Our 3rd Active Learning Network conference on Tuesday 11th June is fast approaching! Join us in the Conference Centre on 3rd Floor of Bramber House at the University of Sussex to engage with the latest developments in the world of active learning! #ActiveLearningNTW

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The event will be an opportunity to network, share and explore what is happening in the cutting-edge world of active learning. Thanks to our sponsor for this event, Sony Professional, we are once again able to offer this as a free to attend event for the first 100 sign ups! If you would like to join us, do not hesitate – Sign up here today!

Active Learning Network Events are focused on bringing together individuals interested in all things related to active learning to share good practice, discuss and develop innovative pedagogy. It would be great to see you there.

Active Collaborative Learning for Student Success
Friday 28th June 2019, Nottingham Trent University.

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This conference marks the end of the ‘Scaling up Active Collaborative Learning for Student Success’ project which was funded as part of the Office for Students (OfS) Addressing Barriers to Student Success (ABSS) programme and led by Nottingham Trent University in collaboration with Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Bradford.

At the event, all three partners will report back on their findings which relate to the effects of SCALE-UP and Team-based Learning on reducing gaps in student engagement, attainment and non-continuation. There will be reflections on lessons learnt and a blueprint model will be shared with the aim that others can integrate active collaborative learning at scale to achieve similar results. Kirsty Johnson the OfS ABSS programme manager will be speaking at this event.

Past events

Step to Learn: Embodied representation for Learning in Organisations
Friday 3rd May, 12-1pm, The Quiet Room, The Meeting House, University of Sussex

Leadership Coach with a specialism in Psychosynthesis psychology, and Argentine Tango teacher. Margarita’s innovative work with embodied learning is included in ‘Disrupting traditional pedagogy: Active Learning in Practice’, to be published by Sussex University Press in June 2019.

See details


Organisations get stuck, trapped in unproductive patterns, as easily as people do.

How do we promote learning in organisations such as Sussex?

And how do you, as an individual, galvanise the eco-system of your organisation to shift what no longer works?

The risk in organisations is doing WHAT or HOW has not been done before. Safety is (apparently) in keeping to the known: precedent, tradition, existing procedures. What can people in organisations draw on for courage to act differently?

I am not expecting to bestow ready-made answers. Instead, this embodied learning workshop brings you a format for individual-within-collective learning.

That means: Your presence matters.

The version of this workshop presented at last year’s AL Conference focused on learning about situations between two people. This year, we’re going BIGGER!

We will be looking at larger patterns playing out at Sussex, and how you can play a part in adjusting what is stuck.

Bring yourself (+ a friend), your knowledge of Sussex, and your willingness to play and have fun with it!

Tutors, risk-taking and good-practice teaching
Thursday 11th April, 12-1pm, Bramber House room 235, University of Sussex

Dr Chowdhury Shabab

Taking risks in teaching can be nerve wracking, but can help students experience deep learning by providing a better example of the ways in which we learn

Active Essay Writing: Risk taking and specialism based learning

Friday 8th March, 2pm-3pm, Essex House 133, University of Sussex

How do we get students to move beyond mere regurgitation of the lecture or the readings, to develop independent, well researched essays? In the active learning network meeting this month, Heather Taylor and myself will be presenting the active essay writing project that we have been running with Foundation Year students. The project aims to encourage students to take risks in their writing using an approach known as specialism based learning. In the meeting, we will be giving you a chance to experience some of the activities we used with our students and would love to hear your feedback and ideas on this to help us develop the project further.

Friday 8th February, 12-1pm, Meeting House Quiet Room, University of Sussex

Enjoying risk-taking and not knowing: Practical ideas to inspire a lifelong love of learning from an early age
Associate tutor, School of Education and Social work University of Sussex, Creator of ‘The joy of not knowing (JONK)’, author ‘Start thinking’ and recent headteacher

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The session will share a wide of range of practical examples, illustrated with children’s work, of how learning environments and routines can be established to inspire students to enjoy ‘not knowing’, to embrace uncertainty and confusion, to explore alternative methods of solving problems and to equip students with the lifelong learning dispositions and behaviours that enable them to relish taking risks with their learning.

How can we equip students with the tools, resources, dispositions and freedoms that enable them to feel intrinsically motivated to want to take risks with their learning and with their thinking?

How can students be equipped to enjoy launching into their learning with equal enthusiasm when they feel clear of the outcome and process, they are following, as well as when they have little idea of what their exploration will lead to or know how to start?

How can we equip students with the resources that enable them to enjoy getting to the same end point but after trying out many different avenues to get there? How can we encourage them to venture into the unknown, speculate about the findings along the way and develop their creative and innovative thinking skills?

How can we establish classrooms learning environments in which the teacher feels able to confidently model risk-taking as an integral part of their teaching and learning process?

How can philosophy as a distinct lesson and a philosophical approach to the curriculum and to learning objectives be used to nurture a risk-taking culture in the classroom, beyond the classroom and at home? The talk will illustrate how to use philosophy to create classrooms as communities of inquiry in which students are able to share and discuss their thinking in a safe and respectful environment. Examples will be presented of occasions in which children and teachers changed their minds after considering the thoughts, views and opinions of others!

The talk will show how establishing a  risk-taking culture, helps to develop all the values, dispositions and behaviours in learners that enables them to develop the critical thinking skills that are so invaluable if they are to succeed in and contribute to the sustainability of our world as successful, caring, versatile, and responsible citizens from an early age.

Friday 7th December, 12-1pm, Meeting House Quiet Room, University of Sussex
Inclusive Learning
How can we create environments where people feel comfortable to voice their own ideas and ask questions?

Shared summary of the event can be found on our interactive cork board (Padlet) here. Feel free to contribute helpful links and thoughts on the subject.

Friday 9th November, 12-1pm, Meeting House Quiet Room, University of Sussex
The Use of Visual Media in Learning
Using visual media to help ourselves and others learn
In association with Digital Discovery Week at the University of Sussex


Shared summary of the event can be found on our interactive cork board (Padlet) here. Feel free to contribute helpful links and thoughts on the subject.