At CRLI, we run a weekly seminar series hosting local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting. Seminars run on most Wednesdays in semester.

Upcoming seminars in 2017:
A glance of this year's seminar
12-Apr-2017—Peter Reimann
26-Apr-2017—Andrew Martin
3-May-2017—Kate Thompson
17-May-2017—Andrew Gibson
24-May-2017—Deborah Richards
31-May-2017—Kathryn Bartimote-Aufflick
7-Jun-2017—Learning Analytics Research Group (LARG)
14-Jun-2017—Rachel Wilson
28-Jun-2017—Maria Souza e Silva
2-Aug-2017—Louise Sutherland
9-Aug-2017—Nick Hopwood
20-Sep-2017—Tom Carey
4-Oct-2017—James Dalziel
1-Nov-2017—Learning Analytics Research Group

Please note we are in room 612 of the Education Building. We are always looking for more speakers, topics and ideas. If you would like to suggest a seminar topic, propose a speaker (including yourself) or provide feedback, we would love to hear from you at

When: Wednesdays, 11.30am. Seminars usually run for an hour followed by a 30min Q&A session.
Where: Rm 612 of the Education bldg. (Unless otherwise specified in the seminar's description page).
Brown bag: You are welcome to bring your lunch to these events.

Are you a visual learner? No? Perhaps you are an auditory or a kinaesthetic learner? The idea that people differ in what modality they learn best in, and that knowing this should influence how one is taught is known as "learning styles". This idea is one of the more enduring "neuromyths" in education. Earlier this week, thirty leading researchers in neuroscience, psychology, and education signed a letter to the Guardian strongly condemning learning styles approaches—"No evidence to back the idea of learning styles".

The idea of "learning styles", however, is not the only neuromyth that makes its way around our education system. Paul Howard-Jones reviewed the broader issue of educational neuromyths in the prestigous neuroscience journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience in 2014. One of the findings discussed was that of a survey of practising teachers in five different international contexts. These teachers were asked about various neuromyths and whether they believed them to be true. The table below is taken from this paper, and shows the results of this survey.

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And while on the subject of the brain, we were asked a question about how our brain decides which words to use. For example, as I type this now, why am I choosing to use these words, rather than different ones?

First of all, we still have much to learn about the brain, this issue included. However, one generally accepted idea is that our brains work to constantly gather evidence in order to better understand and make predictions about the world our bodies inhabit. This, as various arguments go, is what our brains evolved to do. So, much of our unconscious decision making about which words we use is governed by our brain picking up subtle contextual cues in the environment that bias it toward certain decisions.

Mathematically, neuroscientists sometimes use what is called a drift-diffusion model to analyse this phenomenon and how it might correlate with certain brain signals.

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A drift-diffusion model. The horizontal axis represents evidence gathered over time and the vertical axis represents nearness to a decision boundary (Zhang & Rowe, 2014)

To make this more concrete, I thought up an analogy on my walk into CRLI this morning. Imagine the situation of two people walking along a footpath towards each other. When deciding who walks on what side, in Australia, we have a leftward bias influenced by our traffic laws. But what happens if these people are already quite close and just happen to be walking on their respective right-hand sides? Our brains, here, recognise it is easier to stick on the side we are already on, and this overrides our natural tendency to veer left. In this instance, our brains are gathering spatial and movement information from what we see and hear to decide where we walk, and this is also influenced by cultural context. Back to the word choice example, I might normally write one word on a blog (cultural and experiential biases) but I might subconsciously choose another one influenced by what I might have been reading that day. At a higher level, it is similar to how we have ideas. For example, my walk this morning influenced the ideas I talked about in this blog.


Howard-Jones, P. A. (2014). Neuroscience and education: Myths and messages. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 15(12), 817-824.

Zhang, J., & Rowe, J. (2014). Dissociable mechanisms of speed-accuracy tradeoff during visual perceptual learning are revealed by a hierarchical drift-diffusion model. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8(8), 69.

