Building a Student Employability Framework to Aid Student Engagement and Retention

The accessibility of higher education has increased, leading to a larger and more diverse group of students than ever before being enrolled in higher education. With high competition within the sector, the need to deliver enhanced, more personalised experiences is a must in order to attract, engage and retain.

Currently, the 15% of tertiary students who fail to be retained for a second year of study represent a loss of approximately AUS$4.37 billion each year. As such universities are looking to new, innovative methods to help retain students through enhanced tertiary experiences.

Ahead of the Student Retention and Success Summit 2018 we chat to Dr. Dino Willox, Director of Student Employability at the University of Queensland (UQ). In this article Dino shares details of UQ’s Student Employability framework which is shifting learning from the didactic to the experiential and aiding overall engagement and retention.

Developing Frameworks

Exploring UQ’s Student Employability Framework

“At the University of Queensland we’ve come to notice that employers are demanding more from their potential employees, with recent articles published suggesting that some of the big employers aren’t actually looking at GPA at all. A degree is standard now – instead employers want to know what else you can offer – which is why we developed our Student Employability framework.

At UQ we view employability as a broader process that encompasses experiential learning, work integrated learning and career development learning. Within the student employability centre we have a careers team, but we also have a work integrated learning team that works with academics to embed employability in the curriculum.

Some four years ago we developed the framework that aims to make learning and experience, not ‘being employed’ the end goal of all actions. The framework, which can be overlaid in a number of different learning environments, is predicated on four pillars; awareness, experience, learning and transfer.

Pillar 1 – Awareness: recognising that a degree is necessary but not all. With globalisation of higher education now, more people have degrees, and to be able to stand out you need to do more.

Pillar 2 – Experience: getting involved in a whole range of experiences to give you the opportunity to learn from them.

Pillar 3 – Learning: self-reflection and learning from those experiences and understanding how these experiences have transformed you. These experiences aren’t just traditional internships and placements however, but also include learnings gained from extracurricular activities like volunteering and sports.

Pillar 4 – Transfer: transferring your learning into the workplace and making it meaningful for future employers.

The idea behind the framework is that is can be used by anybody – although we’ve designed it for students and the higher education space, the framework easily overlays professional and personal development also.”

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Download the full article with Dino to learn more about:

  • University of Queensland’s student employability framework
  • The importance of shifting focus from the academic to the experiential for modern students
  • Increasing support and engagement to aid student retention and success

Learn More

To learn more about the strategies some of Australia’s leading higher education providers are harnessing to improve student retention and success, join us at the Student Retention and Success Summit 2018.

The event, held in Melbourne on the 27th – 28th of June brings together over 16 student retention and experience experts from the likes of the University of Southern Queensland, Curtin University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Technology Sydney and La Trobe.

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5 ways to design and develop a world class research facility

It’s no secret that quality and cutting edge research is a defining characteristic of Australia’s Universities. And while state-of-the-art infrastructure has long been recognised as the engine fuelling research development, the fast pace of innovation is driving increased competition in this area.

As a result, many universities are focusing on how to leverage partnerships and new technology to design, construct, operate and maintain innovative and flexible research facilities.

But what actually makes a research facility ‘innovative? And more importantly, what strategies can universities use to avoid mistakes in planning and development stages to ensure they create a collaborative, flexible and leading facility for the future?

Ahead of the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit, here are 5 strategies Universities can use to design and develop flexible research facilities for the future.

Below, influencers from La Trobe University, Woods Bagot, Southern Cross University, The University of Adelaide and the German Max Planck Institute share the strategies they are each using in their own research facility projects to ensure project success.

1. Set a clear vision

Jussi Helppi, Head of Biomedical Services – Speaker of Facilities & Services, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) (Germany)

“Designing the Institute’s facilities wasn’t much of a struggle. We were lucky to have right architects (Heikkinen & Komonen, together with HENN Architects) for the building, where the directors basically had the luxury of finding who understood what we wanted to do before they even started drawing the schematics.

While the architects focused on the architecture, the interior laboratory planning was mostly done – in close collaboration with the scientists – by another company based here in Germany: Dr Heinekamp Labor und Institutsplanung. The building was finished in early 2001.

As in every planning process, there were challenges to manage. Our building was financed mostly by the Max Planck Society, but as the future users of the building we, the institute, managed at the end to maintain good control of the process. Although the balancing act between us (the users), the central building headquarters of the Society in Munich, and the planners and architects was not always easy, at the end we got the building built according to our ideas and visions.

The main reason for our success in the building process was the clear mandate our founding directors gave the architects – to provide a building on the highest level in technical and practical terms in laboratory design that also promotes synergy, cooperation and community. Thus, the institute’s building has been carefully designed to force scientists to come together, to create the critical mass necessary for new discoveries.

2. Consider future adaptability and expansion

Russell Hoye, Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Director of La Trobe Sport, at La Trobe University

“Located on 60 hectares in the southwest corner of the La Trobe University campus in Bundoora, the Sports Park will provide a unique environment for play, performance training, teaching and research in sport.

