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CoCo Seminar


Professor Peter Reimann

The widespread availability of learner-related data has the potential to empower students, teachers, parents and school leaders by providing critical insights into the learning process. However, fostering a culture of data-informed learning and teaching in schools remains a significant challenge. This is in part due to capacity: Teachers are by and large not prepared for advanced data practices, and teacher education providers are currently not well prepared to develop that capacity. Research on developing data literacy for teachers, research so far has focussed mainly on three aspects: 1) analysis of the components that make up this literacy, 2) analysis of existing teacher education programs, and 3) studies on professional development programs conducted with in-service teachers. After an overview of the state of the art, I will address questions regarding What to learn and How to learn about data literacy in more detail, focusing on pre-service teacher education because very little is known at this stage about how to design for and support the learning of education students.

Event details
When: Wed April 12, 2017, 11.30am– 1.00pm (this is a brown bag seminar, attendees are welcome to bring their lunch)
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
No need to RSVP, just come on the day.


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.

Join us on Weds 28th October for Getting interested, our final Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar this year.

"Getting interested". Everyone implicitly understands it; everyone recognises its importance. It is clearly a part of learning, and thereby education. That said, where does “getting students interested” figure within teachers' course organisation? Do they consider it as important as the knowledge/skills development aspect of their teaching?

This seminar by Dr Luke Fryer will begin by reviewing the development of the academic understanding of "interest". The discussion will then turn to his research into the role of individual differences within interest. From this general test of interest development, Luke will present an interest model that has been explicitly designed to support instruction within secondary and tertiary education. Two initial tests – both currently under review – will then be discussed, followed by a preview of beta-software developed for the micro-analytic measurement of interest and an examination of future directions for the field, as well as Luke's own research program.

Luke Fryer is a Ewing Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Education and Social Work whose current research focus is working towards understanding why students (don’t) study and more recently what factors are involved in initiating their interest in a domain of study.

Event details
• When: 28 Oct, 11.00-12.30 (come at 10.45 for refreshments)
• Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
• More information here

There are still problems with problem-based learning: recent innovations and new directions

A Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Alisha Portolese.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is widely used in universities, high schools, and even primary classrooms globally. It is considered by many to be the leading learning design for medical education, and has branched out to a wide variety of disciplines in health sciences and beyond. Although widespread, PBL has components that are not adequately grounded in learning theory. In this presentation, PhD candidate Alisha Portolese (pictured) will argue that PBL needs some specific tweaks to better provide the best that we can offer in terms of an efficient, effective, productive learning experience. It will discuss how we can apply strong learning science research about how people learn to improve the design of PBL, highlight strengths and pitfalls, discuss recent improvements and innovations, and suggest future directions. The presentation will speak to PBL learning design at both a research and teaching level.

Alisha Portolese is a PhD candidate at CoCo, researching integrating elements from productive failure and analogical encoding theory into problem-based learning in medical education.

Event details
• When: 21 Oct, 11.00-12.30 (come at 10.45 for refreshments)
• Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
• More information here

Traces on the Walls and Traces in the Air: Inscriptions and Gestures in Educational Design Team Meetings

Imagine having to explain to your colleagues during a face-to-face design meeting what your idea looks like. Designers in many fields such as architecture, engineering, and web design are trained in expressing their ideas using drawings and sketches. These designers are encouraged to learn how to draw and to avoid disposing of their sketches, even when they are just messy “scribblings”. A significant portion of the literature in Design Studies is dedicated to the study of visual representations and in particular to hand-drawn sketches produced during the initial ideational phase. In contrast, very little is known about how educational designers use drawing and sketching to support their communication in face-to-face design team meetings.

In this presentation I will describe the findings from my PhD study in which I investigated how five groups of educational designers created and used inscriptions in support of their design activities. Inscriptions are defined here as all types of drawings, sketches, and visual marks created in support of design activities.

A face-to-face design session often involves multimodal communication thus requiring the analysis of other modes such as gestures. In this study gestures were often used as an additional communicative channel. They functioned as complementary representational means through which the participants made sense of the inscriptions.

The results from this study contribute to our understanding of the multimodal nature of communication in face-to-face design and have implications for the design and function of next-generation design tools and design environments, as well as for the training of educational designers.

DW267.jpgA Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Dewa Wardak. Dewa Wardak is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo), University of Sydney. Dewa’s main research area focuses on understanding the role of visual representations, in particular free-hand sketching, and their use by educational designers in design team settings. Her research interests include design for learning, design of online learning environments, learning by design, collaborative learning, online learning communities, and knowledge visualization.