In the last couple decades, one of the most talked about ideas in education has been that of the "flipped classroom"—see for example In a traditional classroom, we receive a lecture on a topic, then get practice in applying the topic for homework. A flipped classroom "flips" this structure. In other words, we watch a video of a lecture at home and then practice and apply the concept in the classroom. The advantage of a video lecture is that one can pause or rewatch sections of a video if one fails to understand, all without time pressure or peer pressure (e.g. not being confident enough to ask a question). The advantage of 'homework' in the classroom is that the teacher can more actively support the students during formative stages of applying a concept and intervene more immediately when needed.

Despite a growing interest in flipped classroom models of learning, there has been very little research that has empirically evaluated its efficacy. And despite its prominence in the popular consciousness, there are a number of educational researchers not so convinced of its claims to "revolutionise education". So given this, an international team, including CRLI core member Abelardo Pardo, has taken a critical look at this issue in a new paper in the journal The Internet and Higher Education. Working with methodologies from the field of learning analytics, they identify 4 different learning strategies and 5 different student profiles that tend to occur within flipped classroom teaching. Having a finer grain of analysis, as offered here, enables educational researchers and designers to better understand and improve how we might use flipped classroom teaching.

See the original paper for details.

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Two representations of student activity patterns for A) students performing above the 90th percentile, and B) students performing below the 25th percentile

And as a bonus piece of good news, Abelardo has just been appointed a "Senior Fellow" of The Higher Education Academy: a professional institution promoting excellence in higher education. The Senior Fellow distinction is given to individuals that demonstrate a thorough understanding of effective approaches to teaching and learning support as a key contribution to high quality student learning.

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Normally, we tend to think of teaching just as something that teachers do, and perhaps if the teacher is diligent, the teacher might engage in some lesson planning to prepare their teaching. We tend to not, however, to think of teaching as something that can be designed. Educational/instructional design is something that is only beginning to be explored more seriously, and our own team here at CRLI has a few things to say about the matter.

A new paper in journal Computers in Human Behavior does just this. A multi-institutional team, including our centre co-director Peter Goodyear, some former CRLI/CoCo academics, and other collaborators, explores the latest research coming from our innovative Educational Design Studio (EDS). The results speak to the powerful affordances of both digital and analogue tools in a design environment, and the importance of collaboration in the design process.

Check out the paper for more details

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One of our associated research groups, the Learning, Cognition, and Brain Sciences research group (LCBS), will be hosting a couple guests from Beijing Normal University the coming week. Dr. Qinhua Zheng and Dr. Jingjing Zhang will join the LCBS meeting and informally discuss their research, primarily involving learning analytics, educational data mining, and educational technologies more broadly. Anyone interested in joining the meeting and hearing about their research is most welcome to do so.

Date: 14th of February; Time: 10am-12pm; Location: CoCo Lab (Room 237 in the Education Building, University of Sydney)

Dr. Qinhua Zheng is associate dean of School of Education Technology and director of Research Centre of Distance Education at Beijing Normal University (BNU). Since 2009, he has worked as an associate professor in Research Center of Distance Education, BNU. Areas of his research interests include the cost-effectiveness analysis of distance education, quality assurance of e-learning,Massive Online Open Courses; learning analytics. These years, his researches mainly focused on how to build the model to explain the online learners’ competency during their web-based learning, and how to use data to show and assess the learners’ situation. He has developed the software “Wisdom Line” to give supports to the online learning institutes in China based the researches.

Dr. Jingjing Zhang received her BSc in Computer Science from BNU, an MRes from University College London (UCL), an MSc and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. As an undergraduate, she was awarded 2003 AIEJ Scholarship for a one-year exchange study at Tokyo Gakugei University. At the University of Oxford (MSc, DPhil), she was a Clarendon scholar and a member of Brasenose College (funded by ORS scholarship). She now directs the Big Data Centre for Technology-mediated Education at the Faculty of Education of BNU, specialising in learning and technology. Before joining BNU, she was first trained in Directorate for Education, OECD Paris, and then interned at the Department of Management, the UN headquarters New York. Dr. Zhang’s work focuses on developing data mining techniques (e.g., complex networking analysis) to explore human relationships and activities online, particularly in the learning sciences. This includes the impact on learning and collaboration in using open educational resources (OERs), massive open online courses (MOOCs), and knowledge visualization.

