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Developing innovation in Teaching and Learning. Developing innovation in Teaching and Learning. A very introductory presentation by. Dr Peter Hill Learning and Teaching Unit University of South Australia. Developing innovation in Teaching and Learning. Massification Globalisation

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Developing innovation in Teaching and Learning

A very introductory presentation


  • Dr Peter Hill

  • Learning and Teaching Unit

  • University of South Australia

Developing innovation in Teaching and Learning

  • Massification

  • Globalisation

  • Quality Improvement and an outcomes oriented environment

  • New technologies and information systems

  • Employability

  • Performative (Prescriptive)

  • Social changes

  • Diversity of student body and entrance pathways

  • Fragmentation of the traditional disciplines

The context of the 21st Century University

  • “Teachers are implementers of policy reforms and initiatives determined beyond the classroom”

Our response?

If we care about the intellectual role and future of the university, as about student learning, then our response will not be resignation but a creative approach:

  • To solving the problems we can

  • To seeking new perspectives

  • And daring to take some risks

What’s in a word?


  • Etymology

  • To make

  • To bring in something new

  • To make changes to anything established

  • Innovatus ‘renewed’ ‘altered’

  • Cf


    “To innovate is not to reform” (Encarta)

Innovation in Teaching and Learning

  • Andrew Fraser (ACEL 2007): “The successful exploitation of new ideas”

  • Denise Leite*: “Innovation happens when teachers break with the traditional approach to teaching, when they break with the paradigm of reproduction…”

  • Einstein: “Innovation is not the product of logical

  • thought, although the result is tied to logical

  • structure.”

Innovation in Teaching and Learning

  • Hannan & Silver: “Innovation is essentially about changing things and the departure from the old ways may be considerable, whereas enhancement often implies a gradual process building on what already exists.”

  • Denise Leite: “It can be a transition, a search for new configurations of knowledge and power, new ways of relating being, knowing and doing…”

Two generations of innovation
Two generations of innovation

  • 1st Generation: An entirely new idea (is that possible?)

  • 2nd Generation: The re-working or enhancement of an idea or the transfer of an idea/product to a new context.

“Innovation is understood as either a ‘first’ or ‘second’ generation concept, and refers to an idea, product, process or service that adds value, is useful or transforms current practice in the context to which it is applied. ‘First-generation innovators’ are those who do or create something new or different. ‘Second-generation innovators’ are those who take an innovation from one context and replicate, adapt or transform it for use within a new context”(Definitions, UniSA Learning and Teaching Grants)

Reasons most cited for introducing new methods of Teaching and Learning

  • Hannan & Silver (2002) note:

  • The need felt by academics to improve student learning

  • Changes in the student intake

  • The demands of external agencies

  • The need to cope with curriculum change

  • or other reorganisation

What encourages academics to innovate? and Learning

  • Hannan & Silver (2002) note that innovation occurs when:

  • the innovator feels a degree of security within an understood community or cultural context, recognises the need for change and has encouragement or support from the head of department, dean or other person in authority;

  • the institution has a policy establishing parity between research and teaching and learning, including for the purpose of promotion, and the policy is reflected in practice;

  • colleagues and people in authority show an interest in

  • disseminating the outcomes of innovation;

  • resources are available through the department,

  • an innovations fund or similar fund, and an educational

  • development or learning support unit.

Context and Learning

Successful innovators understand the context in which they work.

“People need to engage with their specific context. When that happens, something new emerges... New ideas are important because they stimulate you. But not everyone is going to do the same thing. Innovation takes place in the context of a

project. So the most important thing when it comes to

innovation is engagement with a particular context

(of the institution, the teacher and the student)”.

(Denise Leite)

Contextual issues and Learning

  • Institutional history

  • Structures & culture

  • Disciplines

  • Industry and professional considerations

  • Time

  • Students

Challenges and Learning

  • “If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.” (Woody Allen)

    Innovation means taking risks, and often overcoming obstacles, such as:

  • The subordination of T&L to research

  • Lack of recognition and interest by colleagues and people in authority

  • Cultures that preclude individual initiative or discourage risk taking

  • Silo mentality (leads to the ‘lone ranger’ approach)

  • Excessively bureaucratic procedures for approval, support and resources

A little exercise
A little exercise and Learning

Looking at the handout

What challenges do you recognise?

What innovative solutions have you adopted?

Innovation requires evaluation and Learning

  • Evaluation must occur if a given innovation is to be accepted, promoted and sustained. Our approach to evidence-based practice must be as critical and as rigorous as that applied in research

  • What is the practice/approach?

  • How does it fit into a particular context?

  • What planning and conditions are needed for it to work?

  • What are the results in terms of student learning?

  • What is the impact on approaches

  • to teaching?

Innovation requires dissemination if it is to be sustained and Learning

“Dissemination involves more than the distribution of information or making it available in some way. Dissemination also implies that some action has been taken to embed and upscale the project outcomes within the immediate context (e.g. the discipline, School or University), and/or to replicate or transform and embed an innovation in a new context.”

(Definitions, UniSA Learning and Teaching Grants)

  • Hannan & Silver: and Learning

  • “There was a problem with sustaining innovations. Even a successful scheme could be shelved once other departmental or institutional priorities asserted themselves”

  • Hence:

  • Embed practices - Information not enough

  • Know context & stakeholders

  • Have a communication strategy

  • Pro-actively engage stakeholders throughout the implementation period

  • Keep clear, measurable outcomes to the fore

Swap shop and Learning