Learning Design Agency

The Learning Design Agency (LDA) is a curriculum enhancement function that will support, facilitate and help design conversations that draw upon Student Education expertise from both within and outside the University.

The LDA is a new approach to supporting Schools during this next important stage of Curriculum Redefined.

What will the LDA do?

Video transcript: An Introduction to the Learning Design Agency.

The LDA will:

  • Provide individual support arrangements to Schools as they work through and confirm their Portfolio Development Plan (PDP) and ‘Plan on a Page’ (POAP).
  • Work with schools and/or groups of programme teams to align the vision for programmes to the refreshed approach to the Leeds Curriculum. The LDA will focus on working in partnership with schools and their students to: 
    • contextualise the Leeds Curriculum within the School’s own identity 
    • understand the Student Education themes the school has prioritised moving forwards with curriculum redesign (it is anticipated that all schools will need to consider and evidence their broad approach to assessment during this stage of the process)
  • Identify specific activity that is personalised to the individual school and/or group of programmes. Provide ongoing support and partnership, ensuring the satisfactory delivery of an agreed set of curriculum based outcomes.
  • Cohere the appropriate programme approval events for programme leaders to describe how the composition and delivery approach for modules contribute to the overall programme vision. This will include:
    • how it delivers the key academic literacies, skills, competencies and understanding relevant to the specific discipline or subject area
    • how the approach to assessment ensures that students have a fair and inclusive opportunity to demonstrate the achievement of programme learning outcomes and relevant standards.

How will the LDA do this?

LDA activity will take a human-centred design approach to engaging and working with Schools and/or groups of programme teams. This approach to learning design will introduce new ways of collaboration that focuses on timely sprints and ongoing updates to maintain a rhythm and focus. They will achieve this by:

  • promoting a co-creation approach to curriculum and learning design and/or redesign that focuses on the specific and individual needs of the students and the school and/or groups of programmes.
  • introducing new tools and facilitation approaches to support innovation in curriculum and learning design, and reinforce good, evidence-informed pedagogical practice that aligns with:
    • student partnership
    • the lived experience of all those involved
    • the refreshed approach to Leeds Curriculum and LeedsforLife
    • the agreed principles of inclusive, active and digitally enhanced pedagogies.
  • ensuring seamless and timely access to the relevant internal and external expertise that draws on student associates, and academic and professional student education leads.
  • embedding a human-centred design approach to devising and implementing new or enhanced learning, teaching, and other associated activities that is based on iteration and prototyping.

Leadership and community 

The Agency is not a new ‘department’ or ‘organisational unit’, it’s a new approach to supporting and enabling curriculum design across our portfolio of programmes. Find out more about our Leadership team and how they can help you.

Leadership team

  • James Pickering, Academic Director
  • Louise Woodcock, Business Lead
  • Iria Lopez, Senior Designer
  • Terry Owens, Head of Operations

This team will serve the key function of coordinating, designing and aggregating the specific requirements for Learning Design for individual schools and/or groups of programme teams where appropriate.

Academic Design Consultants:

Our Academic Design Consultants (ADCs) are academics who specialise in supporting the schools' academic design needs within the University.

  • Caitriona Dennis
  • Cathy Malone
  • Eva Sansavior
  • Cynthia Heiner
  • Allie Mills
  • Richard de Blacquiere-Clarkson

Our community

A key element of this organisation will be drawing upon a LDA community – the central and local academic and professional service Student Education leads. This community will be the key ‘experts in the room’, bringing their wealth of experience and knowledge to the conversation. To facilitate this approach to collaborative working we will hold engagement events with this community alongside a broader communication plan.

‘How Might We’ guides

To support the delivery of the LDA, colleagues from this constituency have been developing a series of ‘How Might We’ guides to provide conversation starters, prompts and entry material for discussion on all aspects of our Student Education delivery.

These guides include subjects such as: Belonging and Inclusive Learning and Teaching Practice, Active Learning, Authentic Assessment, Applied Ethics, Sustainability, Enterprise, etc. These support resources will be made available as part of a programme of activity that aims to profile and promote these areas of student education through workshops and events.

For more information, see the ‘How Might We’ PDF guides on the How Might We page.

Transformative Educators 

Academic Development Consultants based in Organisational Development and Professional Learning (ODPL), the department of the university responsible for providing the full range of services in professional development including in student education, alongside the newly appointed Curriculum Redefined Teaching and Scholarship lecturers, will form an important partnership and ongoing link between the School and /or Programme team and the LDA. This will ensure the necessary rhythm and support networks are in place for the successful delivery of planned work.


For enquiries about how the Learning Design Agency can assist you in achieving your goals, please email the Learning Design Agency team at learningdesign@leeds.ac.uk.