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We bring good news!

CRLI researchers have won funding for an ambitious, interdisciplinary project to study how people learn to co-create knowledge. Funded by the Sydney Research Excellence Initiative (SREI 2020), researchers from CRLI and across the university will come together to look at how people learn in complex, interdisciplinary environments from schools, to universities, to workplaces and cutting-edge industries. More than simply learning old facts, however, the project will focus on understanding how we learn to co-create new knowledge with others. Increasingly it is realised that this ability to work with knowledge, and to do so in varied interdisciplinary teams, is increasingly important for life and work in a knowledge-generating society. An understanding of how we learn to do this, therefore, is important!

So stay tuned for updates as this project develops. And congratulations to the team, led by Associate Professor Lina Markauskaite. Exciting times ahead for CRLI!

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The job of ranking the academic productivity of Universities is always a difficult one, and the results of which are invariably contested and fought over. Despite this, a team from the US has recently offered a ranking in the area of ‘Instructional Design and Technology’ that looks at a number of metrics and offers some thoughts on the field at large (West, Thomas, Bodily, Wright & Borup, 2016). One of their key metrics used to determine the outcome was to look at a selection of 20 of the discipline’s key journals, and to see which university produced the most papers in these journals. Looking at a period between 2005-2014, and a total of 1496 individual papers, our very own University of Sydney came a quite respectable 12th place.

While not quite a podium finish, we take the gold medal amongst Australian universities and place above a number of prestigious American universities. Not bad for little ol’ Sydney (the rough quantitative approach taken here favours larger universities).

West, R. E., Thomas, R. A., Bodily, R., Wright, C., & Borup, J. (2016). An analysis of instructional design and technology departments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-20.


Ryan Baker is visiting on his way to a keynote at the ASCILITE Conference in Adelaide. He will be giving a talk at 3pm on Friday 25 November at the University of Sydney, all welcome! Friday 25 November, 3pm, rooms 249 & 250, Level 2 South, Fisher Library (F03), University of Sydney. Campus map:

Ryan Baker.jpeg

Modeling Complex Skill with Educational Data Mining

Abstract: In recent years, the emerging methods of educational data mining have made it possible to model performance on complex skills occurring within online education, making it possible in turn to measure learning of these skills over time. In this talk, I will discuss my lab’s work to model the development of these skills, both in structured contexts such intelligent tutoring systems, and less structured contexts such as simulations and serious games. For example, I will discuss our work to infer when students are able to successfully design controlled experiments within simulations, and when they are able to successfully navigate a complex virtual environment to gather evidence that enables them to answer causal questions about events in that virtual environment. By modeling complex student skill and inferring students’ knowledge of these skills, we make it possible to create educational and training environments that can support students in developing robust and useful competencies.

Ryan is Associate Professor of Cognitive Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, USA. He is in Australia as a keynote speaker at the 2016 ASCILITE Conference, and we’re fortunate to be able to have him with us in Sydney while he’s visiting.

LARG.jpgThe Sydney Learning Analytics Research Group (LARG) is excited to offer a conference travel grant of $3,500 to attend the 2017 Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK) Conference to be held in Vancouver, BC, Canada 13-17 March.

The call for applications for this grant is now open, and the due date is Monday 16 January 2017. Applicants must have a submission (of any type) accepted for presentation at LAK 2017, and be either a current staff member or current student of the University of Sydney. Submissions for LAK are currently open - there are several deadlines, the last of which is 2 December 2016.

