Designing collaborative learning spaces that support digital at Massey University

There is no doubt learning is changing. New technologies – such as interactive whiteboards, mobile and high quality digital learning resources – are transforming the experiences and ambitions of learners.

In response to the evolving digital environment, the last decade has seen institutions across the New Zealand higher education sector creating and designing innovative spaces that support flexible teaching and learning, in a bid to improve learning outcomes, enhance digital literacy and optimize the student experience.

With the Ministry of Education recently reporting that approximately 90 per cent of New Zealand’s educational institutions are currently exploring the direct correlation between space and technology, it appears many universities are already realizing the benefits new learning styles, supported by good space design, can provide.

For Massey University, the concept of ‘new generation learning’ is not new. The University has for over fifty years been New Zealand’s leading distance provider of higher education and has kept pace with innovation, shifting from traditional learning modes through to a sophisticated digital platform. Since 2008, the University has been actively future-proofing its buildings to better engage students, staff and visitors through the use of innovative space design, along with technologically enabled pedagogies.

And while the journey so far has not been without challenges, the transition to new innovative learning spaces has been very popular among students from all academic disciplines, with an impressive 90 per cent satisfaction rate.

Ahead of New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, we caught up with Professor Giselle Byrnes, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic and Enterprise at Massey University, to find out how the University is creating learning environments that inspire and engage students, the tools they are using to align space with digital technology and the results that have been realized in terms of learning outcomes and student engagement.

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach to revamping learning environments

“Over the past eight years, Massey has rolled-out a number of flexible learning environments, transitioning from large fixed seating to large flat floor collaborative spaces. We have transformed spaces that incorporate traditional learning environments to incorporate new elements of design, like tiered seating, where appropriate, and movable furniture. These kinds of spaces allow for more collaborative learning and more facilitated engagement to occur.”

“We have taken a multi-disciplinary approach to revamping our environment, particularly in the business school and veterinary science teaching spaces. Our focus here has been on the delivery type rather than what a specific discipline needs. We’re trying to be flexible in our approach to cater for different learning types. For example, in the business discipline there is more emphasis on dialogue, analysis and group work than there is typically in veterinary science and other laboratory-based subjects. It’s important to factor these requirements in during the design phase, both in terms of learning space and curriculum planning.

All of our large entry level programs also adopt a collaborative form of teaching, through the use of problem based learning, which as a format lends itself to the need to have co-working, collaborative spaces. We’re trying to accommodate on-campus dialogue amongst groups of students in the teaching space design, as well as providing digital spaces for collaboration to occur among our large cohort of online students.

Because we are a large online provider, we consider it vital to facilitate online collaboration through our learning management system so that every Massey University student – whether studying on campus, online or in a blended mode – has an equivalent learning experience.”

Aligning space with digital technology

“Every one of our refurbishments or new builds in terms incorporates digital learning in the space design.

For example, we have collaborative software tools that have been included in the design, so that any device can log onto the software app that is available in the space and project onto the screens in the room. These screens can be on all walls, not just one wall, which allows for students to bring their own devices and use the resources for self-directed learning.

As a multi-campus institution, we also have a need for our classes to work in conjunction with each other. For example, a cohort of students from one location will need to connect with a cohort of students from another. So we need the software solutions to allow that to happen and Adobe Connect is the main tool we are using to achieve this collaboration.

We also have a video link teaching project we are investing in, at both our Manawatu (Palmerston North) and Auckland (Albany) campuses. The rooms in these two campuses are identical – the students are in a virtual classroom and communicate completely as if they are in the same room. This is innovative and there has been strong support for this kind of teaching, both from the students and the teachers.

Our rich media project is another area where we are continuing to invest. Over the last two years we have invested considerably in installing lecture capture software and hardware across all of our campuses. This has given us the ability to allow students to engage either in real-time out of the classroom or participate in personalised viewing options through Stream (our online learning system or LMS). This has allowed students to connect with the lecture in real-time or post-lecture and has very positive impacts for both distance learners and our on-campus students.”

Transforming the roles between students and staff: moving away from institutional to constructional learning

“The most graphic example of constructional learning is the conversion of old fashioned spaces – such as immovable tables and chairs in a tiered lecture theatre  – to flat floor spaces. These new spaces provide much more flexibility as they allow greater emphasis on dialogue around collaborative and cooperative learning. This also means there is less emphasis on the lecturer as the disseminator of information and more emphasis on the teacher being the facilitator and curator of learning.

