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A Road Less Travelled – Exploring inquiry-led human centred academic development

Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 2:15pm – 3:45pm parallel mini-workshop



Room 6 – 303-B05 Sem



Sarah Thorneycroft
University of New England, Australia

Lisa Bugden
University of New England, Australia



Often academic development and professional development in higher education is led by the expertise and expert identity of the academic development staff. However, adopting inquiry-led human-centred design approaches and a process of co-creation with a broad range of stakeholders can afford opportunities for greater engagement and relationship building, and a different paradigm of academic development. By prioritising empathetic narrative inquiry and reframing our own identities, we are led by the experience-based expertise of stakeholders. This approach to co-creating development opportunities allows us to engage stakeholders through the full development and delivery cycle, aligning development opportunities with needs rather than assumptions. This workshop is a practice-based exploration of these concepts and their potential to transform our work.


Target audience

Academic development, learning design and related staff; academic staff representing the participant perspective of academic/professional development; all other staff who are stakeholders in the academic and professional development process


Intended outcomes for participants

Participants will:

  • Explore their own practice and identity spaces
  • Experience a small-scale design process
  • Create groundwork for engaging in inquiry
  • Generate a toolkit of strategies for human-centred design and co-creation


Outline of activities

 Participants will use an example design brief of conference workshop design to engage in a small-scale design process.

  • Introduction – establishing context, methodology overview (10 min)
  • Design brief (5 min)
  • Inquiry–interviews in stakeholder pairs (20 min)
  • Design process–developing a design proposal (20 min)
  • Feedback and iteration loop–iterating design with stakeholders (20 min)
  • Debrief–group discussion reflecting on the experience and opportunities for inquiry-led development practice in own contexts, time for questions (15 min)


Presentation topic

Students – Learning

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