Event details
• When: 16 Sept, 11.00-12.30 (come at 10.45 for refreshments)
• Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
• This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
• No need to RSVP, just come on the day.

Join us on 9 September for "Cognitive load theory" a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Professor John Sweller, Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology in the School of Education, University of New South Wales.

Cognitive load theory uses our knowledge of human cognition to devise instructional procedures. The following aspects of human cognition are critical to instructional design.

First, based on evolutionary educational psychology, cognitive load theory assumes that most topics taught in educational and training institutions are ones that we have not specifically evolved to learn.
Second, these instructionally relevant topics require learners to acquire domain-specific, rather than generic, cognitive knowledge.
Third, while generic cognitive knowledge does not require explicit instruction because we have evolved to acquire it, domain-specific concepts and skills that provide the content of educational syllabi, do require explicit instruction.

These three factors interact with the well-known capacity and duration constraints of working memory to delineate a cognitive architecture relevant to instructional design. Because the ability to learn biologically secondary, explicitly taught, domain-specific skills is limited by the capacity of a person's working memory, cognitive load theory has been developed to provide techniques that reduce unnecessary working memory load when teaching these types of skill.

  • When: 11am–12.30pm
  • Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
  • More info available here
  • This seminar will not be available online or recorded.
Dr John Sweller is Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology in the School of Education, University of New South Wales (UNSW). His research reputation is associated with cognitive load theory, an instructional theory based on our knowledge of human cognitive architecture. Professor Sweller initiated work on the theory in the early 1980s. Subsequently, “ownership” of the theory shifted to his research group at UNSW and then to a large group of international researchers. The theory is now a contributor to both research and debate on issues associated with human cognitive architecture, its links to evolution by natural selection, and the instructional design consequences that follow. It is one of the few theories to have generated a large range of novel instructional design effects based on human cognitive architecture. These include: goal-free; worked-example; split-attention; isolated-interacting elements; and collective working-memory effects. His work has been cited 10,000–20,000 times.

MJ267.jpgJoin us on 26 August for Beyond carts and horses: issues in the design of advanced learning systems, a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Professor Michael Jacobson.

In this talk I consider three themes: what we learn with, what we learn, and how we learn. A recently completed ARC funded research project is discussed. Ninth grade students used agent-based computer models to learn difficult scientific knowledge about complex systems of relevance to understanding climate change. We investigated if varying the sequencing of pedagogical structure (SPS) provided for the computer models would result in differential learning outcomes of the targeted complexity and climate concepts. The experimental condition used a low-to-high (LH) SPS sequence based on productive failure (Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012), whereas the comparison condition was based on a teacher’s suggestion to employ a more traditional teaching approach—which is classified as a high-to-low (HL) SPS sequence—for the classroom activities. The main results found significant learning of ideas such as “greenhouse gases” and “carbon cycle” by both groups on the posttest. However, for the more conceptually challenging complex system ideas, such as “self organization” and “emergent properties,” only the LH experimental group demonstrated a significantly higher performance on the posttest compared to the HL comparison condition. Theoretical implications of these findings for the design of advanced learning systems, such as schema abstraction, are considered. In terms of practical implications, I suggest that these research findings challenge many current edtech approaches such as “flipped classrooms” and “MOOCs” that continue to use LH SPS as the core of their pedagogical learning designs.

Leppink100.jpgOn July 29 CoCo and STL will host a special Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar - In search for an optimum: From regulated self-learning to self-regulated learning with Dr. Jimmie Leppink of Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Empirical research inspired by cognitive load theory has resulted in a wide range of guidelines for instructional and assessment design. During my talk, I will discuss how these guidelines can provide a coherent framework for the development of a curriculum, coursework or an individual learning trajectory. Given that assessment methods and learners’ beliefs about these methods can stimulate or hamper learning, it is important to translate end terms of a program, course or trajectory into a coherent assessment program at an early stage. I will discuss how such an assessment program combined with appropriate learning analytics can help to stimulate learning through an enhanced self-regulation on the part of the learner. The talk will be followed by a roundtable where we will discuss what challenge(s) – in practical setting or research – are you dealing with in this context and you would like to discuss? If you wish to submit an abstract, please send no more than 250 words to j.leppink(at)

More information at

When: July 29, 11am–12.30pm, arrive 10.45am for refreshments
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
No RSVP is needed, just come on the day.
This seminar will not be available live online or recorded.

This is a special seminar. Our regular seminar series will restart for semester 2 on 12 Aug with a presentation by Wenming Zheng.

Join us on June 24th for Leading and managing a new vision for higher-education learning; linking curriculum, technologies and learning spaces, a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Shirley Alexander. This event is our last seminar in Semester 1.