Many of our lecturers are also engaging with flipped classroom principles. For example, the lecture or the tutorial (or the ‘lectorial’ as these modes of teaching and engagement blend into one another) is a space where the teacher and students come together to interrogate ideas, primarily on the basis that the students have been, with guidance from their teacher, accessing the content outside of the formal lecture class. Content is still delivered during class, but there is greater emphasis on the analysis, interpretation and critique of the work during the contact class time.

There has also been a shift where the lecturer is no longer the didactic teacher, or ‘sage on the stage’ and has become more of a facilitator and coordinator of learning – more of a ‘guide on the side’. In fact, the best teachers we have at Massey University describe their role as being ‘partners with the students on their learning journey.’

The spaces at Massey University reflect this pedagogical shift and we are also using technology to facilitate this shift. Technology has enabled a much more disruptive structure of a lecture – for example, if you have screens on every wall you can pull up online clips easily and you might have the ability to connect with students in another location. It’s much more interactive and engaging than the traditional 50 minute lecture.”

Ensuring staff are on board with new teaching and learning styles

“It is important to provide staff with sufficient support and development when rolling out new learning technology and designing spaces to support engaged learning. We have done this by having a strong academic development program to ensure staff feel supported. This program is also presented as part of their professional development and engagement.

We very much value teaching at Massey University, given that (along with research) it is one of the core types of work undertaken by our research-active academics. We reflect these values in our promotions policy and the ways in which staff are recognized and rewarded for their teaching quality and innovation, as well as providing supportive academic development.

For example, we run courses from the centre of the university around teaching development and design and are always looking for good ways to push our new ideas around best practice and peer-to-peer. It is important to ensure staff feel that innovative and new ways of teaching are supported by the University.

The new approach to learning can also be potentially a little threatening to the traditional role of the lecturer and the professional identity of the university academic, but the academic still has a very important role in the process: to guide, advise and co-construct the learning experience. In essence, there will always be a role for the teacher, but new learning spaces and technology makes learning more of a mutual discovery process.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Giselle at New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, where she will further explore Massey’s success and the following:

  • How can we create learning environments that serve to inspire and engage our students and staff? 
  • The move from “instructional” teaching to “constructional” teaching, and how has this changed teacher and student roles 
  • Why do we need to align space design with digital technology? 
  • The innovative design and refresh of programs within an LMS and virtual learning environment 
  • Tailoring spaces and technology to suit teachers and their preferred pedagogies 
  • Providing adequate professional development and realigning pedagogical practice to optimize learning and teaching

For more information download the brochure here




How ANU is digitising administrative processes to drive efficiency

Over the past two years, The Australian National University (ANU) has introduced a range of improvement initiatives designed enhance administrative services to better support teaching and research outcomes.

In 2014, ANU began their transformation journey with the roll-out of automated and standardised travel processes across the university. From there, digitalisation of processes became a core focus of their transformation project, and in 2015 Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre was established to improve efficiency and service delivery by digitising processes across functions.

“We started with a list of about 170 key end-to-end processes that were identified by our academics and our administrative communities as being high pain-point processes. Over the last 20 months we have digitised over 22 per cent of those processes,” says Lakshmi West, Director, Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre at ANU.

While the journey to date has not been without challenges, ANU is set to realise some big wins over the next couple years as a direct result of standardisation of processes and improved data quality and reporting.

“In July 2016 we had an independent audit done by a third party management audit team over a six month period to find out what the net benefits of digital transformation can be. The result is we achieve over $6.1 million of net benefit over the next seven years for the work we have done to date,” says Lakshmi.

So what strategies are Lakshmi and her team using to ensure successful process improvement throughout the university? And, more importantly, what steps are they taking to engage academics and stakeholders in the journey to ensure ROI?

Ahead of Higher Education Services Transformation 2016, Lakshmi shares how ANU built the business case for transformation, the core tools they are using to roll-out digital process improvements function by function and the key lessons other universities can learn from their journey to date.

Proof of concept: justifying the case for transformation

“ANU’s transformation journey began in 2014 when we were given a donation from two alumni who own a company called Intelledox, which provided us with software and perpetual licensing that allows data integration.

To prove that the technology and transformation would work at the University, in 2014 I project managed a small team of people to digitise, streamline and automate the travel approval process across the University. At the time, we had over 10 independent paper based forms and there was no standardised process.

