper argues that evidence from IS and LS can encourage more effective and nuanced learning designs for e-learning and online education delivery and suggest how interdisciplinary collaboration can advance shared understanding.


Recent reviews of the learning design show that tools and techniques from the LS can support students in self-directed and self-regulated learning. IS studies complement these approaches by highlighting the role that information systems and computer–human interaction. In this paper, the expertise from IS and LS are considered as important evidence to improve learning design, particularly vis-à-vis digital divide concerns that students face during the COVID-19 pandemic.


This paper outlines important ties between the learning design, LS and IS communities. The combined expertise is key to advancing the nuanced design of online education, which considers issues of social justice and equity, and critical digital pedagogy.



This article is part of the special issue, “A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education” which contains shorter, rapid-turnaround invited works, not subject to double-blind peer review. The issue was called, managed and produced on a short timeline in Summer 2020 towards pragmatic instructional application in the Fall 2020 semester.

The author would like to thank Stephanie Danell Teasley and Chris Teplovs from the University of Michigan School of Information, and the University of Windsor Office of Open Learning Team for their feedback on the manuscript and support.


Fujita, N. (2020), "Transforming online teaching and learning: towards learning design informed by information science and learning sciences", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 7/8, pp. 503-511.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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