The Sports Park initial designs will include an eight-court indoor multisport stadium for netball and basketball. Other infrastructure planned to be built include a strength and conditioning training facility, teaching and research space, synthetic hockey and football pitches and upgrades to existing ovals and pavilions.All these facilities will be available for community use – for teaching and coaching purposes,” says Russell.

As part of La Trobe University’s Master Plan 2014 the Sports Park has been designed with a flexible base infrastructure that allows for multidisciplinary collaboration and future expansion. With the University Town Neighbourhoods Master Plan in place we’re future-proofing our investment by designing the Sports Park’s physical layout to allow for future expansion and room to include more pitches.

Additionally, we’ve worked with architects and engineers who have identified underlying infrastructure requirements, so as new application and technologies are developed over time, we can simply plug that into our base infrastructure without needing to do additional core work – the sports facility has a very flexible base infrastructure making it suitable for multiple uses and adaptable for future technologies.”

Download the remainder of the article here 

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Join industry representatives at the 4th Annual Research Facilities Design and Development Summit to learn more about how to:

  • Address innovation regarding the best designs for research facilities
  • Analyse construction strategies to boost operational efficacy Review the development of facilities to maximise space utilisation
  • Provide you with the best management advices to prevent a loss in ROI

For more information visit https://researchfacilities.iqpc.com.au or
call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

Attracting Students Through Spaces that Accommodate Lifestyle and Education

Australia is one of the world’s most attractive destinations for international students. In the past few years our universities have experienced record growth in international enrolments, contributing some $15 billion to our nation’s economy per annum.

To remain competitive in the battle to attract the best and brightest talents, both locally and from abroad, universities are investing in student experience; with new student accommodation facilities and campus life playing a key role.

Ahead of the Student Accommodation Summit 2018 we chat to Lisa Howard, Studio Principal at Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL). In this article Lisa shares details of Monash University’s Clayton Campus upgrade and delves into the benefits of investing in new student accommodation facilities that optimise students’ university experience.

Meeting modern needs

“While we’re seeing a real shift in university life and culture all over the world, in Australia in particular, where many of our universities, like Monash, La Trobe and RMIT, were set up as institutes in the 1960s and 70s, we’re seeing a period of growth, expansion and infrastructure investment to help meet modern standards and student needs,” explains Lisa.

“In an age of online and off-campus learning, university landscapes are now playing a critical role in both attracting and retaining staff and students and fostering meaningful engagement, conversation and participation.

Most universities had offsite student accommodation when they were initially established, and over the years these facilities tended to be neglected as they weren’t deemed a priority. However, over the past decade or so, with the rise in international student enrolments, many universities are now taking the time to reassess their accommodation offerings and campus facilities in an effort to better appeal to the growing numbers of international students arriving.

Increasingly, and I think this stems predominantly from competition within the tertiary education sector, the offerings, facilities and amenities that universities provide are becoming a key differentiating factor for both the international and domestic markets. Students are now looking at how a university can offer them more than a learning experience – they want the social and community aspects that come with it.

What this means from an architectural perspective is that we’re seeing a trend toward relocating student accommodation from offsite, dislocated areas to the campuses themselves in an effort to create more embedded accommodation precincts. By doing this, universities can provide somewhere for students to not only sleep, but also places where they can occupy their time and socialise on campus. By creating creative, engaging and innovative spaces, both in internal and outdoor areas, we’re seeing improved engagement, experience and overall student happiness.”

Read More 

Download the full article with Lisa to learn more about:

  • The benefits of providing new accommodation within close proximity to campus
  • Meeting modern student needs by providing living, learning and social amenities
  • Overcoming the challenges of project delivery with minimal impact on ‘business as usual’

Learn More 

Join Lisa, along with over 20 other student accommodation experts from the likes of the University of St. Andrews (UK), University of Auckland (New Zealand), Deakin Residential Services, Scape, the University of Melbourne, Hayball and Colliers International on the 27th– 28th of March in Melbourne at the Student Accommodation Summit 2018. 

Using Virtual Reality as a tool to engage and recruit prospective international students

Emerging technologies have the potential to disrupt international recruitment and marketing as we know it, as students around the globe become more digitally and mobile-savvy.

As a result, education providers need to adapt and create more sophisticated experiences when targeting prospective international students.

For Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Virtual Reality (VR) is proving to be a great innovative tool to create a more engaging experience for students. Through the use of a VR video, students are able to completely immerse themselves in their environment; offering an authentic and compelling way to showcase their campus and faculties.

And while VR provides huge opportunities for universities to potentially boost international student numbers through a personalised experience, Monash is also using it as a tool to help international agent representatives differentiate their institution in a crowded marketplace.

“We were hoping for VR to be a great additional tool for students and parents to help them in their decision making process and to help them experience what the campus is like. It is also a great tool for agents to showcase the faculty and campus to prospective students. It’s not just about students, it’s also for our agents and career counsellors as well,” says Marlena Mende, Marketing Manager at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Monash University.