We used Intelledox to roll-out digital transformation of travel approval and it was a major transformation –  not only  did we streamline and simplify the process, we  also standardised it. We also integrated this process within the Finance system, the HR system, DFAT, Electronic Records Management and the data warehouse.

This initial project changed practices. For example, administrators used to make travel arrangements on behalf of academics. We made the strategic decision that academics were to become responsible for their own travel, so the administrator was removed from the process.

The automated travel process was a proof of concept to demonstrate we could successfully digitally transform a process at the University. The aim was to show the academic community and the ANU at large that by accepting the donation from Intelledox, transformation would actually work in practice and not only in theory.

We have had many failed IT business transformation projects at ANU in the past. Even travel had two failed attempts before we picked it up. It was therefore important we could show digital transformation could work to gain the trust of the university community.

Based on feedback and research from administrative services surveys, travel approval was the most bureaucratic  process and a big pain point for academics. Since the project went in 2014, we have had about 30,000 travel approvals that have been initiated through this new digitally transformed process.

Off the success of that project, we created the Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre in 2015 with the aim to digitalise approximately 170 key end-to-end processes that were identified as pain-points by our academics and administrative community.

It has been a rapid journey starting the Centre. We started with travel, but we have since expanded our scope. Our approach was to transform function by function. For example, transform HR and find out as much as we could in a six to nine month block of transforming their processes and rolling-out those c hanges. The next step was then moving into the student space and making changes in a six to nine month block as well.”

Read the remaining case study here to further learn about how ANU is:

  • Rolling-out digital process improvements function by function
  • Engaging academics and end-users to ensure successful transformation
  • Learning from past mistakes to drive successful organisational-wide transformation

Download Case Study


If you found this blog post interesting, you might also like to check out the Higher Education Services Transformation Agenda here

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email

9 strategies universities can use to boost international student numbers

Insights from QUT, UWA, Monash, RMIT and TAFE Queensland International

For a long time now, international education has played a fundamental role in the economic viability of universities and TAFEs across Australia. What’s more, the $20 billion industry has also become key to Australia’s economy, society and global competitiveness, as well as its relationship with other countries.

While Australia has been making leaps and bounds in its ability to attract international students, it is facing stiff competition from a growing list of countries interested in boosting international enrolments.

This increased competition, coupled with increased global student mobility and internationalisation, means it has never been more important for higher education institutions across Australia to ensure they stay ahead of the latest marketing and recruitment techniques to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing industry.

Ahead of International Student Recruitment and Marketing 2016, five of Australia’s top Higher Education institutions share insight into the key tools and strategies they are using to develop an effective international student recruitment and marketing strategy to stay ahead of the game.

Below, Queensland University of Technology (QUT),  Queensland TAFE International, University of Western Australia (UWA), Monash University and RMIT Vietnam, share 9 different steps universities and TAFEs can take to ensure they are successfully engaging students, and in turn, boosting international student numbers.


  1. Establish a unique selling proposition (USP)

Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Community and Engagement), University of Western Australia (UWA)

“International education is global and competitive; therefore you have to have focus and a USP. It is important to specifically know and understand what you want to sell and what is unique about your product that is different to another one.

Think about your USP country by country. For example, what is going to make a student want to study in Hokkaido Japan, versus Osaka in Japan? If you think about it in an external way and then use that process to apply internally, it will become easier to identify your USP and from there tailor your campaign.”

  1. Understand what drives your students

Martin Lock, Manager – International Sales & Recruitment, TAFE Queensland International

“Capturing student insights is a big focus of our international student recruitment strategy. We are doing this by understanding some of the key things students are interested in when it comes to study.

Some of these include the portability of education, the employment outcomes, connections to different industries and the practicality of their study.

TAFE Queensland is industry and outcome driven and to understand what our students want, we have undertaken case studies with various students, as well as looking at the different environments students are coming from. The influence from family, local industry, country needs and the influence of lifestyle are all included in our approach to how we recruit students. Our aim is to match the needs and demands of students.

We have discovered that a lot of international student needs and expectations are closely aligned with our domestic market. As a result, we are comparing our domestic and international markets and if there is a correlation between the two of them, we are applying our domestic marketing strategy to our international market as well.”