Alexander100.jpgThe University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), where the presenter is Professor of Learning Technologies, is well advanced in its billion-dollar investment in its campus masterplan. Seminar attendees will be told how UTS developed its vision for the future of learning in higher education and the ways in which that vision influenced the design of the new learning spaces and the use of learning technologies.

The system of projects that were instigated to roll out that vision will be examined in light of the change-theory literature and used to reflect on successes, failures, and plans for the future.

Shirley Alexander is Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Technology, Sydney where she is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice President (Education and Students). Professor Alexander's long-term research agenda has been on the effective use of information and communication technologies in learning in education.

This is our last seminar in Semester 1. Our next event is a special seminar on July 29 with Jimmie Leppink of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Details will be published, when available, on this blog, in the CoCo and STL newsletter, and on the CoCo website.

Join us on 17 June 2015 for "Developing student teachers’ digital competence in Norwegian teacher education - finding meaningful ways of teaching ESL with ICT", a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Fredrik Mørk Røkenes.


How are student teachers prepared to teach with ICT and what is the role of teacher education? Teacher education has been criticised for not sufficiently preparing student teachers to teach with ICT in new and innovative ways. In order to meet curricular demands and the expectations of the “New Millennium Learners”, teacher-education programs must prepare student teachers to teach with ICT in today’s technology-rich schools by developing their digital competence.

In this seminar visiting scholar Fredrik will present and discuss tentative findings from his ongoing PhD study which investigates postgraduate ESL student teachers’ digital-competence development in Norwegian teacher education. The study focuses on uncovering approaches used to prepare student teachers to teach ESL with ICT, and examines how these approaches are potentially enabled and inhibited in Norwegian teacher education. Digital storytelling will be used as an example to illustrate a didactical method for student teachers to integrate ICT in ESL teaching, and as a way for teacher-education programs to promote digital competence.

When: 11am–12.30pm (arrive 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Room 221 ("Design Studio"), Education Building A35
More information at
This seminar will be live online at

Join us on June 10th for "Exploring the Upward and Downward Shifts of Student Mathematical Engagement", a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Janette Bobis.

This presentation reports on an intervention study aimed at improving middle year (Years 5–7) students’ engagement in mathematics. Motivation and engagement levels in mathematics were assessed prior to and at the completion of a year-long intervention for two different cohorts of students in 2012 (N=339) and 2013 (N=319) using the Motivation and Engagement Scale (Martin, 2008). While 2012 data found downward shifts in student engagement were generally abated and even reversed for some aspects, 2013 results revealed a greater mix of ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ in student engagement levels. Reasons for the variation in findings of the two cohorts are the subject for discussion in this presentation and future exploration.

Associate Professor Janette Bobis is a mathematics educator and researcher in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. She teaches in the areas of primary and early childhood mathematics education and curriculum studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Assessment driving the learning... technology supporting the process, a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar with Bob Fox.

This presentation reflects on 10 years of teaching masters courses for practising teachers, where weekly assignment tasks drive the learning and students evidence their understandings in ePortfolios. In class, activities provide opportunities for students in groups to exchange comments and share key learnings between group members and later the class. Students use feedback received from peers and the teacher to make ongoing improvements to their ePortfolios. The final assignment builds on what students have learnt and placed in their ePortfolios. As the technologies evolved over the past decade, the pedagogy model was adapted, but maintained its focus on students improving their work, based on continuous feedback, leading to the development of a capstone assignment that builds on the culmination of the weekly tasks.

The technology supports the learning and evidences the student work. The technology enables evidencing improvements students make to their work, based on feedback they receive from teachers and fellow students. This presentation examines the teaching approach and an integrated learning design model used to enrich student learning experiences and ensure active and reflective student engagement across the entire course, supported by technology.

When: June 3, 11.00am–12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
More information available here.
This seminar will be live online at

Join us on 27 May for Building better universities, a Research on Learning and Educational Innovation seminar with Jos Boys.

This seminar starts from the belief that we have reached a key moment for the tertiary-education sector, where the services, location, scale, ownership, and distinctiveness of education are being altered dramatically, whether universities and colleges want it or not. Higher education faces many challenges, including marketisation, internationalisation and the impact of new technologies. Most crucially, these shifts are affecting traditional assumptions about the ‘proper shape’ of higher-education institutions, its teaching and learning practices and the roles of – and relationships between – learners, teachers, researchers, managers, businesses and communities.

