Learning Innovation Is Evolving Into an Academic Discipline

An unconference elevator pitch.

April 26, 2018

An elevator pitch to the attendees of an ASU unconference on the future of learning in the digital age:

Learning innovation is evolving into an academic discipline.

The central question that this emerging academic discipline addresses is:  how do universities learn?

That is, how to college and universities change so that they are aligned with the science of learning?

We ask how and why universities are evolving to becoming learner-centric organizations?

We wonder about where institutions are not set-up in accordance with the science of learning, and why this mismatch continues.

This emerging academic discipline of learning innovation combines the following elements:

1.  Organizational Change: With a specific focus on change within colleges and universities, and across the postsecondary sector.

2.  Learning Science: With a focus on applying the core principles of how people learn to every level of higher education.

Our goal is to carve out the organizational and intellectual space to study how and why learning innovation occurs, how effective this work is, and how it can be improved going forward.

In this way, this conference - and all of you - become the subjects of scholarship.

We believe that the work being done by the people at this unconference deserves rigorous and critical study.

We think that universities are at an inflection point when it comes to learning.

We think that the dominant narrative of disruptive innovation is wrong, and that we need to understand how universities move towards alignment with learning science through a lens that accounts for the cultures and history of higher education.

We want to train the next generation of academics to replace all of us in this room.

We hope to extend the conversation around learning innovation out of social media media and unconferences to seminar rooms, peer reviewed journals, and scholarly books.

We hope to discover how to build a scholarship of learning innovation.  With professors able to focus their time and energies on studying how universities learn.

How could this elevator pitch be improved?


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