To read the remaining 7 steps universities can use to boost international student numbers, download the full article here


Read the full article to learn more about how:

  • The University of Western Australia are establishing a unique sales proposition, becoming and remaining data informed, and expanding their market research
  • TAFE Queensland International is building a cohesive Australian brand by linking study to employment opportunities and also understanding what drives their students
  • Queensland University of Technology is leveraging marketing automation as well as mapping out the student life cycle
  • Monash University is engaging students through digital channels
  • RMIT University Vietnam are monitoring their international competition and branching out to new markets to attract new students

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000

Creating modern learning environments to enhance teaching and learning outcomes

An inside look at Stonefields School’s innovative learning spaces

It’s no secret the rise of digital technologies is transforming teaching and learning practices across the globe, with education providers realising the importance of providing and supporting an innovative learning environment that fosters collaboration, creation and curation with educational technology.

And as the classroom of today continues to evolve, it has never been more important for schools and universities to identify the best ways to implement new technology and design new learning spaces in a way that will improve learning outcomes and the overall student experience.

According to Sarah Martin, Principal at Stonefields School, the key to achieving this is creating purposeful learning environments which allow students to flourish.

“An important element of learning spaces is they should be quite purposeful and provide opportunities between learners to engage with other learners,” she says.

Built within the last decade, Stonefields School is internationally recognised for their highly innovative facilities in terms of learning space design and accompanying pedagogy.

With a vision for collaborative and autonomous learning, Stonefields also serves as a research and teaching platform for universities and the higher education sector.

Ahead of New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Sarah to find out what other schools and universities can learn from Stonefields unique approach to learning design, and the strategies her team is using to create personalised and innovative learning curriculums and how this is improving teaching and learning outcomes.

Creating purposeful learning spaces

“Stonefields School is a series of nine Learning Hubs, each which facilitate innovative learning. Each hub is an open modern learning space that accommodates the equivalent of 3 classes of learners and 3 teachers.

For example, in one of our hubs, there are 15 classrooms within one big space, each of which  are joined together with doors, that are more often than not, open. This creates lovely opportunities between spaces for learners to engage with other learners.

stoenfields4                        stonefields2

Another important element of the learning hubs are that each has been designed to foster purposeful learning. For example, the lino where arts and crafts take place are wet to facilitate a different type of learning in comparison to other classes.

Another unique element is the layout of these spaces – there are a lot of interesting corners and spaces within the larger learning hub. For example, each hub has at least two smaller spaces where children can opt into a quieter space or do other learning activities which might require a quieter environment. These kinds of designs create purposeful spaces for children to learn.”

Facilitating a collaborative teaching approach

“One of the most important decisions we made before any teachers or learners came on-board, was that teachers would not have their own class. Different teachers have different strengths, so the collaborative approach is removing the ‘I and my’ from teaching and replacing it with ‘we and our.’

As a result, we use a lot different frameworks which underpins a highly synergetic team. We have a function that supports the team’s effectiveness but it all begins with being comfortable in the ‘we’ space and being incredibly self-aware. We have come to learn that collaboration is the supersizer in what is possible and it certainly optimises organisational culture.

The other capability we work intentionally hard on, is people’s ability to make sense with one another. When people are engaging in transformational conversations, it is important to understand and hear other people’s perspective – it’s not always about agreeing to disagree if we are going to move things forward. So when it comes to innovative and collaborative learning, people’s sense making is a big part of what we do.”

Integrating new tech into learning and teaching

“Stonefields is one-to-one learning from six years old. Our year two and three students all have iPads that the school owns – families can purchase a device for their child or they can buy it outright. We also have digital printers, GoPros and even IMAX recording and video-making facilities throughout the school. We embrace and utilise technology that will enhance kids’ learning outcomes.

When it comes to rolling-out new tech in learning spaces, it is important to consider student wants and needs. A great example of this would be a letter I received recently from a couple of students who wanted DJ boards to be able to mix and create their own music.


Based on student feedback we bought these tools that the kids needed. The lesson learned is digital or not, it’s important to be very open to the student voice and student-led initiatives. They provide the ideas; we provide the funding to put those ideas into action.”

Measuring the impact: analysing data to understand the impact innovative learning has on student and teaching outcomes

“Since rolling-out new innovative learning spaces,  we have seen an increase in student achievements through the data we collect. For example, a cohort at the beginning our journey were 48 per cent below the national standard. After three years, that same cohort is now 100 per cent above the national standard.