At the same time, many universities are developing responses to this changing world. What, then, can we learn from such initiatives – both large and small – in university and college provision across the globe? How can they help us think critically, constructively and creatively about alternative learning and teaching frameworks and practices in our own institutions? This seminar, based on Jos's most recent publication, Building Better Universities: Strategies, Spaces, Technologies (Routledge 2015), offers participants the opportunity to discuss the implications of contemporary change on institutional ‘shape’ and on curriculum design and delivery.

Jos Boys is an academic developer with the Learning and Teaching Unit of the School of Education at the University of New South Wales. She has a background in architecture and design, and has worked across many institutions as an academic, researcher and in curriculum design and development. Jos was employed as a research fellow in learning spaces at the University of Brighton, UK, and has several publications in this area, including Towards Creative Learning Spaces: Re-thinking the Architecture of Post-compulsory Education (2011).

When: 27 May, 11am–12.30pm
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
This seminar will be live online at
More information here

Join us on 20 May for "Modelling complex learning spaces", a Research on Learning and Education Innovation seminar, with Director of eLearning Associate Professor Rob Ellis and Professor of Education Peter Goodyear.

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Universities and schools are spending billions of dollars each year creating new kinds of learning spaces, without much evidence to connect built form to educational outcomes. In this talk, we will share some foundational ideas from our new ARC-funded project "Modelling complex learning spaces". This project has a number of aims including discovering how designers of new spaces are able to make use of research evidence in their design processes and how to combine observational and experiential data about space and learning into actionable knowledge for the many people who (re)configure space for learning.

We are interested in the implications of this knowledge in supporting teaching staff in their design of, and teaching in, complex learning spaces, as well as how physical and digital spaces interweave and how network and spatial framings of educational phenomena may be integrated.

When: 11am–12.30pm (arrive 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
This seminar will be live online at
More information available here.

Our 13 May seminar is "Design for learning: communities and flexible design processes" with Davinia Hernández-Leo.

davinia100.jpgDavinia Hernández-Leo is Associate Professor in the Department of Information and Communications Technologies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Barcelona (UPF), the coordinator of the Learning Technologies section of the Interactive Technologies Group (, Vice-Dean of the UPF ICT-Engineering School and the head of its unit for teaching quality and innovation.

In this seminar Davinia will present a short overview of the Learning Technologies research that we are carrying out at the ICT department of Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Focusing on the results the METIS European project, which aims at promoting the adoption of design approaches enabling educators to act as (co-)designers of sound (technology-supported) learning activities, she will in particular introduce the Integrated Learning Design Environment (ILDE).

ILDE is a community environment that integrates co-design support for educator communities; learning design editors following different authoring and pedagogical approaches; interface for deployment of designs on mainstream Virtual Learning Environments. ILDE has been used in a variety of community contexts, each of them applying different design processes supported by combinations of selected tools integrated in ILDE.

When: May 13, 11.00am - 12.30pm
Where: Room 612 in the Education Building A35
More information available here
This seminar will be live online at

Analysing online and place-based spaces for networked learning, a Research on Learning and Educational Innovation seminar with Lucila Carvalho.

Lucila.jpgMost research in networked learning has been in higher education and in workplace settings. As technology evolves and becomes more pervasive, and new mobile devices, media habits and social networking practices emerge, attention to other types of (formal and informal) spaces for networked learning becomes necessary. There is also an increased need for analytical tools to support educational designers cope with the complexity of these emerging assemblages of people, things, ideas and experiences.

This seminar discusses analysis and design for networked learning, presenting some of the ideas in The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks (Carvalho & Goodyear 2014), and work developed in the Laureate Program of Professor Peter Goodyear. It illustrates how the activity-centered analysis and design (ACAD) framework was used as the basis for analysing relations between the educational design and the activity of participants in three very distinct learning networks. The three examples comprise one formal and two informal

Lucila Carvalho is a postdoctoral research associate in the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo) at the University of Sydney. She works on Professor Peter Goodyear’s Laureate Fellowship program: "Learning, technology and design: architectures for productive networked learning". She has presented her work at various international conferences in the fields of education, sociology, systemic functional linguistics, design and software engineering. She was co-editor of The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks (Routledge, 2014) and the forthcoming book Place-based Spaces for Networked Learning.

When: May 6, 11.00am - 12.30pm
Where: Room 612 in the Education Building A35
More information available here
This seminar will be live online at

A Research on Learning and Educational Innovation seminar with Roberto Martinez-Maldonado. Note change of venue to room 221 for this seminar only.