More information is available, including how to apply and the conditions of the grant at

Join us on November 2nd for our last seminar of 2017, the "Learning Analytics Research Group (LARG) showcase session", with presenters Jess McBroom and Associate Professor Kalina Yacef.

LARG is a joint venture of the newly established Quality and Analytics Group within the University's Education Portfolio, and CRLI. The key purposes for establishing LARG are to:
:: build capacity in learning analytics, for the bevefit of the instituion, its staff and its students
:: generate interest and expertise in learning analytics at the University, and build a new network of research colleagues
:: build a profile for The University of Sydney as a national and international leader in learning analytics.

This seminar is the first event in which the LARG will showcase two of ts recent projects.
Presenter: Jess McBroom
Presenter: Associate Professor Kalina Yacef

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 2 Nov 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
• Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.

The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

Join us on October 19th for "Sites of Epistemic Cognition", a CRLI seminar with Dr Simon Knight, Research Fellow in Writing Analytics at the University of Technology Sydney.

Simon-Knight267.jpgSimon's PhD research investigated epistemic cognition – cognition regarding the source, justification, complexity, and stability of knowledge – in collaborative information tasks. Students worked on separate computers making use of a tool (Coagmento) that facilitated their activity, providing a chat and collaborative text editor, and tracked their activity.

In this talk, I’ll discuss developing work on conceptualising the design of that research in terms of ‘sites of epistemic cognition’: situations; activities; products; and actors. In a parallel line of work, I have been re-conceiving ‘epistemic cognition’ in light of recent moves in the philosophical literature on ‘social epistemology’. The talk will introduce this novel account, illustrating its use as a lens onto epistemic dialogue.
Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 19 October 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
• Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.

The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

Register now for the 24th Oct workshop. Can data help me better understand and support learners, a University of Sydney Innovation Week workshop.

Datd.jpgThe emerging learning environments offer unprecedented opportunities to collect data about learner interactions. Can this data help instructions innovate in their teaching? Can they increase their understanding and support of the learners? The area of Learning Analytics focuses on how data can be used to improve the overall student experience. Although data is being used in other areas such as business or marketing, the uptake in educational institutions is slower than expected.
In this hands-on workshop we will explore some common techniques to analyse data about student learning and explore the process to translate it into actionable knowledge. The activities in the workshop will be divided into the following modules:
1. Connecting data to questions. Which aspects of a learning experience are suitable to be explore with the help of data? What questions can be answered based on data?
2. Connecting with learning theory. How can theory guide the design of data-intensive learning experiences?
3. Data-supported actions. What actions can be derived from the combination of data and educational theories?
4. At the end of the workshop the attendees should be capable of explaining how data can be used to guide or support personalised student support actions.

Additional instructions: attendees are required to bring their own personal computer to be used during the session.
• Duration: 4 hours
• Date/Time/Location: Monday 24 October 2016, 1pm - 5pm/ Fisher Library F03 Meeting Room 249
• More information at

This is University of Sydney Innovation Week event, co-hosted by the Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) and the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

Join us on October 12th for "Insights to action: a transformative approach to business analytics", a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) seminar with Craig Napier.

To enable innovation, insights, experimentation and discovery, Universities must attempt to harness the value of data in driving more informative and effective decisions. The ease with which people interact and connect with people, devices, the internet and share content is increasing every day and these new sources of information are generating new possibilities for exploration, requiring new capabilities to be developed. Given the increasing volumes of data the problem is not that the data does not exist but shifts to how to make the data available, filter through the noise, reuse and scale initiatives and to generate insights that lead to action. This is a practical session that will focus on:

:: the challenges facing analytics initiatives
:: what we can do to deliver improved insights efficiently
:: how we can share knowledge and expertise and in partnership deliver shared business outcomes that lead to action.