Another important result has been staff satisfaction – we have highly engaged staff and our staff retention rate is quite high. Through staff surveys we have discovered staff feel they have an opportunity to pursue their own strengths in our workplace.

It is difficult to quantify improvements purely being about space, but when we look at the shift in our graduate profile, both soft and hard data points demonstrate our learner quality over time having positive effect around a child’s ability to reflet or connect through learning.

We also have national standard data which is gained digitally and we are able to use these data sets to see how a child is progressing and we can highlight the next steps for their learning profession.

We also have online progression available as well, which involves an Anytime Reporting tools which allows parents to see how their child is going and what their next learning steps are. This is highly beneficial, especially when children want to engage at home, as it provides parents with the information and tools to support their child’s learning experience at home.”

The challenge: changing the mind shift to a new style of learning

“The biggest challenge we’ve faced on our journey to date has been the mind shift. We have all been to school and we’re all experts when it comes to parent expectations. But this is challenging because we’re asking teachers to straddle two paradigms: a 20th century one and a 21st century one.

Being courageous and knowing future predictions about the workplace our children will reside in is important. We need to abandon some of the soft skills we have ‘always done,’ because it is going to be quite redundant in our children’s future. It is a big challenge bringing parents on board with this type of thinking and the key is to communicate the benefits as strongly as we can.

Another challenge is sometimes our mental models can constrain what is possible in a more open, collaborative environment. As a result, we have done work on brainstorming ways to embrace new ideas and new ways of teaching and learning when those inadequate mental models might get in the way.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Sarah at New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016 where she will further explore:

  • Personalising learning by designing non-prescriptive curriculums tailored to each student’s strength, needs and interests, thus developing self-motivated and self-managed learners 
  • Strategies for creating future-proof spaces that enhance teaching and learning outcomes 
  • Interconnected learning hubs and the benefits of having composite classrooms 
  • Creatively leveraging technology, and its impact on staff, students and parents 
  • Complete incorporation of technology through online platforms to eliminate a paper trail and increase flexibility, connectivity and transparency

For more information download the agenda here

If you found this article interesting, you might like to also check out our recent article with Krisy Ryan, Academic Director at Monash University, which explores the strategies Monash is using to design a new paradigm for learning and the steps they are taking to design multidisciplinary learning spaces that cater for new student learning styles.

Read the article Creating a multidisciplinary learning and teaching building at Monash University here


How UWA is Growing International Student Numbers Through Data-driven Marketing

Global student mobility has been steadily growing over the past decade, and according to OECD’s recent findings, shows no signs of declining any time soon.

With the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2015 report forecasting international student mobility to nearly double to 8.5 million students by 2025, it comes as no surprise that  international student recruitment has become central to many universities strategic business plans for the future.

And as the competition to win students continues to intensify around the globe, universities are focusing on new and innovative marketing strategies to recruit and retain high quality international students. Now more than ever before, universities are recognising that students are also customers and the need to provide excellence customer experience across the student lifecycle.

According to Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Community and Engagement), University of Western Australia (UWA), capturing a holistic view of the student lifecycle can have big benefits when it comes to international student recruitment – and the key to achieving it is data.

“One of the driving principals of UWA’s international marketing and recruitment strategy is that all decisions should be data informed. All of our decisions are based on the data we have,” he says.

Over the past two years Kent and his team at UWA have been refining their international student recruitment strategy to ensure improved ROI from their efforts. Through a focus on student insights, digital marketing and a future focused outlook, UWA is aiming to boost international student numbers from 20 per cent  of the student body, to 30 per cent over the coming years.

Ahead of International Student Recruitment and Marketing 2016, Kent shares the core elements of UWA’s international student recruitment and marketing strategy and how they are capturing and using student insights to drive an exceptional student experience, and in turn, boost international student numbers across their campus.

Attracting international students to UWA: the essentials

“The University of Western Australia (UWA) has a long tradition of internationalism and attracting international students, but for the last 15 years we had a capped the total number of international students we could enrol at 15 per cent.

