From Ideas to Action: Tools for Implementing Learning Innovation

Workshop Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Innovation is a hot topic in education, but how do we make it happen on a practical level? This hands-on, interactive workshop introduces approaches to identifying personal and organizational drivers of innovation and visual mapping techniques for planning and developing successful and sustainable results.

Attendees interested in this session are invited to complete the Learning Environment Innovation Inventory prior to the conference. Of course, you don’t have to complete it to participate in the workshop, and don’t have to attend the workshop if you do complete it; we know plans change! The Inventory can be accessed here until April 11, 2018.


Stacy Southerland, PhD, is a Professor of Spanish and Faculty Liaison for the Center for eLearning and Connected Environments and Institute for Learning Environment Design (iLED) at the University of Central Oklahoma. She designs and coordinates the university's online Spanish courses and contributes to research and development for iLED analytics tools and learning innovation initiatives. Her research and presentation agenda focuses on learning innovation and learner success. She has received international recognition for her work in these areas and for her online teaching, learning environment design, and learner support strategies. Dr. Southerland is also a 2019 graduate of the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL).
Bucky Dodd, Ph.D. is the Assistant Vice President for Education Strategy and Innovation with LX Studio at the University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Dodd is an innovator, master teacher, and visionary of the future of education. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from Oklahoma State University and graduate and undergraduate degrees in Adult Education and Corporate Communications and maintains an active research and development agenda in these areas. As a prolific writer, teacher, and speaker on the future of education, his research focuses on visual planning and collaboration systems, innovation, and the design of learning experiences. Dr. Dodd is the creator of Learning Environment Modeling®, an award-winning visual collaboration system for the design and evaluation of learning experiences, and has been recognized internationally for his research and design expertise. He has a proven record of leading innovation initiatives in corporate, government, and education organizations and is consistently sought out as a thought leader on the future of learning.

Extended Abstract

Innovation is a hot topic in education, but many who aspire to reimagine, renew, even revolutionize  learning, projects, and processes at the personal, team, or organizational level find it challenging to make innovation happen on a practical level. This is due not only to the many components in the innovation landscape that need to be understood, but also to the need for an effective, strategic approach for communicating one’s vision and for decision-making for mapping, planning, and implementing new ideas.

This interactive workshop will guide participants through the process of profiling learning environment innovation landscapes in order to identify drivers of innovation, promote abundant ideation, and manage promising concepts and move them through the innovation cycle from ideas to action. We will begin by having participants complete a Learning Environment Innovation Inventory (LEii).

Facilitators will then guide participants through an exploration of how LEii findings inform and influence the innovation cycle of generating and identifying promising ideas and moving them through experimental and development phases that culminate in successful and sustainable operations. They will also show participants how to leverage their innovation landscape profile to maximize capacity for innovation and bridge potential barriers identified in the LEii by using Learning Environment Modeling (LEM) and Learning Environment Modeling Language (LEML), collectively known as LEM, to plan effective implementation strategies for new ideas.

LEM is a revolutionary visual technique for reimagining and innovating learning environment design. It offers a one-of-its kind approach that provides education and business organizations with a powerful tool to innovate and energize learning in any environment—online, traditional, or blended, academic or corporate. Not only is LEM unique and innovative, it’s engaging, enjoyable, and easy to learn. This system uses visualization methods to communicate key components in learning environment models, in the way architectural blueprints communicate building plans. It presents educators in schools, businesses, and communities with a solution to the everyday challenge of communicating effectively about learning design--a simple and easy-to-use, yet tremendously effective technique for envisioning, creating, innovating, and implementing successful learning experiences.

LEM offers a solution like no other to these challenges. It disrupts the flow of inefficient miscommunication and opens the door to effective idea sharing by way of a simplified language—LEML--and a visual, tangible, interactive, and engaging process for design--LEM. This design approach serves as a catalyst for effective communication, decision making, and collaboration and fosters innovation. LEM is immensely effective for capturing the essence of instructional designs, bridging communication gaps, and eliminating innovation barriers. It allows designers to present thoughts on an idea canvas and welcome others to engage in the design experience by rearranging and adding to the model to capture ideas as they evolve, all the while inspiring creativity and innovation. This inclusivity and diversity in collaboration invites valuable insights that might otherwise be missed and enriches the design innovation experience and outcomes. It also enables efficient recording of learning environments and logical, clear presentation of an environment’s context and story. Once a learning environment is modeled, its LEM can be stored and shared, adapted, customized, and enhanced over time. Intentional, strategic, coordinated implementation of LEM can assist educators in advancing the overarching design goal of creating engaging learning experiences and improving learner success. This can only advance growth and innovation in learning environment design.

Workshop participants will learn LEML, which is the visual toolkit used in LEM. It consists of four primary features that can be assembled in limitless configurations to represent any learning environment imaginable:

1) Building Blocks: describe the what and how of elements in a learning environment--information, dialogue, feedback, practice, and evidence

2) Contexts: identify the time, space, and formality of learning spaces—physical, online asynchronous or synchronous, and experiential

3) Actions: depict three types of connective relationships and flow between building blocks and indicate learner, instructor, or system initiation of actions

4) Notations: specify supplemental information as needed, such as learning objectives and prerequisites

LEM is immensely accessible and scalable. Its concepts are almost instantly understood and its use is intuitive. New users have a firm grasp of LEM within a few minutes and understand the impact and importance of the innovation just as quickly. The system’s flexibility allows for adding, removing, or rearranging building blocks with ease—like Legos!—bringing an interactive element to the system that engages and energizes all participants in the design collaboration.

Workshop facilitators will share successful LEMs for innovation and participants will have the opportunity to collaborate in small groups to create LEMs for ideas of their choosing.

Active workshop components will engage participants by providing them an opportunity to:

•complete a Learning Environment Innovation Inventory

•learn a fun, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use international award-winning visual design technique for clarifying and communicating a vision for and planning innovative learning environments

•see examples of proven models for innovation

•apply LEM and LEML to develop an idea for innovation

•obtain feedback on their ideas and LEMs from workshop participants and facilitators

•exchange ideas with fellow workshop participants and facilitators

In addition, participants will obtain access to Learning Environment Modeling Language materials and instructional videos.

This workshop will empower participants to:

•determine personal, team, and organization capacities for learning innovation

•identify drivers of and barriers to innovation in learning environments

•use Learning Environment Modeling to map, plan, and develop innovation initiatives

•assess learning innovation operations and outcomes