Craig Napier has worked in data-intensive environments for more than 15 years, domestically and internationally, and is program director of Business Intelligence at the University of Sydney where he is developing and delivering enhanced capabilities and insights in business intelligence and analytics. Prior to this, Mr Napier was director of Business Intelligence at the University of Wollongong, systems manager at the University of Wollongong's $62 million SMART Infrastructure Facility (where he was integral in the establishment of the Information and Data Discoverability Centre) and a lecturer in business analytics. Mr Napier is a member of The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI), coordinator of the Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence & Analytics special interest group of the Australasian Association for Institutional Research and a Fellow of CPA Australia.

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 12 October 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
• Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.

The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

The Concord Consortium (, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming STEM education through technology, is looking for a Research Associate specializing in STEM education, design-based research, or classroom-based research in middle and high school classrooms.

The Research Associate will work closely with senior research personnel at the Concord Consortium to coordinate field testing of technologically enhanced, NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessment materials and contribute to research on novel middle and high school curriculum units that integrate modeling, sensor-based laboratories, performance assessments, and programmable software to help students achieve a deeper understanding of core ideas in biological, physical, and Earth sciences. The Research Associate will also be involved in data collection and analysis and support evaluation of teacher preparation and classroom enactments. They’re looking for a team player who is excited to work in a stimulating, technology-rich environment to help make a difference in education. See for more details.

Senior research assistant - Curriculum measurement and evaluation framework (closes 27 Sep)

HEO Level 7, casual, $59.96/hour
2-3 days per week, hours are flexible
Working under the supervision of Dr Kathryn Bartimote-Aufflick, Head Quality and Analytics in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Portfolio
Based within the Education Portfolio space on Level 2 of Fisher Library

The position is related to a project funded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), ‘Cultural Competence: A Measurement and Evaluation Framework’. The aim of the project is to develop a framework and preferred approach for tracking the success of efforts to embed cultural competence in the University’s curriculum. The two key pieces of work are to produce a framework document, and to collect baseline data for a range of proposed measures.

Cultural competence is one of several graduate qualities outlined in the new Sydney curriculum, details of which are available in the University’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan: The framework for evaluating the embedding of cultural competence into curriculum will need to be adaptable to other graduate qualities. Closing date: Tuesday 27 September 2016.

Job criteria:
- Take a scholarly and evidence-based approach to evaluation, with knowledge of a range of approaches, frameworks, or forms of evaluation
- Work within a particular evaluation framework to collaboratively design or select measurement tools for curriculum evaluation
- Comfortable to access research literature from a range of relevant disciplines, and to use and present this information in a variety of ways
- Experience in collecting, analysing, and reporting both quantitative and qualitative data
- Analytical writing skills:
: Ability to write in an academic style
: Write clear and accurate evaluation reports for a variety of audiences
: Write short briefing papers for managers and committees, and provide recommendations
- Confident to consult with a range of stakeholders to aide effective evaluation design
- Experience liaising with both academic staff and professional staff, and a demonstrated level of tact and discretion in dealing with stakeholders at all levels of an organisation
- Ability to manage multiple tasks, priortise effectively, meet deadlines, and produce required outcomes
- Strong problem solving skills and the ability to use initiative and exercise sound judgement with attention to detail

Contact or 9351 4955.
To apply: Please send an email to Brooke Fuz addressing how your experience and skills align with the criteria and duties, and attach your CV and up to three examples of your written work.

Empathic Agents to Support Understanding Science Understanding in a Virtual Learning Environment

Research has found that learner relationships (teacher and peer) involving computer-based learning are similar to the equivalent human-human learning relationships in the classroom. Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) research over the past decade has focused on the creation of characters that are socially capable requiring IVAs to have good verbal and non-verbal communication skills including congruent language, facial expressions and body gestures. More recently, there is strong interest in affective agents who are able to express emotions. The work on empathetic or empathic agents goes even further as the IVA seeks to demonstrate understanding of the emotional state of the human and respond in a way that is supportive. This work has been found to deliver improved interactions. Despite growing interest in affective and empathetic agents to create intelligent agents that are more believable and socially capable, their use in education is emerging. This project will involve the design, development and evaluation of the use of empathetic agents in a multi-user virtual environment to support basic self-regulated learning strategies. The project is likely to incorporate the use of data/learning analytics to inform the IVA about the human’s learning progress to provide personalised support to the learner.