These insights are part on an exclusive article with Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Western Australia. Download the report here, to learn more about:

  • Attracting international students
  • Capturing student insights to boost student numbers
  • Engaging students on digital platforms
  • UWA’s proven tips for success

For more information about our International Student Recruitment & Marketing Conference 2016 download the brochure. The event brings together 20 influential speakers from across higher education and explores:

  • Strategies to improve commencement rates
  • Forming key relationships and Maintaining Partnerships
  • Reputation Management and Building a Cohesive Australian Brand
  • Leveraging social media trends to engage international students with Digital Marketing
  • Data Analytics and Data Mapping – evaluating industry data to tap into new markets and drive growth

7 strategies universities can use to DESIGN & DEVELOP INNOVATIVE LEARNING SPACES

Over the past decade there has been a huge shift in approach to the design of learning spaces in higher education. As technology continues to advance with the rapid pace of change, so too are student demands and expectations when it comes to learning.

As a result, universities are looking to new innovative ways of teaching, with a big focus on linking pedagogy to learning space design, and how technology can best be utilised in these spaces to improve student engagement and learning outcomes.

Ahead of New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, we take a look at 7 key strategies universities and schools across Australia and New Zealand are using to design innovative learning spaces to remain relevant to the digital student.

1 Establish a unique learning environment
Swinburne University of Technology is one university which is seeing its students benefit from a space developed and designed specifically for interactive online learning to drive better student learning outcomes.

Four years ago the University and online employment giant SEEK, established Online Education Services (OES) to create engaging online learning experiences for students.

OES’ first endeavor is Swinburne Online, which provides online degrees and postgraduate qualifications for Swinburne students, transforming teacher led units to suit an online environment.

According to Dr. Jay Cohen, Learning Design Manager, OES, while Swinburne has had a big focus on digital learning delivery in the higher education space for some time now, the key to success has been creating a unique learning environment for students and staff.

“There are a few elements that make our approach unique. The first is our student-centric approach which underpins the support services we provide from orientation to graduation for our students.

“We have a thorough orientation for students, seven-day support services, on-demand assignment assistance and tutoring services as well as a bespoke social network platform called ‘Connect,’ which we use to keep students connected to the broader student and staff community,” he says.

Essentially, OES is taking on-campus content and trying to fit it into an online environment – which Jay says has not come without challenges.

“What we are finding, is that what works on campus may not necessarily work in an online environment.

If you’re building an online learning space from scratch, it is actually a completely different design from a classroom based design.

Feeding classroom based content into an online environment does create challenges, because elements of design that are in the campus don’t rolling over into an online environment.

Designing and building an online learning space is not about transferring what you are doing on campus to online – it doesn’t work that simply.

For example, in a traditional university environment a lecture might run somewhere between 80 and 110 slides per lecture. But we can’t put Power Point slides in an online environment. So we have to think in a completely different way when it comes to designing content, as well as assessments – particularly when it comes to group work.

Group activities or group assessments in a classroom environments means students can go and sit at a table and discuss and collaborate in person. In the online environment, there is no classroom which makes it significantly more difficult to facilitate collaborative learning,” he explains.

In order to overcome such challenges, Jay and his team have focused on integrating new and innovative technologies to provide a more collaborative and innovative learning experience for students.

“We have had to reimagine what it means to collaborate in order to foster an engaged online learning community through the use of video, audio and other technological resources, which has created an interactive environment,” he says.

These insights are part of an exclusive report with seven leading universities from Australia and New Zealand. The report delves into new generation learning spaces and explores blending the vitual with the physical, future-proofing learning spaces, catering to different learning and teaching styles and the use of data analytics in creating personalised learning spaces.

For more information on our New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016 event please download the brochure. The even brings together over 20 speakers and leading innovators and explores key considerations relevant to ensuring a pedagogically receptive and innovative campus for 21st Century learners. 

Driving Operational Efficiency Through Shared Services Transformation at Swinburne University

In this video interview, Joanne Austin, Former Faculty General Manager Business and Law at Swinburne University, explores the core elements of Swinburne University’s services transformation journey to date and the measures other universities can adopt to ensure and enhance operational efficiency.

Interested in learning more? Download the exclusive powerpoint presentation by Joanne Austin from Higher Education Services Transformation 2015 where she explores;

  • Having a clear understanding of shared services and centralised operating models.
  • Integrating technologies to support teaching and enhance the student experience.
  • Exploring and adopting measures to enhance universities operating efficiency.

For more information about our Higher Education Shared Services 2016 event download the brochure. The event will bring together over 20 speakers and innovators and cover topics such as;

  • Selecting the appropriate operating structures to reduce operational costs and enhance value of university support services.
  • Engaging stakeholder throughout the transformation process for continuous improvement and smoother transition.
  • Redesigning administrative functions and structures for higher quality student experience.

