Ding’s Learning Design Library

Welcome to our library!

The Ding team have put together a list of articles, videos, books and links to help you explore learning design.

We’ve organised the library into our six core pillars of learning design: Empathy, Curriculum, Inclusivity, Technology, Facilitation and Community. We’ve also added a short introduction to give you some background and context to the discipline of learning design.

And we’re always adding to it, so if you come across a great resource please let us know!

The Ding Team

What is learning design?

Learning design is an ‘evolving discipline’. This is another way of saying it’s still quite new, and it can be difficult to describe. The resources in the section are intended to help you form your own opinions of what learning design is, where it’s come from, and where it’s going. 

  • What is learning design?
    This article explores the origins of learning design, and considers its similarities and differences with instructional design.
Ding's 6 colours of learning design


Great learning design starts with empathy. The resources below will help you deepen your understanding of how to use empathy to examine your learners’ motivations, needs, constraints, prior knowledge and skills.

  • Using empathy to unlock growth
    We’re great believers in the work of Carl Rogers. This article explains why Rogers’ believed empathy is integral to enabling a person to learn and grow.
Ding's Learning Design Library - Empathy
  • Action mapping
    In this blog post, Cathy Moore explains how to use the Action Mapping framework to empathise with clients and identify their needs.


Once you have begun empathising with your learners, you can then start to develop a suitable curriculum. The resources in this section provide guidance about core principles of curriculum design.

  • Introduction to backwards design
    When we’re designing learning, we start at the end by identifying the learning outcomes. Then we work backwards to develop assessments and activities that will enable learners to achieve these outcomes. This is often called ‘backwards design’, and this video explains how it works.
Curriculum - Ding's Learning Design Library
  • ABC learning design
    Diana Laurillard’s ABC learning design framework is a great starting point for curriculum design. In this video, she explains the 6 elements of the framework.
  • The hidden curriculum
    If we’re not careful, we can assess students on things we haven’t taught them. This short video highlights the dangers of the hidden curriculum and how to avoid them when designing learning experiences.
  • Make learning visible: an interview with John Hattie
    John Hattie undertook one of the biggest pieces of research ever into what works in teaching and learning design. In this podcast, he provides a summary of what he found, and explains why learning design should make learning visible. 


Ensuring all learners can access your curriculum is essential. These resources highlight common barriers to learning and how you can reduce and remove these barriers through good learning design. 

  • Reducing cognitive load
    Poor learning design can place unnecessary stress on students. In this article, Ding’s Ray Martin explains ways of reducing cognitive load.
  • Anticipating dyslexia
    If we assume a significant percentage of our learners will be dyslexia, we can designing learning experiences that improve learning for all learners.
Inclusivity - Ding's Learning Design Library
  • Neurodiversity and dyspraxia
    In this article, Mary Colley provides a detailed examination of neurodiversity and guidance on how we can support students with dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • The problem with learning styles
    Learning styles don’t exist, and yet the myth of learning styles persists. In this article, Sophie Allsopp summarises the literature debunking the concept of learning styles.
  • Understanding how we learn: A visual guide
    This book explores the intersection of learning, psychology and neurodiversity, and provides evidence-based recommendations on how to reduce barriers to learning through effective learning design.


Technology plays a huge part in learning design. But it can easily create more barriers to learning than it removes. The resources in this section provide a starting point for thinking critically about technology.

Technology - Ding's Learning Design Lilbrary
  • AI-powered learning design
    Learning scientist Dr. Philippa Hardman explains how she uses AI to design learning experiences. This article also contains a list of useful AI apps and tools that can be used to support learning design. 
  • Thinking critically about how we use technology
    Technology is not neutral. In this article, Nicola Muirhead reflects on how technology influences her students’ learning, and considers why we should tread carefully before introducing technology into a learning experience.



Carl Rogers believed that ‘it is not possible to teach another person directly, we can only facilitate their learning.’ We agree. Deep, transformative learning happens when we stop broadcasting information and begin creating the conditions for people to learn.

  • Freedom to learn
    This article summarises Rogers’ work on client-centred therapy, and explains how it influenced his views about how learning happens.
  • Facilitation in teaching and learning design
    This blog post examines the differences between ‘teaching’ and ‘facilitating’, and provides a useful starting point for considering how we might design learning experiences that place greater emphasis on facilitation.
Facilitation - Ding's Learning Design Library
  • Education as the practice of freedom
    Learning designers, just like teachers, have huge power to influence how learners view the world. This article provides an introduction to the theory of critical pedagogy and the work of Paolo Freire and bell hooks, and considers why we need to think more critically about the role of power in teaching and learning design.
  • The role of care in learning
    Once we reduce our focus on ‘delivering content’, we can create more space to consider what learners need to succeed. In this article, Alexandra Davenport explores how – and why – we should position care in learning design. 
  • Teaching to transform: the work of bell hooks
    bell hooks has written extensively about the transformational power of the classroom. This article explains how hooks was influenced by the theory of critical pedagogy, and provides a useful launchpad for considering how we might design more transformative learning experiences.



At Ding, we believe community is the ‘secret sauce’ of great learning design. These articles examine the value of designing community into learning experiences. 

Community - Ding's Learning Design Library
  • Introduction to communities of practice
    We all belong to communities, and they influence how we think and act in the world. This article introduces the concept of a community of practice and how it works.
  • Sense of community theory
    Learners’ ‘sense of community’ can significantly affect how they engage with learning. This article provides an introduction to the four components that underpin our sense of community, and provides a good basis for considering how we might leverage these components in learning design.
  • How to build an online learning community
    Building an online learning community isn’t easy, and it requires a significant amount of time and effort. This blog post from LearnWorlds provides some useful tips for developing the kind of social interaction that underpins an online learning community.

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