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April 2016

Join us on May 4 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Online and off-screen (inter)actions in online learning, with Janica Nordstrom.

Evidence is mounting that, in order to understand students’ participation in online learning, research needs to expand the field of inquiry beyond the computer screen, to examine how students physical environment and ‘off-screen’ actions affect their online participation and interactions.

In this seminar, Janica will focus on her ethnographic doctoral study of one Swedish community-language class taught in blended mode. Community-language schools are schools offering complementary language education to students in K-12 context. In a response to decline in enrolments and motivation, some schools have begun offering online, distance-learning programs. To explore how students constructed their participation in synchronous text-based computer-mediated communication, Camtasia recordings of online lessons as well as video recordings of their physical environment were employed. Focusing on both online and ‘off-screen’ actions, a multimodal interaction analysis approach allowed for simultaneous analysis of complex networks of (inter)actions and how they co-existed. Findings showed that students drew heavily on off-screen interactions and technological resources unknown to their teacher and peers, suggesting that the boundaries of the learning environment were fluid and flexible.


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.

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 4 May 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.

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The integration of authentic work-based activities and technology-mediated learning can provide important opportunities to bridge education and work contexts and build students’ digital capacities, online professional identities and technology-mediated work practices. However, Workplace learning (WPL) and technology-mediated learning do not always intersect in practice.

The OLT project “Enhancing workplace learning through mobile technology” is developing a set of resources to help students make the most of their WPL experience using mobile technology. As a part of this, the project team has developed a resource "The GPS for WPL" and a set of initial design patterns to help academics and workplace educators/supervisors to create learning experiences that enhance students’ capacities to use personal mobile devices productively for workplace learning.

The project team is now seeking for feedback on how these initial resources and patterns can be improved, and invites all academics, workplace educators, learning designers and students to review these initial resources and patterns, and provide their suggestions. To give your feedback, please review one or all of the following resources and follow the prompts after clicking on “Give us Feedback” icon located at the top and bottom of each resource.


  • The GPS for WPL: An online resource for students to help them navigate the WPL landscape using mobile technology.
  • Initiating Dialogue: A pattern to help design resources or structured discussions that lead to clarifying expectations, pedagogical use and generally a shared understanding about the use of mobile technology on placement.
  • Planning Learning Experiences: A pattern to help design resources or activities to prepare students’ for their WPL experiences.
  • Networking Activities: A pattern to help design resources or activities that support live collaboration and interactions between students, academics, workplace educators or supervisors.
  • Creating Your Own ‘On-The-Go’ Activities: A pattern to help design resources that allow students to construct participatory and self-directed WPL learning activities.
  • Professional and Safe Conduct: A pattern to help design resources or activities to determine ways of developing and maintaining professional and safe conduct for students’ use of mobile technology while on placement.

More information can be found in the information sheet (for academics, for WPE or for students). If you have any questions or would like to take part in a focus group or be interviewed, please email Dr Celina McEwen.

Note: The resources were developed as part of a two-year research project funded by the Commonwealth Government Office for Learning and Teaching, conducted by Franziska Trede (Charles Sturt University), Peter Goodyear (The University of Sydney), Susie Macfarlane (Deakin University), Lina Markauskaite (The University of Sydney), Freny Tayebjee (Western Sydney University), Patricia Parish (Western Sydney University) and Celina McEwen (Charles Sturt University).

Join us on April 27 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Justifying qualitative research" with Dr Fiona Hibberd.

In psychology, those wanting to justify use of qualitative methods often cite the discipline’s uncritical adherence to an outmoded positivist philosophy of science as the source of its obsession with quantitative practices. They point to more recent philosophies including social constructionism, constructivism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, hermeneutics, phenomenology and critical realism as alternatives to positivism. Proponents of this idea argue that these alternatives better accommodate subjects’ contextual lived experiences and the meanings they give to them; the importance of inquirer–subject interactions, and the theory- and value-ladenness of facts.

In this talk, Dr Hibberd will argue that using these philosophies to justify qualitative research is misguided; note a different source of mainstream psychology’s preoccupation with quantitative research; and provide a very different justification for qualitative research following from a realist understanding of the nature of reality. Her presentation will demonstrate this rationale unfolds from a metaphysical package about which we have no choice, a package that also exposes the myth that psychologists measure psychological attributes.

Dr Hibberd specialises in examining the foundational questions in psychology. This involves testing the theories, concepts and presuppositions that drive psychology's research.

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.

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 27 April 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.

Join us on April 20 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Failing to follow instructions: The neuroscience of goal neglect and its implications for teaching complex materials" with Gareth Roberts.

Failing to follow instructions is a common trait of students who perform poorly in the classroom. Neuroscience research may be particularly informative in understanding this phenomenon, and consequently lead to more effective educational interventions.

In this talk I will discuss my research stream on goal neglect, a mismatch in behaviour where people are able to verbally recall task instructions but show no attempt to perform them in behaviour. Frequently described in historical accounts of major damage to the frontal lobes, goal neglect is not due to memory, motor or perceptual problems, but rather reflects a core cognitive deficit in coordinating complex steps of behaviour. I will outline the neuroscience of how people learn rapidly from verbal instructions and how this is achieved through the coordinated activity of prefrontal and parietal cortices. In addition, I will provide an overview of research I have conducted with children, adults, and different neuroimaging methodologies. Finally, I will discuss the implications this research has on the teaching of complex material in the classroom, and how these findings can be incorporated into practice.

Gareth is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and CoCo. He applies modern analytical and neuroscientific approaches to investigate the transfer of abstract knowledge to novel situations and how to best influence a participant's learning strategy.

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.

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 20 April 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.

LARG.jpgRegister now to attend a hands-on learning analytics workshop, Using Learning Analytics to Provide Personalised Support to Your Semester 1 Students on April 14th.

This workshop is being held as part of an Educational Innovation Grant Project by Dr Melanie Keep, Professor Adam Bridgeman, Dr Kathryn Bartimote-Aufflick, Dr Abelardo Pardo, Dr Danny Liu, Professor Charlotte Taylor and Dr Hong-Dao Nguyen. For more information about the project or to participate, please see http://bit.ly/1PPjte5.

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Join us on April 6 for a Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI) Wednesday seminar; "Shall We Play A Game? Connections between visual attention and reading." with Dr Piergiorgio Trevisan.

Learning to read is difficult for about 10 per cent of students, although this proportion varies significantly, depending on the language involved. Struggling to acquire reading skills has severe consequences for students' literacy and therefore on crucial aspects of life. Reading difficulties are often caused by dyslexia, a neurodevelopmental disorder, the causes of which are still hotly debated. Since most dyslexic children have problems in sound recognition, treatments have mainly focused on phonological aspects, with contrasting results.

New synergies between education and cognitive science have been established in the past 10 years in different areas, including reading difficulties. A growing number of studies have correlated dyslexia and visual attention, and some experiments have been conducted in Europe suggesting that children’s reading abilities improve when their visual attention is trained.

Pier's research at the University of Sydney has involved working with about 40 children, using games with different features. The data collected suggests that different types of video games train visual attention in different ways, with different consequences on reading outcomes. Dr Trevisan will present the methodologies, findings and limits of his research, together with discussion for further investigations in the future.

Event details
• When: 11.30am to 1.00pm on 6 April 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

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