This seminar fuses research on CSCL and collaborative design for learning. It reports a study located in a novel multi-surface environment, configured to support small teams who are designing for other people’s learning. From observational and interview data, we show how collaborative design for learning needs to be understood as a complex, multiply-situated activity, in which design problem-solving, tools and space usage depend on the fluent deployment of intuitive knowledge about mutual awareness, shared perception, information persistence and movement.

Roberto267.jpegRoberto Martinez-Maldonado is a postdoctoral research associate on the ARC Laureate Fellowship at CoCo. He finished his PhD in 2014 in the Computer Human Adapted Interaction Research Group (CHAI) at the University of Sydney. His research area is Human-Computer Interaction, with a particular emphasis on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and Educational Data Mining. His research interests are broad and varied.

When: April 29, 11.00am - 12.30pm
Where: Design Studio, room 221 (note change of venue for this week's seminar only) in the Education Building A35
More information available here

A Research on Learning and Educational Innovation Wednesday seminar with Dr Boris Handal.

Dr Boris Handal is an associate professor in educational technologies at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He has taught in schools and universities for over thirty years in Australia, Asia and Latin America. Last year he was invited as a Visiting Professor by the University of Alberta to study the implementation of digital technologies in schools in North America.

During 2014 Boris visited thirty educational sites and interviewed over 100 eminent teachers, principals, district superintendents and academics in the United States, Canada and Australia countries to study the implementation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in teaching and learning. During that period evidence and exemplars on issues that currently challenge educators worldwide such as modern pedagogies, digital citizenship, institutional change, equity and professional learning were collected. His upcoming book “Mobile Makes Learning Free” provides new conceptual frameworks to understand best practice in the field of mobile learning.

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Education Building A35, Room 612
This seminar will be live online at
More information at

A Research on Learning and Educational Innovation Wednesday Seminar with David Ashe.


When students are asked to think about aspects of ‘sustainability’ they are required not only to understand scientific facts but also to consider that they are both part of the 'problem' and part of the 'solution'. These issues are inherently ill-structured; that is, they may have many viable alternative solutions and it can be difficult to know when a satisfactory solution has been reached. This seminar presents a PhD study that investigated upper primary school students knowledge and thinking as they considered issues related to sustainability. The study focused on how knowledge was used across different contexts and draws conclusions about the use of ‘epistemic challenges’ as a pedagogical tool.

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm
Where: Education Building A35, Room 612
Arrive at 10.45am for refreshment
More information at Epistemic challenges in inquiry science.

David Ashe is a member of the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo) in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. He has just competed his PhD and currently works as part of a team of researchers investigating how to design better tools and resources for networked online learning.

This seminar is one of our regular Research on Learning and Educational Innovation Seminars: the Wednesday Seminars (formerly the CoCo/STL seminars) this year. Please note our new location is room 612. More information is available on our website.

A Research on Learning and Educational Innovation Wednesday Seminar with Kate Thompson and Pippa Yeoman.

As the collection of ‘big data’ (in terms of both depth and breadth) becomes more common, it will become increasingly important to adopt methods for sharing data, analysing common datasets, and making comparisons across studies. In this study of high-school students engaged in a collaborative design task about a local environmental issue, we adopted a multimodal approach, which allowed us to untangle the interplay of epistemic and social activity, negotiation of tools, and the physical and digital setting that typify such environments, allowing us to find explanations for the very different achievements of the learners. Researchers often lack the language to properly convey the activity observed in complex learning environments. We have begun to do this in a way that respects the design of the task, can be related to the learning outcomes, and gives value to the activity of the learners.

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm
Where: Education Building A35, Room 612
Arrive at 10.45am for refreshment
More information at A multimodal method for analysing complex learning environment

This is the second of the regular Research on Learning and Educational Innovation Seminars: the Wednesday Seminars (formerly the CoCo/STL seminars) this year. Please note our new location is room 612. More information is available on our website.

This research on learning spaces seminar explores how and why attention to the provision of intimate spaces such as quiet rooms, sitting rooms, bedrooms and child-sized openings was seen as indicative of best practice in the design of schools in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

This event is a research on learning spaces seminar, hosted by Dr Helen Proctor of the Faculty of Education and Social Work and the Sciences and Technologies of Learning (STL) network. Dr Catherine Burke is a Reader in the History of Childhood and Education at the University of Cambridge, UK. She is an historian currently exploring cultural and material histories of education and childhood in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.


Join us on 12 November 2014, for a seminar by Dr. Angela Brew titled “Creative curriculum change through research”.

In designing innovative new courses, decisions have to be taken about the structure and nature of the student experience, what it is intended that students should learn and how and whether their work is to be assessed. Using research-informed approaches to educational enhancement means infusing these decisions with disciplinary and pedagogical research findings and processes.

