Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education


Learning Design SIG webinar on exploring the value of Design Thinking for higher education, 29 April 2022

Design Thinking approaches have informed creative and participatory decision making, problem identification and solution design in corporate, creative and community contexts since the late 1950s. Recent research and practice has explored the application of design thinking in the context of learning and curriculum design in higher education.  In this session Susie Macfarlane and Jane Kiddell explored definitions and principles, shared experiences using Design Thinking and Co-design mindsets and considered the next steps for applying this approach to the session participant’s own practices.

Jane Kiddell is Lecturer, Learning Futures, in the Learning Innovations (Health) team at Deakin University. She has been digressing at the boundaries of education and learning technology for more than 20 years. Jane thrives on working together with academics, learners and colleagues to co-create authentic, inclusive learning experiences and strategic projects using human centered and design thinking approaches.

Susie Macfarlane (Associate Professor, Learning Futures) leads the Learning Innovations team in the Faculty of Health at Deakin University. Susie’s research and practice focus on promoting the agency and unleashing the creativity of students and educators in higher education, and her strategic leadership is informed by her background as a psychologist and educator, and her studies in design, computing, systems thinking and participatory leadership.

Jane and Susie co-lead the Co-design+Design Thinking Community of Practice at Deakin University.

The contemporary role of the Learning Designer: ideas and challenges in education and training, 18 March 2022

Learning designers are one of the most sought after roles in tertiary, vocational and corporate education. There are dozens of opportunities available for newly graduated LDs. Yet, at the same time, the historic confusion about the role of the learning designer continues unchallenged. What does it mean to be a learning designer? How is that changing in the present – and how might it change in the future? Perhaps even more importantly, with the growth of the industry, what skills are required for a learning designer? How will learning design integrate (if it does) with learning analytics? Or virtual reality?

In this webinar, Keith Heggart, the course coordinator for the Graduate Certificate in Learning Design at UTS, drew on his experiences developing the course to reflect on how he sought to develop the next generation of learning designers. He discussed both the structure and the approach involved in the course development and reflected on the kinds of skills and knowledges that are central to modern learning design.

Experiential learning and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 19 Nov 2021

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is rapidly changing the way we live, work and learn. Business systems and process are becoming more streamlined and increasingly run by algorithms, AI and robotics. As a result, the industry requires new and additional skillsets from graduates. As equally as important as industry specific ‘hard skills’ are the ‘smart, soft’ behavioural skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, decision making, problem solving and empathy.

This presentation, delivered by Torrens University Australia Senior Learning Experience Designers, Dr Anu Khara and Nikki Donald, focused on how experiential learning theory, supported by the innovative use of technology can support students develop these smart soft skills using simulated and first person scenarios.

Anu and Nikki also presented a collaborative project led by the Product Innovation team at TUA to create, develop and implement authentic learning experiences using Extended Reality (XR) technology. The project is redefining the student learning experience in hospitality education for both practical, applied skills and smart soft skills, including empathy, conflict resolution and customer service. Combining research and technology to create an informed learning design strategy, the project aims to transform students learning experiences as the university embraces a digitally transforming future of higher education.

Speakers: Dr Anuradha Khara and Nikki Donald

Anu and Nikki are Senior Learning Experience Designers with Torrens University Australia. They lead, guide and manage teams of Learning Experience Designers and are SME’s in curriculum design contributing to faculty decision making and course accreditation.

Anu holds a PhD in Education. Her passion for Computer Programming and French language took her to France where she completed French Language Teachers’ Training Program and a Master’s degree in Computer Assisted Language Learning. The combination of these two programs helped gear her up to be an educator who understands the relationship between content, pedagogy and effective ways to integrate technology to make learning engaging.

Nikki is currently studying for a Masters of Education: Innovation and Change. She has 20 years’ experience in design and adult education, including corporate training, VET and Higher Ed. She is passionate about ed-tech, social justice and First Nations Reconciliation. Nikki is committed to designing learning experiences that empower students and instigate positive social change.

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