Educational Innovation Conference

Start Date
08 November 2012
End Date
09 November 2012
National University of Singapore
The U21 Teaching and Learning Network (U21 TLN) will take "Towards Transformative Education in the 21st Century" as the theme for its 2012 Conference.

Towards Transformative Education in the 21st Century

Students in higher education undergo a transformative process as they make their educational journey through the university. At the start of their education, students begin as novice learners; they then progressively acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes which equip them with new enabling competencies, including discipline-independent skills relating to communication, leadership and team work, interpersonal relationships, and social and cultural literacy, as well as a sense of mission and place. Students now graduate to become global citizens with enhanced capability to contribute at various levels in a lifetime of (international) careers. Thus, by facilitating the transformative process, higher education should advance the human capital of the world.

How then should teaching and learning in higher education optimize the transformative process and add value to the human capital in the 21st century?

Self-Direction as a Path to Transformative Learning by Professor Gary Poole

Transformation is an ambitious goal in higher education. Indeed, the tradition of transformative learning views learning not just as the acquisition of facts and knowledge, but as an opportunity for significant growth. In this session, we will attempt to further our understanding of this growth by exploring it in terms of students' development of their identities as learners, citizens, and professionals. Our research in this area supports the view that transformative identity development is fostered in learning environments in which students direct their own learning. We will look at a program featuring a self-directed learning option at UBC and explore research findings based on in-depth interviews with students to further understand the link between self-direction and transformation in learning.

New Media Literacies and Personalized Learning by Professor Michael McManus

The most significant contribution any university can make to a nation is through the quality of its graduates. Unfortunately, the didactic lecture still remains the predominant form of delivery of knowledge and summative assessment is our key way of knowing how much a student has learnt. Indeed, we often find out how well a student has performed via a piece of summative assessment as they exit the course, which is far too late to effect student learning. This type of scenario is increasing the pressure on universities to move more rapidly from an instruction-driven to a learning-based paradigm, especially as the overall focus looks beyond prestige and exclusivity to student learning outcomes. The recent arrival of the Harvard/ MIT edX initiative and MOOOCs, suggests we may be nearing a tipping-point in higher education where the long promised power of the internet may provide a mechanism that enables us to personalize learning. It may only be possible to survive in such an era that has the added complexity of providing universal access in a climate of reduced funding, by adopting smart technology. The forces of change will require institutions to be: (1) learning outcome driven, (2) more mobile, (3) more personalized to match student and employer goals and, (4) universally accessible on a global sphere. Technology-enabled learning has the potential to act as a creative disruptive force and it is now time for us to reinvigorate the conversation about moving from instruction driven to a learning-driven paradigm.


Bringing Breadth and Integration to Undergraduate Education by Professor Dan Bernstein

Contemporary analysis of complex issues necessarily draws from the perspectives, skills, and knowledge of multiple disciplines, and a modern curriculum should prepare students for broadly based problem solving. Three dimensions of breadth can be identified: from single to multiple disciplines, from academic evidence and ideas to community engagement, and from individual to collaborative work. The University of Kansas is extending courses and programs along all three dimensions to provide students with the opportunity to integrate their individual learning experiences into a coherent strategy for dealing with unexpected complexity. Examples will be drawn from natural science, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and professional programs to illustrate the potential for guiding students in discovering the connections among the elements of their education and in articulating the coherence of their understanding. Participants will be invited to use the three dimensions of breadth to identify comparable opportunities within their own institutions, focusing on what human and technological resources can be brought together to enhance the development and adoption of an integrative curriculum.

Nurturing Global Citizens in Undergraduate Education by Professor Amy Tsui

The design of the curriculum for the newly launched 4-year undergraduate degree at HKU has been guided by six educational aims, amongst which are intercultural understanding, global citizenship and advocacy for the improvement of the human condition. The University has been exploring ways in which these three interrelated aims can be achieved. It includes the creation of a learning environment which promotes intercultural understanding, and the design of forms of learning in the curriculum which facilitates the nurturing of such values. In this presentation, I will share with participants the challenges faced and the measures taken to address them. I shall also present three cases of experiential learning, all of which are an integral part of credit-bearing components, in the Faculties of Architecture, Engineering and Business, all of which have proved to be effective in achieving these aims. I will highlight the ways in which this powerful form of learning is conducive to nurturing global citizenship and the challenges of implementation at institutional level.


The conference programme and biographies of the keynote speakers can be downloaded below.

How To Register

Delegates should register online by clicking on the "register" button below.

Delegates will also need to book hotel accommodation at the conference hotel by downloading the form below, completing it and sending back to the hotel directly (details on the form).

Lavinia Gott