Dr. Brew will explore how the scholarly work of academics and students can inform decisions about both the content and the processes of learning that need to be taken in designing a course.

Using research to inform teaching in this way poses a number of challenges. Who is included in making the decisions and at what level? Sometimes curriculum decisions are taken at an institutional level. Sometimes the decision-making is at a departmental or course team level. These decisions may constrain or open up opportunities for individual lecturers and course or subject teams regarding the particular ways learning is to occur. So on what basis are decisions to be made? Whose research is to be drawn upon? What theoretical approaches are to be used to inform decisions? What are the benefits and pitfalls of including students in the research and in the design and decision-making process?

Join us on October 15 for seminar co-presented by Sid Newton and Russell Lowe titled “Hyperimmersive learning and teaching”.

This presentation considers one of the most critical emerging technologies of our time – the hyper-immersive virtual reality video game engine. We will demonstrate the Situation Engine – an application that allows specific and adaptive practical experience to be made available to students in a hyper-immersive digital rendition of a real-world context – and discuss the implications of this and broader digital technologies to teaching and learning professional competence.

Join us on August 27 when Louise Sutherland presents “Representations in Science: insights using epistemic forms”.

Visual and graphical representations such as graphs, tables, photographs, diagrams, models and equations are intrinsic and integral part of scientific practices. These types of representation are also an inherent part of how science is taught at schools and universities. As such, there is a growing body of research examining the role and effectiveness of the use of representations on students’ learning. Using the conceptual framework of epistemic forms this seminar will suggest a way of categorising existing research. It will discuss how this categorisation can be used to enhance our understanding of the role of representations in science teaching and will offer possible directions for future research.

  • When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (come along at 10.45am for a coffee and chat)
  • Where: Education Building (A35), Room 230

Join us on August 13 when Dr Karen Scott presents “Using mobile devices for learning in the hospital setting: Student, physician and patient perspectives”.


In the past five years there has been a phenomenal growth in mobile health and the use of mobile health applications (apps) by health practitioners, patients and families. At the same time, there is growing interest in the use of mobile devices for learning, communication and time management in clinical settings: mobile devices have been found to improve learning and confidence by linking web-based information with the immediacy of clinical experiences. However, junior physicians and medical students often receive mixed signals about their use of mobile devices, with some senior physicians giving directives to use mobile devices and others prohibiting use. Many are concerned about the effect of mobile device use on ethics, patient privacy and data security. Our pilot research examined physicians’ and medical students’ use of mobile devices in clinical settings, as well as their attitudes about others’ use and the attitudes of patients and carers.


Join us on July 9 for seminar by Dr Nick Kelly titled “Supporting Pre-Service and Early Career Teachers in Australia: Design for a Learning Network”.

Nick.jpgThis talk presents a number of perspectives upon a growing learning network of pre-service and early career teachers in Australia. The learning network has arisen through collaboration between a number of Australian universities, with the aim of facilitating support in the transition between pre-service education and the first years of service.

Nick Kelly is a Research Fellow with the Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) at the University of Southern Queensland whose research addresses areas of teacher education, higher education and modelling the cognition of creativity.He is the author of numerous scholarly works and a researcher on national and international grants (

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Join us on May 21 for a CoCo seminar by Associate Professor Michael Anderson and Dr David Cameron titled Mashup: drama, playfulness and networked cultures.

This seminar will provide a critical guide to the new forms of playful exploration, co-creativity, and improvised performance made possible by digital networked media. The presentation will draw on some of the themes explored in the forthcoming book of the same name (Bloomsbury, 2015).



Join us on April 30 for a CoCo seminar by Associate Professor Richard Walker titled “Learning through after school activities and homework” .

To what extent do after school programs and homework activities lead to beneficial learning experiences in school and to enhanced achievement outcomes?

This seminar will base some answers to this question on research reviewed in the recently published book by Horsley and Walker (2013) Reforming Homework: Practices, Learning and Policy. Answering the question involves considering sociocultural and other research concerning after-school programs developed for ethnically and socioeconomically diverse students. It also involves a synthesis of research findings concerning homework and achievement. The seminar will offer a sociocultural framework for thinking about after-school and homework activities and will suggest ways in which after school learning experiences can be improved for all students.

Dr Richard Walker is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. He teaches educational psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has been awarded several Excellence in Teaching Awards for his teaching in this field.


Join us on April 23 for a CoCo Seminar by Dr. Frances Di Lauro titled Writing with Wikipedia in Multi-Campus and Multicultural Contexts.

