A pedagogical approach to unit design means using technology to support learning and teaching and developing graduate capabilities.

The unit design should support the provision of engaging, active learning experiences for a diverse range of students.

Select the links below for more information about implications of practice for the various LEO unit design principles.

The unit design constructively aligns the graduate attributes, learning outcomes, assessment tasks, learning activities and content.

Implications for practice

  • Unit design provides content that is sequenced and structured in a manner that enables students to achieve the stated learning outcomes.
  • Unit design provides content that gives sufficient opportunities for students to develop graduate attributes and professional competencies/capabilities.
  • The constructive alignment of the unit design is regularly reviewed.


Teaching support program (TSP). The program is aimed at staff who are interested in or responsible for unit design and focuses on unit mapping, digital tools and active learning.

Designing learning activities includes a range of suggested learning activities and how to align these between assessment and the learning outcomes in a unit.

Biggs, J. B. & Tang, Catherine (2011). Teaching For Quality Learning At University (4th ed.).

While the whole book is relevant the following two chapters provide a lot of the background to the information presented in Session 1, Chapter 6: Constructively aligned teaching and assessment and Chapter 7: Designing intended learning outcomes.

LEO Guides

The unit design is based on the principles of adult learning, student centredness and authentic and active learning experiences.

Implications for practice

  • All activities are designed to scaffold the achievement of the stated unit learning outcomes and assessments.
  • Unit design aims to offer students an equivalent learning experience regardless of their study mode.
  • Synchronous and asynchronous learning technologies promote active learning and ‘real life’ experiences.
  • Unit design should be reviewed for both relevance of design and learning activity selection.
  • Unit design incorporates opportunities for communication and interaction amongst students and staff.
  • Unit design is consistent with the Checklist for the Minimum Use of LEO document and the Lecture Capture policy.


Teaching Support Program (TSP) The Live classroom 4 session explains the reasons why active learning is a key element in learning design. This resource applies learning design/active learning concepts and principles to the planning of learning activities.

Teaching Online > Being a successful online teacher

Unit 5: Using assessment in online teaching

Unit 2: A deeper dive: Theories for learner-centred online pedagogy

Goodyear, P. (2015) Teaching as Design. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, Volume 2, July, pp 27-50.

Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning: A study of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning methods discovered that each supports different purposes. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 31(4).

Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N. (1997). The Experience of Learning: Implications for Teaching and Studying in Higher Education (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, Scottish Academic Press.

Morrison, D. (2015) Four-Step Strategy to Create Active Learning in Any Learning Space - Online, F2F or Blended, Online Learning Insights, September 2.

Pedagogical approaches drive the selection and use of learning technologies.

Implications for practice

  • Learning technologies are used strategically, with intent and pedagogical purpose, in order to underpin learning outcomes.


There are also a of useful resources on the Learning and Teaching website with regard to technology enhanced learning

The unit design acknowledges the diversity of the student population.

Implications for practice

  • Units are designed to meet the needs of the differing student population, updated discipline content or professional standards and work practices.
  • Units respond to teaching practices, delivery modes and emerging learning and teaching technologies and social media.
  • Unit design applies the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) (http://www.udlcenter.org/)
  • At the core of Universal Design for Learning is the principle of inclusiveness and equity: UDL provides equal access to learning, not simply equal access to information.
  • Approaches to teaching and learning for this diverse student cohort are:
    • usable
    • equitable
    • inclusive, and
    • sustainable.
  • Unit design is reviewed for both relevance of design and learning activity selection.


Teaching Online > Design and developing an online course

Unit 2: Things to consider before starting to design your course

Unit 3: Creating your course

Unit 4: Improving your online course designs

Disability services for staff: legislation policy, guidelines and training, inherent requirements and other resources.

Additional policies, procedures and standards relevant to your teaching:

National center on universal design for learning provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials and assessments that work for the individual needs of the leaner.

Centre for universal design Australia: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Effective unit design necessitates faculty/interfaculty collaboration.

Implications for practice

  • The unit design process demonstrates collaboration, with faculty members knowing where the unit resides within the broader course structure/curriculum.
  • The unit design addresses inter-relationships and co-dependencies between units with regards to pre/co-requisites, content and assessments.
  • Design of LEO units focus on the interdisciplinary-multidisciplinary nature of teaching within the faculty.


Introduction to Learning and Teaching Introduces new academics to their academic role at ACU and helps them find appropriate and helpful information addressing many questions that arise during academic teaching and learning activities such as policy, associated procedural requirements, details of how these procedures are operationalised at ACU, the names and roles of key contacts and support provisions.

ACU Social Media policy

ACU Study modes provides more information about blended learning and the three key study modes (attendance, multi-mode and online)

Blended learning: 6 case studies includes interviews with various ACU academic staff who discuss their approaches to blended learning; multiple campuses; flipped classroom; creating connections and experiential learning.

LEO Guides > Getting Started - roles and responsibilities

Designing learning activities includes a range of suggested learning activities and how to align these between assessment and the learning outcomes in a unit.

Peer Observation and Review of Teaching (PORT) provides an opportunity for ongoing improvement of teaching and learning practice through peer collaboration, discussion and the dissemination of ideas and good practice.

Page last updated on 04/03/2020

Learning & teaching

Please contact the Learning and Teaching Centre for professional development, resources and advice for your learning and teaching needs at ACU.

LEO support

Available 8am-10pm Sydney time, Mon to Fri,
9am-5pm Weekends and public holidays
Closed Good Friday and Christmas

LEO Guides
LEO Guides feedback