Deakin University: Driving change management to enhance blended learning

Insights from the School of Exercise & Nutrition at Deakin University

Much of the published content on blended learning has focused significantly on changes in pedagogy, and how technology is influencing the way teachers deliver content to support student learning outcomes.

This is undoubtedly a crucial part of the effort to ‘blend’ different learning methods to improve the student experience, but what about the cultural and mindset implications of blended learning?

There is an increasing trend in which universities are experiencing difficulty introducing technology and different ways of teaching. Encouraging academics to embrace a blended learning approach in units of study is far easier said than done; not to mention securing buy-in at the executive level.

As a result, building a culture around blended learning has fast become a critical success factor – from being able to demonstrate the value of blended learning on student outcomes to answering the WIIFM (‘What’s-In-it-For-Me) conundrum. And then, of course, nurturing the engagement of all stakeholders along the journey.

While there is no standard framework to build a culture around blended learning, or seamlessly introduce technology and methods of teaching, there are ways that project teams can use existing resources to trial different techniques.

Ahead Blended Learning 2016, Susie MacFarlane, Senior Facilitator, Teaching Excellence and Innovation, shared insight into her team’s efforts to enable a blended learning environment for students at the School of Exercise & Nutrition, Deakin University.



Susie Macfarlane, Senior Facilitator, Teaching Excellence and Innovation

University learning management systems have traditionally been used to host individual files such as study guides and readings, as well as lecture recordings and synchronous classroom recordings.

Often the LMS becomes a resource repository, rather than providing a clear and engaging learning path for students. I work as an educational developer and change agent in a school of more than 60 academics in a very technologically advanced university.

My challenge was – how can we shift our thinking and capacity across the whole school to design clear learning pathways that motivate and assist students to learn? We have developed a learning design process and template to guide our academics in developing a learning path with resources, activities, links to discussion board and formative assessments.

And we are also starting to use eLearning software such as Articulate Storyline, to resource a high quality blended learning experience.

We make available online some of the resources that were originally delivered face to face by the lecturer so the students can access them before or after the classroom or seminar experience.

Therefore, in the classroom we can start to establish more student-centred learning and active learning approaches, such as team based learning, classroom activities, discussion questions and so on.

In this way, some of the information transmission and even active learning processes that don’t require a teacher to be there now occur asynchronously, through online resources students can access when it suits them.

For example, in our food chemistry labs, students print out and bring along the results of their eLearning module they completed prior to entering the lab. In this way, we can guarantee our students are prepared to undertake the lab activities, and they can spend the time more effectively developing their lab skills.

Susie’s insights into changing the mindset round blended learning and capacity are part of an in-depth case study that explored how her team continues to successfully introduce innovative blended learning techniques to support student learning outcomes. 

Read the full case study to learn more about: 

  1. Designing clear learning pathways for student-centred learning
  2. Building a model of organisational change and capacity building
  3. Introducing a new learning approach through strategic change management
  4. Running a subtle pilot project for the new learning approach
  5. Maintaining an integrated team model to improve blended learning

For more information on the Blended Learning Summit, please download the brochure or visit

The Summit will bring together leading educators and learning design specialists to present in-depth case studies, outline key challenges faced, what they have achieved and how they have enhanced the student experience.

How to maximise existing space for student-centred learning: Campus masterplanning at Curtin University

Universities operating in a tight fiscal environment have dominated media headlines in recent times. In spite of the negative vibes attached to this theme, many tertiary establishments are becoming more innovative with their existing assets. One asset in particular has set the tone in the context of campus masterplanning: the learning and teaching space.

The focus on maximising existing space combines academia and design in architecture to enable active student-centred learning.

When universities undertake this journey, they don’t only benefit from a cost savings perspective, they also provide students an experiential offering that supports their learning outcomes. When that occurs, the benefits multiply – from stronger reputations institutionally to continued excellence in educational rankings.

However, with demand changing so quickly, how can universities manage competing priorities and align the use of space with student learning outcomes? How can they unlock the value of existing space beyond financial aspirations?

Ahead of Campus Development 2016, we spoke to Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University, who discussed how existing space can be used to accommodate changing pedagogy, improve student learning outcomes, and measure the effectiveness of learning and teaching spaces.