The project is part of larger and ongoing ARC-funded Discovery grant "Agent-based virtual learning environments for understanding science", and it involves a collaboration between Macquarie University and the University of Sydney.

Contact Prof. Deborah Richards at or (02) 98509567 for more information. For more information and to see the entry criteria, go to and expand the link at "Faculty of Science and Engineering".

The 2016 MQRES full-time stipend rate is $26,288 pa (2016 rate) tax exempt for 3 years. The scholarship is intended for domestic students but international students can apply but, if successful, will need to pay their own tuition fees. Applicants would be expected to have a record of excellent academic performance, especially in the research Masters degree, and additional relevant research experience and/or peer-reviewed research activity, awards and/or prizes. Applicants will need to complete a candidature/scholarship application form and arrange for two academic referee reports to be submitted to the Higher Degree Research Office. Please quote the allocation number (2015113) on your application.

Are you interested in educational innovation, and in collaborating with others on research and development that can improve learning opportunities for everyone? Our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are looking for interested researchers.

Neuroscience and Education SIG
Neuroscience is impacting educational research and practice and many leading educational societies in America and Europe have similar SIGs. In Australia this integration of neuroscience into the study of learning and educational practice is still in embryonic form and there is an urgent need to take this research agenda forward. Here at the University of Sydney, all Faculty of Education and Social Work undergraduates in the last 6 years have been introduced to neuroscience. This SIG was formed in 2014 and is coordinated by Dr. Minkang Kim (returns from leave in mid-September).

Learning Analytics Research Group (LARG)
Technology is offering additional data about how students interact and learn, and Learning Analytics is considered an emerging discipline with consolidated conferences and journals. This multidisciplinary field combining education, psychology, technology has the potential to substantially improve of the overall student experience. This SIG was formed in 2015 in partnership with DVC Education. It is co-directed by Dr. Kathryn Bartimote-Aufflick and Dr Abelardo Pardo, for more information see the website at or join the mailing list.

Interdisciplinary knowledge, learning and innovation
This SIG is for anyone interested in understanding and improving translational/boundary work. It will create possibilities for practitioners and researchers who are interested in interdisciplinary and inter-professional expertise, teaching and learning, across individual and team expertise; in research, professional and learning contexts. Coordinated by A/Prof. Lina Markauskaite, for more information see the Interdisciplinary Learning Group on Yammer.

New Learning Spaces - SIG under creation, first call below.
New technologies, new working arrangements and new ways of understanding knowledge and knowing are raising complex questions about relationships between the designed environment and learning. Actionable insights are in short supply. Yet the need for guidance about how to design, manage and use innovative learning spaces is becoming more intense. At CRLI we are well placed to initiate conversations about the challenges these changes bring, and we are pleased to announce the launch of a new SIG dedicated to researching Innovative Learning Spaces. Membership of the SIG is open to all members of the CRLI who have a serious interest in new learning spaces. To find out more, please email

CRLI links
:: CRLI website
:: CRLI on YouTube - Who are CRLI and what do we do?
:: Chat with us - We have a Twitter account - @CRLI_Usyd and Yammer group
:: For August's news, see our newsletter

Register now for Friday's Teaching@Sydney event - Overcoming the Trump effect: What to do with misconceived but highly confident learners?


Confidence has been linked to better career outcomes, happiness and a greater likelihood of attracting a suitable partner. However, confidence has a dark side that is overconfidence. Overconfidence is particularly a problem in relation to commonly held misconceptions. Here one might expect that overconfidence always interferes with learning from our mistakes but this is not always the case. It seems that we are more likely to remember an error if we were initially confident we were correct, compared to errors resulting from a guess. This hypercorrection effect has been attributed to attentional enhancement as a result of a mismatch between confidence in a response and its actual correctness. In other words we learn when we are surprised.

