It’s a truly exciting time to work in education.

Virtually all aspects of higher ed are transforming at once, and the pace is only accelerating. Learning experiences are integrating more authentic as-you-go assessments; universities are building courseware production teams to develop top-quality online lessons; career readiness is becoming a key focus.

On July 21, educators from around Australian and international universities came together in Melbourne to take the next step forward, move away from purely theoretical discussion, and delve into how innovative practices happening right now are dramatically improving student learning.

Together, academia and industry can collaborate to create higher-quality, research-backed learning solutions that positively impact every learner.

Highlights from the Learning Innovation Summit 2017

  • 270 attendees
  • 61 institutions
  • 44 presenters
  • 100s of LIS17 tweets

Top 5 things we took away from LIS17

  1. Educators are putting renewed focus on innovating the way students are learning in order to improve outcomes – by embracing technology and learner-centred design techniques.
  2. Online learning today is low-quality because educators try to force face-to-face content to fit into an online format. Higher-quality experiences are created by designing from the bottom up, so the content fits the medium and fully takes advantage technology’s capabilities.
  3. Courseware production teams plays a key role in the success of a new learning program. We must hire more people, train them in learning design and technology, and start creating great courseware.
  4. All too often, the biggest barrier to success is budget. We need to go out of our way to find it.
  5. Previously, the majority of institutions relied on outside partnerships to design and develop online content. Now, with the growing desire to create smart lessons, smart courses, and even smart degrees, universities are creating smart learning experiences internally.
Recent innovation in technology has transformed education; and it’s not just new business models being invented, it’s entirely new ways to learn and teach.
—Learning Innovation Summit Committee

Lightning Talks from Leading Educators

Dr. Bridget Burns
Dr. Bridget Burns

Higher Ed’s Innovation Dilemma: Move Faster Together, or Go Slow Alone

Across the globe, universities are grappling with diverse and complex challenges, forcing them to look beyond their campus for new ideas and inspiration. Dr. Burns discusses how one particular app or best practice won’t suffice; but improving the way technologies and new solutions are shared and scaled throughout the sector has the potential to fundamentally change the way we serve both students and society.

Dr. Dror Ben-Naim
Dr. Dror Ben-Naim


We’re living in the midst of a transformation within higher education. With the university-led support and the right technology, we can fix age-old problems plaguing higher education to: increase retention & completion; replace one-size-fits-all classroom learning; provide more authentic learner assessment; scale learning experiences without losing quality; create pedagogical accountability; and measure the ROI of learning innovation.

Professor Beverley Oliver
Professor Beverley Oliver

Skills in Demand, on Demand: New Credentials for New Careers

Employers expect fresh graduates to possess discipline knowledge, as well as skills in communication, digital literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, self-management, teamwork, and global citizenship. Professor Oliver discusses the disconnect between degrees and careers, and how they’re solving for it.

Dr. Ariel Anbar
Dr. Ariel Anbar

A New Teaching Approach: Education Through Exploration

Education Through Exploration is a new theory of learning design championed at Arizona State University. Dr. Anbar discusses how to inspire curiosity and reasoning in students by teaching them to embrace exploration of the unknown, not just mastery of what is known.

James Bell
James Bell

Harnessing Adaptive Tech to Redefine Our Brand

During a rebranding effort, the Linx Institute took the time to begin incorporating adaptive learning technology to improve student outcomes in their courses. James discusses the “why” and “how” of their successful implementation.

Siva Navaratnam
Siva Navaratnam

Three-Pronged Approach to Improving Engagement with Dry Topics

ANZ leveraged adaptive learning technology to deliver more effective and relevant risk training to its global workforce. Siva shares how they rolled out personalized learning to more than 30 countries and over 50,000 international staff.

Dr. Nick Hawkins
Dr. Nick Hawkins

Adding New Dimensions to Virtual Medical Images

The BEST Network is a not-for-profit network of biomedical schools developing and sharing next-generation courseware and technology. Dr. Hawkins discusses their work and launches a new tool to enable the best biomedical education.

Dr. David Bond
Dr. David Bond

Working Together to Teach Threshold Concepts

Accounting is a discipline students often struggle to understand. Dr. Bond discusses how UTS is using adaptive learning to guide students through important threshold concepts and help 2000+ students per year succeed in accounting courses.

Geoff Howard
Geoff Howard

Combining Best-in-Breed Content, Technology, and Instruction

Geoff Howard and Margo Griffith worked together at Cengage Learning transformed a one-size-fits-all textbook into a personalized and engaging online learning experience to make learning more accessible.

Tim Dodd
Tim Dodd

Experts Panel: "Fresh Solutions to Old Problems"

Does innovation actually help us solve problems, or does it distract us from more practical conversations? Hosted by AFR, the panel discussion helped us understand the promise of modern learning innovation and what else we can do to move the needle on improving student success.

Maria Spies
Maria Spies

What's Going on in Australian EdTech Startups?

Higher education is widely regarded as a vehicle for driving innovation. EduGrowth, a partnership between several higher education institutions to foster startup growth, hand-picked five startups to share their innovative learning solutions helping students succeed.

Show & Tell Projects

Molecular Biology: Learning by Doing

University of New England

Key Maths Skills Package

Griffith University

Coursera MOOC: Academic Skills Capstone Project

University of Sydney

Professional Practice Credentials and Degrees

Deakin University, DeakinCo.

Online Corporate Finance Course

Cengage Learning

21st Century Digital Literacy

La Trobe University

Scientific Report Writing and Grading

Melbourne University

SLICE: Collaborative Medical Image Bank

BEST Network

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