Programme Design

Duration 25 hours


This badge presents a support resource for programme development teams enabling them to design coherent and learner-centred higher education programmes.

It is intended for use at the start of the design process when the key decisions are made regarding the programme’s intended audience and overall purpose.

In line with the ECTS (2015), driven by EHEA, this four-step process is intentionally learner-centred in comparison to historically programme-centred design processes. It starts by establishing learner profiles, needs and aspirations. This information is then used to identify appropriate programme learning outcomes and learner outputs. The final steps provide guidance regarding the programme’s overall structure in terms of content, teaching, and assessment methods.

Engaging in the process as directed by the Higher Education Programme Design Badge results in the completion of a programme specification which can be used for stakeholder consultation and institutional approval purposes. It also provides the key scaffolding around which the detailed programme document can be developed.

You’ll Learn to

  • Establish the profile, needs and aspirations of the programme’s intended learners
  • Identify an appropriate set of key programme learning outcomes and outputs that learners will achieve and produce
  • Explore and propose a suitable programme structure and outline content to underpin the  learners’ educational development
  • Propose an authentic teaching, learning and assessment strategy to support and evidence the learners’ achievements

On earning your open badge award for this course, you will have achieved further recognition in the following domains of the National Professional Development Framework for Staff who Teach:

  • Domain 3 Professional Communication and Dialogue emphasises the importance of excellent, clear and coherent communication skills within the changing learning environment.
  • Domain 4 Professional Knowledge and Skills ensures the individual remains current in terms of their professional/disciplinary knowledge and can implement teaching, learning and assessment approaches which promote active learning and are underpinned by a strong evidence base.

Course Developers

This open course has been developed by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with:

Dr Fiona O’Riordan

Dublin City University

Dr Tomas MacEochagain

Griffith College

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Facilitator Led

Learn as part of a group in an upcoming facilitator led programme


Facilitator-led courses run at different times throughout the year and result in a digital badge. Some are entirely online, some are blended, and others face-to-face. Additional facilitator training may be provided so that you can later facilitate your own open course.

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Next Start Date: Autumn 2024

Developer Materials (OER)

All materials generated during the development of this open course have been created (or adapted, subject to licence permissions) for use under a CC BY-NC 4.0 licence as open education resources (OER).

Individuals are free to use, share, repurpose, and remix this material. Materials may include face-to-face workshop materials and eLearning materials.

Important: Individuals are required to hold an open course facilitator badge to be eligible to issue open course badges. Learn more