In this seminar Dr Jason M Lodge, psychological scientist, Senior Lecturer in the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and a Senior Research Fellow in Learning Sciences in the Australian Research Council funded Science of Learning Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, will present an overview of research on the hypercorrection effect and discuss how it might prove useful in a higher education context. Jason’s research focuses on the application of the learning sciences to higher education and the ways in which technology is influencing learning. Jason is also co-editor (with Jared Cooney Horvath and John Hattie) of From the Laboratory to the Classroom (Routledge, 2016) and Associate Editor of Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.

:: When: 26 August 2016 12.00pm – 1.00pm
:: Where: New Law School Lecture Theatre 024
:: Cost: Free
:: More information and registration at

Join us on August 24th for "Speculative method in digital education research", a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) seminar with Dr Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh.

JenRoss(3).jpgIn this seminar, Jen Ross discusses Speculative method in digital education research – the subject of a paper she recently published in the journal Learning, Media and Technology. The question of ‘what works’ is currently dominating educational research, often to the exclusion of other kinds of inquiries and without enough recognition of its limitations. At the same time, digital education practice, policy and research over-emphasises control, efficiency and enhancement, neglecting the ‘not-yetness’ of technologies and practices which are uncertain and risky. As a result, digital education researchers require many more kinds of questions, and methods, in order to engage appropriately with the rapidly shifting terrain of digital education, to aim beyond determining ‘what works’ and to participate in ‘intelligent problem solving’ (Biesta, 2010) and ‘inventive problem-making’ (Michael, 2012).

Jen will discuss speculative methods as they are currently used in a range of social science and art and design disciplines, discuss them in terms of epistemology, temporality and audience, and argue for the relevance of these approaches to digital education. Using ‘teacherbot’ ( ) and ‘artcasting’ ( ) examples from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research in Digital Education, the talk will demonstrate speculative method in action, and reflect on some of the tensions such approaches can generate, as well as their value and importance in the current educational research climate.

Dr Jen Ross is a senior lecturer, co-director of the Centre for Research in Digital Education, and Deputy Director (KE) of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include: Online and distance learning and teaching; Cultural heritage learning and engagement; Digital cultures; Reflective practices; Online learning and identity; Higher education; Creativity and Digital futures. You can learn more about Jen at:

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 24 August 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
• Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.

The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

Join us on August 31st for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) seminar with Dr Pippa Yeoman, Lessons in reading the learning landscape.


The human drive to learn is strong, but not irrepressible. The ways in which people engage in learning can be shaped by a range of factors, including developmental, social, economic and political factors. Such influences have been studied widely, but rather little is known about how physical space affects learning activity.

Space matters. The current NSW budget for school infrastructure over the next four years is set at $2.6 billion, and the University of Sydney has committed $2.5 billion to building projects on its Camperdown campus, by 2020. Whilst these figures highlight an area of significant investment in education, there is very little actionable educational research that traces the relations between learning activity and the learning environment. How does your current location support learning activity? Do you look forward to teaching in any particular space? How do you adapt your teaching and learning practices to work with and not against the spaces in which you are scheduled to teach?

Drawing on fieldwork in innovative school and university settings, Dr Pippa Yeoman will present some of the theoretical tools she uses to explore the connections between learning activity and the learning environment. Pippa’s PhD dissertation, Habits & habitats: An ethnography of learning entanglement, can found here.

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 31 August 2016. This is a brown bag event, you are welcome to bring your lunch to eat.
• Where: Room 612 Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
More information here..

The CRLI Wednesday seminars (formerly CoCo and STL) run on most Wednesdays in semester and host local and international experts who present research on learning and educational innovation in an informal setting.

About Us

The Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) aims to provide a focus for the university’s research on learning and innovation. Formed from CoCo and the STL research network, we have strong roots in Education, with substantial involvement from Engineering & IT, Science, Health Sciences and Medicine.

About the Blog

Research by the University's Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).