While implementing VR into an international student recruitment and marketing strategy is not without its challenges, it is a great example of how new technological platforms can be used to engage, attract and retain international students in an evolving digital environment.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Marlena to find out how her team went about integrating VR into their international recruitment and marketing strategy, the stakeholder buy-in process and how they are ensuring the experience they are creating resonates with the wants and needs of international students.

What are the core elements of your faculty’s overall international student marketing strategy?

There are a number of elements that are crucial to our Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science’s international recruitment and marketing strategy. Our entire strategy us based on quality research based on student feedback as well as what is occurring in other markets globally.

For example, we consider what channels our prospective students might use in different countries. What is used in China may be different to what is used in India. We also check that channels used typically in Australia to engage with students are available in the countries we are targeting.

It is important to understand what it is like in those different countries and what students are looking for. Once we have that understanding, we try to develop an approach based on the audience’s needs and geography.

Another big focus is developing really strong, relevant and engaging content. We are making sure we tailor our content to address what the audience is looking for and what stage they are at in their learning journey.

Another key project is to ensure we have a strong mobile focus through our marketing, given that our audience is predominantly young people. Students are very much on their mobiles, they are digitally savvy and we want to ensure we provide interactive and engaging experiences via this platform. Personalisation is a big part of this, as well as understanding the student journey and where they are at in the decision making process.

We want to be able to provide the right content at the right time to students. This also involves coordinating and working with other teams throughout the university and faculties to ensure we have the right messaging at the right time.”

What types of emerging technologies are you using in your marketing strategy to engage international students via digital platforms?

“Our focus is to connect with students via traditional channels, but also digital channels as well. For example, social media channels such as Facebook. Our aim is to provide insight into what the experience is like on campus. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging our current students to engage on our social platforms as well – so they supply content to make it more authentic. There are also some more exciting and emerging technologies we have recently engaged with as well, such as VR.”

To read more, download the full article with Marlena Mende here

Join Marlena at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, where she will further explore:

  • Lessons learnt from developing and implementing virtual reality into a marketing strategy
  • Providing an immersive and unique experience that resonates with a target audience
  • A look into the possible future marketing implications of virtual reality and augmented reality

For more information visit https://intl-studentrecruitmentandmarketing.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Insights from the Australian Research Council: Writing a Successful Grant Application by Aligning Research with Industry Pressure Points

The Australian Government has recently changed how it allocates grants for research funding and it is impacting researchers, with grant success rates dropping from some 30% to 10% in the span of 15 years.

To counteract these receding numbers a greater emphasis must be placed on aligning research with industry priority areas and on improving collaboration between industry partners.

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Ahead of the Research Funding Summit 2017 we chat to Leanne Harvey, Executive General Manager at the Australian Research Council (ARC). Leanne, who led the development and implementation of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) program, is responsible for the ARC’s Research Excellence, Corporate Services and additionally oversees the development of the new national assessment of engagement.

In this Q&A Leanne explores some of the key challenges impacting Australia’s research industry, and further delves into grant writing best practice and the importance of brokering collaboration between the research industry, government, business and local and international community organisations.

What are some of the key challenges of research funding in Australia?

There are a number of key challenges impacting research and research funding at the moment.

For example, ensuring high quality research is funded, and ensuring an appropriate balance between funding of fundamental and applied research. While the funding of applied research helps answer specific questions currently affecting Australia, maintaining the funding of fundamental, curiosity driven research is equally important.

Other challenges include Assessing what kinds of environmental, cultural and economic impact research in Australia is having beyond academia and further identifying ways to encourage collaboration, particularly with industry. Although Australia is a benchmark for research excellence, it is still a minnow when it comes to commercialisation and industry partnership.

What are some of the key priority areas the ARC is looking to fund?

The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

In seeking to achieve its purpose, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines. Additionally the ARC aims to expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability through support of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and a focus on research in the Science and Research Priorities.

What criteria are considered when assessing a grant application? 

While the ARC administers the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), which supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition, the ARC does not itself assess grant applications. We instead rely on the advice of assessors with knowledge, experience and expertise in specific disciplines.

Grant applications are assessed on a number of criteria including:

  • Quality of the investigator(s)
  • Innovation, approach and significance of the project being undertaken
  • Capacity building for Australian research
  • Feasibilitlogo-lrg

Read More

Download the full article with Leanne to learn more about:

  • Addressing industry challenges
  • Aligning research to funding priority areas
  • Writing an effective grant application
  • Collaborating with industry partners to improve commercialisation

Learn More

Join us at the Research Funding Summit 2017

Join Leanne in Sydney on the 14th – 15th of November, along with 12 other research industry experts from the likes of the CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, The Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the University of Sydney at the Research Funding Summit 2017.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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 http://www.blended-learning.com.au.

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.