Listening Diagram for the Curtin General Learning & Teaching Facility, courtesy of Khoa Do & HASSELL

Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University

Adopting an Integrated Design Model (IDM) for space utilisation

My background is in Architecture and the built environment. Having spent a considerable part of my professional career moving between academia and architectural practice, I have developed an interest and expertise in the areas of Architecture of Education and the Pedagogy of Space.

The direct link between pedagogy and space for learning and teaching are intrinsically interconnected and integrated. Good design of learning spaces can positively impact the development of innovative learning and teaching scholarship; good education spaces are transformative environmental conditioning agents for generating innovative learning and teaching practices.

Leading universities are agile and timely in the way they stay abreast of the challenges reshaping the higher education sector. The disruptive environment is been fuelled by a wide range of interconnected factors that include: advancing technologies, preferences for courses catering more towards multi-disciplinary (cheaper, short-intense and high quality), the balancing of face to face versus online delivery, applied research and industry engagements (commercialisation of research) and so on.

Leading universities are responding by putting greater investment in the development of campus spaces aimed at offering more experientially transformative learning environments of both virtual and face to face.

The emphasis for universities is to afford quality learning experiences that go beyond simply the process of acquiring skills and knowledge for the attainment of a degree in the traditional model of learning and teaching.

Staying relevant, ahead of the competition and being at the forefront of what universities do and offer are hallmarks of a progressive and innovative university.

Khoa Do is a featured presenter at the upcoming Campus Development Summit. These insights are part of an exclusive case study on using existing space to accommodate changing pedagogy and support student learning outcomes. He goes on to explore how the Integrated Design Model (IDM) approach investigates design considerations and strategies that enable the explorative process of identifying small scale opportunities across the campus for upgrading, retrofitting and redevelopment.

If you’d like to know more about the Campus Development Summit, download the brochure or visit Khoa will be joined by more than 20  specialists from across Australia, the UK and Singapore at the Summit. They will share key considerations that you need to make to ensure a pedagogically responsive and innovative campus and facility for 21st century learners.



How can universities design assessment and credentials to produce work-ready graduates?

Establishing credentials for students has emerged as a critical way to ensure graduates are work-ready once they finish university. But it’s far easier said than done, especially in light of major changes in pedagogy and student expectations.

How can universities align the approach to building credentials with students’ needs and ensuring employability at the same time?

Ahead of Innovation in Assessment & Credentials 2016, James Arvanitakis, Dean, Graduate Research School Western Sydney University, discusses what factors need to be addressed to establish credentials that are effective and have real value in the student experience.



James Arvanitakis, Dean, Graduate Research School, Western Sydney University

Essentially everything we do should be building up a broad range of employability skills for the students. Universities are really good at producing knowledge and delivering content.

That’s a disciplinary knowledge that we have, and what we need to do is continue doing that to ensure the highest level of scholarship is maintained and attained by the students. That is never negotiable.

But there’s a second dimension, which historically universities haven’t done very well, and that’s related to incorporating a broad range of attributes that students need to develop for proficiencies.

These include learning how to work across cultures, working with teams, knowledge translation, having a sense of agency, and being able to appreciate design and aesthetics, for example.

All of these attributes are important, but it’s the flip side of the coin that universities have struggled with.

And when I developed the Academy program at Western Sydney University, or now that I oversee the Graduate Research School, developing these attributes along with academic excellence are my twin goals.

It goes not only through the curriculum, but through all the investments as well. Within the blended learning environment, it requires very specific strategies in comparison to what you would do face to face, but it doesn’t change the broader philosophy about what you would expect from your students.

For example, with knowledge translation in a blended learning environment, you work with the students to develop public blogs or develop more online resources, and you require your students to work in teams and master online project management software.

The focus should be on assessing how they communicate across those teams, rather than what we usually do, which is what they are doing. You assess the process, not just the outcomes.

James Arvanitakis kindly shared insight into the development of student credentials for the upcoming Innovation in Assessment & Credentials Summit in October. In the article he goes on to explore the approach for building up a broad range of employability skills for students, and incorporating a range of attributes that students need to develop for proficiencies.  Check out the full article to learn more about removing silos and moving towards cross-disciplinary skills.

And if you’d like to know more about the Innovation in Assessment & Credentials Summit, please download the brochure or visit

James will deliver a presentation on educating students in a time of disruption: Becoming innovative and creating an internal shift to drive the future of universities.