The 2012 TurnItIn White Paper reported that a large percentage of similarity matches do not necessarily result from cheating, or poor citation practices. In some cases the cause can be an excessive reliance on the sources word choices. It is crucial that educators teach new knowledge literacy to their students and to engage them in knowledge creation and transmission that is ethical and respectful. Writing for Wikipedia is an Open Educational Practice that offers students opportunities for educators to cultivate ethical research and writing practices, while their students engage in participatory writing on a global writing environment. Students engage in writing partnerships with diverse sets of communities beyond the academy, including underrepresented groups, and in helping to produce information, broaden their awareness and knowledge of other disciplines and epistemologies.

Dr. Di Lauro has been teaching writing and rhetoric in blended modes since 2007 and joined the Writing Hub to assist students with academic writing through courses and workshops. In 2011 she represents the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on the University’s eLearning Committee and is developing formative and summative assessment tasks for use in new high tech, collaborative learning spaces. She recently convened a symposium on the use of Wikimedia projects in higher education, and is currently developing the first Australian Wikipedia Education Program.

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The CoCo Seminar Series provides a venue for national and international experts to share and disseminate their current work on topics related to the sciences and technologies of learning; fostering the formation of a scholarly community of academics, postgraduate students and people interested on learning technologies and education. The seminars are hosted by the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition CoCo Centre and run most Wednesdays during term time from 11:00 to 12:00 in Room 230 at the Education Building, Sydney University.

The seminars are often streamed online using Adobe Connect. Seminars can be attended live by accessing a virtual room at this location Please note the seminars are in UTC+10:00

Since 2012 the seminars have been recorded (at discretion of the presenter) and currently we have an archive of over 30 seminars. You can find our digital archive here.New files will be updated regularly, so be sure to check back often.

Upcoming seminars:
April 23:: Frances di Lauro, TBA
April 30:: Associate Professor Richard Walker “Learning through after school activities and homework”
May 14:: Dr. Paul Ginns, Fang-Tzu (Agnes) Hu and Michael Tang, Getting the point: Embodying cognitive load

For further information on the Seminar Series, or if you would like to subscribe to our Seminar announcements, please contact Sadhbh Warren

Photo above by Lauren Tucker


Join us on March 26 for a CoCo Seminar by Prof. Michael Jacobson titled Glimpses of Future Learning for Today’s Australian Students”

In this talk, I provide an overview of three years of classroom-based research in two different ARC funded projects in which students used custom developed 3D virtual worlds and 2D models to learn difficult scientific knowledge about biological and climate systems as well as scientific inquiry skills. We not only found statistically significant learning gains related to inquiry skills and content knowledge but also students who were quite motivated and engaged. Further, teachers we worked with were enthusiastic about the new approaches to teaching we developed and positive about the learning experiences of their students. The key lessons of this research have, I believe, implications beyond specific science content in the Australian Curriculum, such potential applications to realise broader Australian and international educational goals related to learning of advanced 21st century knowledge, practices, and skills.

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

This seminar will be available live online at



Join us on March 19 for a CoCo Seminar by Professor Peter Reimann titled “Data big and small: Limitations of data-driven approaches to informing learning theory.”

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

This seminar will be available live online at

Professor Riemann’s research activities involve the analysis of individual and group problem solving/learning processes and possible support by means of ICT, and analysis of the use of mobile IT in informal learning settings.
Professor Riemann currently spends his time journeying between the USYD Faculty of Education as senior researcher in the CoCo Research Centre, and Europe as Chief Scientific Coordinator of Next-Tell, educational technology research project funded by the European Commission.
He has also worked as reviewer for the IT R&D programs of the European Commission, is founder of a German-based elearning consulting company and was a founding co-director the CoCo research centre.

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The year is starting to come to an end and so does our weekly CoCo Seminar series 2013 and our CoCo Students Doctoral Colloquia. We would like to say thank you to presenters, convenors, and everyone who joined us, either face to face or online. We will restart our events in semester 1 2014 (early March). In the meantime here is a visualization that contains all the titles of CoCo seminars and CoCo Students Doctoral Colloquia during 2013. Guess what the most common word is!

To know more about our CoCo seminars or review our Past Seminar Archive please visit the following pages:


Join us on October 30 for a CoCo seminar by Manjula Sharma titled “The changing face of education: challenges and opportunities for educators”

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45 for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

Associate Professor Manjula Sharma is the director of the University of Sydney Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IISME), heads the Sydney University Physics Education Research group and leads the Science and Mathematics network of Australian University Educators (SaMnet). Dr Sharma has written more than 80 articles for peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters in science and mathematics education, and has received repeated funding. Her work is recognised internationally through research partnerships and service on editorial boards and conference committees.She has been awarded the Australian Institute for Physics Education Medal in 2012, ALTC Team Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2008 and Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006.
 She is currently an OLT National Teaching Fellow.


