EDIL Online 2022: Community Lessons on Authenticity and Engagement

The online counterpart of EdMedia Innovate Learning 2022 took place from November 1-3. The conference brought together 50 presenters from Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Suriname, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. While smaller than the usual AACE gathering, the EDIL 2022 online venue provided a great opportunity for engaging in deep conversations and encountering new ideas. Many talks centered on engagement and authenticity – the building blocks of learning communities that go beyond content delivery and certification of achievements.


  • The first day was kicked off by a keynote from Stephanie Hughes is the Founding Director & Lead Architect of the design company AKKA Architects, located in the Netherlands. Her work focuses on ‘architecting interactions’, and she agreed to follow up her talk with an interview at AACE Review – coming soon!
  • The second-day keynote was delivered by Solomon Arulraj David who focused on epistemic engagement, reminding the audience that knowledge is not a product that is sold or bought with tuition fees, but instead must be achieved through rigorous academic activities.
  • The conference closed with a highly informative and well-received keynote on effective online learning by Gino Camp from the Open University of the Netherlands. Professor Camp’s research brings together language education and cognitive psychology, focusing on effective strategies such as spaced repetition and retrieval practice. His talk challenged the idea that we all need to get back to in-person formats of teaching and learning, and proposed techniques for teaching online that promote better information retention.

Session Notes

Everyone charts their own conference experience. Especially in an online format it can be tricky to make time to attend all the talks one has added to the personal planner. These were my personal conference highlights.

Attendees looking for insightful takes on post-pandemic teaching were well-served by the talk on ‘Dynamics and Definitions of Disengagement Among College Students: Preliminary Results of a Survey of Higher Ed Faculty’ by a research team from the University of Nebraska.  Alternative assignments, flexibility in due dates, increased authenticity of assignments and connection to learners’ backgrounds, and the use of e-textbooks were strategies that instructors developed to reach students and keep them engaged.

Dynamics and Definitions of Disengagement Among College Students: Preliminary Results of a Survey of Higher Ed Faculty’ by Ladan Ghazi-Saidi, Erin Sweeney, Martonia Gaskill, and Dawn Mollenkopf

The 2022 Innovating pedagogy report highlights learning from social media influencers as an upcoming pedagogy trend. ‘Edu-influencers’ (education influencers) provide freely available videos and other content to their followers beyond formal and accredited education programs, and mostly work outside educational institutions. This trend ties in nicely with one of the EDIL Online talks: ‘Using DEI Influencers in the Classroom to Promote Confidence in Identity as well as Mastery of Content’, by Michelle Bianco from Purdue University. How to find diverse voices that offer positive role models in your field and create engagement? The presenter offered ‘LinkedIn Top Voices’ as a resource to connect with influencers, and social media profiles in general as an opportunity to create inclusive lessons.

How can we connect global learners through worthwhile projects? This question was tackled by John Storm, EMBA Programme Director at University of Aberdeen in his talk on ‘Online Work-based Placements to Encourage Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development’. The Global Learning Collective (GLC) was formed in 2020 in response to Covid-19’s pressures on student mobility and cross-border exchange programs. Its founding members, Campus B, CEPA, EduAfrica and the Asia Institute, represent some of the largest players within the study abroad space. As a collective, GLC support over 50 universities in offering experience and exposure for work-based placements in 8 countries (during 2021-2022), covering all populated continents.

Online Work-based Placements to Encourage Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development: A Case Study of the Global Learning Collective by John Storm.

Last but not least, I had a wonderful time presenting on the latest collaboration with FH Munster in Germany on ‘Playful Pedagogies in Teacher Education’. Design thinking and related approaches have garnered considerable interest in k12, vocational training, informal learning and higher education over the past 15 years. Many organizations offer design thinking activities, provide makerspaces and flexible furniture, and incorporate various forms of play-based pedagogies such as marshmallow challenges or LEGO serious play. In a workshop series with faculty, staff and students we explored these concepts specifically for the vocational education and training (VET) context. A recording is available.


  • What will the future of AACE online conferences look like? Learn more about the plans for next year in our upcoming interview with Chris Devers, the new conference chair for EDIL online – follow him on Twitter at @chrisdevers.
  • Recordings of the keynote as well as the conference proceedings will soon be available in LearnTechLib, the digital learning and technology library by AACE.
  • EdMedia and Innovate Learning 2023 takes place in person in Vienna from July 10-14. Submit your proposal by February 10.
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