From Ideas to Action: Tools for Implementing Learning Innovation

Concurrent Session 7

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 developing ideas into operations that boast successful and sustainable results. Innovation Inventory Preview


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).
Michael serves as the Director of Online Learning for the National Association of Attorneys General and the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute.

Extended Abstract

Innovation is a hot topic in education, but many who aspire to reimagine, renew, even revolutionize  education, learning experience design, projects, and processes at the personal, team, or organizational level find it challenging to make innovation happen on a practical level. This is due in part to the many components in the innovation landscape that need to be understood. It also results from the lack of an effective, strategic approach for communicating one's vision and for decision-making in mapping, planning, and implementing new ideas.

This highly-interactive workshop will guide participants through the process of profiling learning environment innovation landscapes within their organizations 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. Together, we will learn and practice using unique, innovative tools and processes for leading innovation for the future of learning in our organizations.

Prior to the workshop, those interested in participating in the workshop participants may complete a Learning Environment Innovation Inventory (LEI2) that we will also review and consider during the workshop. During the session, we will explore how the Inventory’s findings 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. We will also learn how participants can effectively leverage their innovation landscape profile to maximize their organization’s capacity for innovation and bridge potential barriers to it by using the award-winning design technique Learning Environment Modeling (LEM), the foundation upon which the LEI2 is based and with which it aligns, to plan effective implementation strategies for new ideas.

LEM is a revolutionary, visual, tangible, interactive technique for reimagining and innovating learning environment design. This unique approach provides education and business organizations with a powerful tool to innovate and energize learning in any environment--online, traditional, or blended, academic or corporate. It offers an engaging, enjoyable, and easy-to-learn visualization method for communicating key components in learning environments, in the way architectural blueprints communicate building plans. LEM allows designers to present thoughts on an idea canvas and invite 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. As such, it serves as a catalyst for effective communication, decision making, and collaboration, eliminates barriers to and fosters innovation, and inspires creativity.

LEM disrupts the flow of inefficient miscommunication and opens the door to effective idea sharing by way of a simplified language, Learning Environment Modeling Language (LEML)--that consists of four primary features: Building Blocks, Contexts, Actions, and Notations. These components can be assembled in limitless configurations to represent any learning environment imaginable. Intentional, strategic, coordinated implementation of LEM and LEML can assist educators in advancing the overarching design goal of creating engaging learning experiences and improving learner success, which can only advance growth and innovation in learning environment design.

Participants will have the opportunity to select a current project relevant to their personal professional interests or those of their organization to consider as workshop facilitators guide them through the process of profiling learning environment innovation landscapes. They will learn how the LEI2 process can be leveraged to promote abundant ideation, identify drivers of and potential barriers to innovation, develop strategies for addressing potential barriers to innovation, and manage promising concepts and move them through the innovation cycle from ideas to action.

This workshop will empower attendees to:

  • identify drivers of and barriers to innovation in learning environments
  • determine personal, team, and organization capacities for learning innovation
  • use Learning Environment Modeling to map, plan, and develop innovation initiatives
  • lead learning innovation operations and assess their outcomes

Attendees interested in this session are invited to preview and complete the Learning Environment Innovation Inventory prior to the conference and can access it here. Responses are anonymous and those received by November 2, 1018 will be included in the example of a completed LEI2 landscape report used in the workshop. Of course, completion of the inventory is not required to participate in the workshop!