Join us on the 16th of October for a CoCo Seminar by Rafael A. Calvo, and Dorian Peters titled " Developing autonomy and self-efficacy with technology

"We're very interested in engaging in an interdisciplinary discussion on the issues of autonomy and how educators (and social workers and technologists, etc.) think we might design technologies (educational technologies and others) in ways that favour support for learner/user autonomy over compliance and control"

When: Wed 16th of October 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

Rafael A. Calvo is Associate Professor of software engineering at the University of Sydney and Research Program Leader at the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. He has a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and over 100 publications including the forthcoming Positive Computing with MIT Press and the Oxford Handbook on Affective Computing. Rafael is Senior Member of IEEE, Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, and an Affiliate of the Cambridge University Well-being Institute.

Dorian Peters is a designer, author, and specialist in user experience for learning and wellbeing. Her books include Interface Design for Learningto be published by New Riders in December 2013, and Positive Computing: Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential forthcoming from MIT Press in 2014. She has designed for Carnegie Mellon, Cambridge University, Westpac Bank, ABC, and BMG Music. She writes regular articles on design for publications such as ACM Interactions, UX Matters, UX Magazine and A List Apart. She has a Masters in Multimedia Design from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor’s in writing and directing from Carnegie Mellon.


Join us on Friday October 11 for a CoCo Seminar by Mary Hamilton titled " Messing with digital literacies: Textual practices in the new media digital landscape

When: Friday 11 of October 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

Mary Hamilton is Professor of Adult Learning and Literacy in the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, UK and teaches there on a Doctoral Programme in E-Research and Technology Enhanced learning. Her research explores communication and interaction in the everyday textually-mediated social world and involves close analysis of how texts, both print and digital, are used within social encounters and how texts circulate within institutional settings. She is interested in informal learning across the lifespan and also in the globalisation processes of educational policy. See her full profile at

lesley-sandra.jpg Join us on September 18 for a CoCo Seminar by Sandra Peter and Lesley Farrell titled " Forging futures: how the concept of the social imaginary can help make open access education a movement worth supporting"

When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

Sandra Peter is a lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School. Her research focus is on access to education, focusing particularly on the potential opening up of access to higher education that open educational initiatives (e.g. OERs, MOOCs) seem to offer, in the context of an ambiguously bounded, emerging, global education.

Lesley Farrell is professor and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her research focus is on the impacts of globalisation on local workforces and work practices and on knowledge mobilisation across spatial and temporal domains.

Join us on September 11 for a CoCo seminar by Dr. Sharon Oviatt titled " The impact of interface affordances on human ideation, problem-solving and inferential reasoning
When: 11.00am - 12.30pm (arrive at 10.45am for refreshments)
Where: Education Building (A35) Room 230

Dr Sharon Oviatt is internationally known for her extensive work in human-centered interface design, multimodal and mobile interfaces, educational interfaces, and interface design and evaluation. Dr Oviatt is an associate editor of the main journals and edited book collections in the field of human interfaces, including the Journal of Human Computer Interaction; ACM Transactions on Intelligent Interactive Systems; and The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook. She also is the founder of Incaa Designs, a Seattle-area nonprofit that researches, designs and evaluates the impact of new educational interfaces. Dr Oviatt was a founder the ACM conference series on Multimodal Interfaces (ICMI), and currently is co-chair of ICMI 2013 in Sydney with colleagues Fang Chen (NICTA) and Julien Epps (UNSW).


Join us on August 28 for a CoCo seminar by Micah Goldwater titled "Science expertise and the prominence of causal knowledge

nina-dohn-189x252.jpgJoin us on 21st August for a seminar by Assoc. Professor Nina Bonderup Dohn titled “A tacit-knowledge perspective on engagement with networked learning activities” [more information]

Tea and coffee from 10:45am

Seminar from 11am-12.30pm

Location - Education Building (A35) Room 230

Dr Nina Bonderup Dohn is Associate Professor, Humanistic Information Science, at the Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark. She holds a PhD in learning theory from Aalborg University and an MA in philosophy and physics from Aarhus University. Her main research areas integrate epistemology, learning sciences, web communication and technology-mediated learning with a special focus on teaching and learning in higher education. While at CoCo, she will focus on the role of tacit, embodied knowledge developed in learners' primary contexts and on the significance of such contexts for motivation and learning in networked learning.

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