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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 2H - Paper 2

Learning to Fly

Mr Dominic Pates - Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD) City, University of London
Dr Ivan Sikora - School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering, City, University of London

(Education needs) to humanise the interactions with its systems.

(Seitzinger, 2016)

Those that teach in HE make their subjects come alive through both their own expertise and from the additional knowledge they can bring in via others in their respective fields or sectors. These can be global in reach.

When a guest speaker is not in reasonable travelling distance to the institution, bringing them into lectures, seminars or meetings can bring great difficulties. Digital technologies can play a useful role in bridging that gap by allowing a guest speaker to make a ‘remote’ appearance via, for example, a web conferencing platform. However, without careful planning, the experience can at best lead to more of a focus on the technology than on the live experience, or at worst insurmountable technical failures in front of an audience. And after all, who wants a ‘clunky Skype call’ to be a part of their lecture?

This paper looks at the co-creation of an inclusive learning experience for SMCSE Aviation undergraduates that live-linked an expert aircraft tester in Auckland with a seminar class in London. The planning and execution of these sessions was influenced by Radcliffe et al’s (2008) Pedagogy-Space-Technology framework, which takes account of these three factors when designing and evaluating learning environments, and which provided a structural approach for these sessions. The sessions also drew on notions of ‘flow’ for enhancing the learner experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Pink, 2009).

The presenters, who would place themselves as ‘early majority’ adopters on Rogers’ (2003) Diffusion of Innovation curve, will recount core considerations from their experiences for others wishing to create similar scenarios in their teaching, and will situate the seminars within the above theoretical contexts. It is hoped that their experiences will also be of relevance to others across the university wishing to source international speakers in challenging circumstances.

Participants will consider factors to take into account when designing their own learning experiences and a set of tips derived from these sessions as key takeaways.


Csikszentmihalyi, M (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row.

Pink, D (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead.

Radcliffe, D; Wilson, H; Powell, D; Tibbetts, B (2009). Learning Spaces In Higher Education: Positive Outcomes By Design. [PDF]. Proceedings Of The Next Generation Learning Spaces 2008 Colloquium. University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Rogers, E (2003). Diffusion of Innovations: 5th ed. London: Simon & Schuster.

Seitzinger, J (2016). You Just Might Be A Learning Experience Architect. Learner Experience Design. http://www.lxdesign.co/2016/04/you-just-might-be-a-learning-experience-architect/ (accessed 08/03/17)