Keynote 1

  • Simon Barrie

    Associate Director and Associate Professor, The University of Sydney.

    Today’s learners; tomorrow’s graduates; yesterday’s universities

    Universities around the world are grappling with the challenge of how to ‘educate’ today’s learners. Not only are today's learners very different from previous generations of learners, but what they need from a university education in order to thrive in tomorrow’s society is different.  They know it.  We know it.  But what can universities do about it? 

    In an era of outcomes-driven education, ‘graduate attributes’ offer a potentially powerful way of approaching the renewal of university teaching and learning experiences.  However, our efforts to reshape university education in ways that consistently achieve these ‘graduate attributes’ do not appear to have proved particularly helpful to many amongst our students, or to our society.

    Research into why this might be the case suggest a number of explanations. ‘Graduate attributes’ are themselves much more complex than many first imagined, and require more complex approaches to curriculum renewal than some institutions have so far been prepared to embrace.  In addition, achieving this sort of significant teaching and learning change within our current university structures and cultures is also complex.  Perhaps the heart of the matter is our failure to take our colleagues, and especially our learners, with us on the journey to achieving graduate attributes.
    This talk will explore the idea of using ‘graduate attributes’ to drive curriculum renewal for 21st century learners (and even 21st century teachers), drawing on insights offered by the ‘National GAP’, a national scoping study of graduate attributes initiatives in Australia. 

    Download the presentation [PPT]