Carpe Diem (sieze the day) is a structured, collaborative, workshop-based approach to e-learning course design developed by Gilly Salmon and her colleagues. Gilly is best known for her incredibly useful, no nonsense, utterly pragmatic approach to the mediation of online learning described in her two texts: e-moderating, and e-tivities.
I had first hand experience of the Carpe Diem workshop approach when Bill Anderson (from the University of Otago’s Centre for Distance Education and Learning Technologies) invited me to offer instructional design input into a workshop he was running for academic staff. The structure of the two-day workshop is so participant (and course) centered that on the first day I found myself wandering from group to group trying to be helpful but feeling at a loose end. My Scottish Calvinist work ethic was becoming a little frayed at the edges. However, by day two, when participants turned their attention to the practical business of planning particular e-tivities for their courses, then the resource people (instructional designers, learning technologists and librararians) were in high demand.
All in all it was a very persuasive example of the value of participant-led design and of improvisation within a clear structure and with access to support and resources. Evidence for the effectiveness of the approach is suggested in several studies including this one by Mayes et al (2009).
See Gilly’s website for more information about the Carpe Diem approach.
Image credit | Tony Carr