Annual Conference

Updated programme for the 2022 L&I Conference on 19 October!

The location of the conference is: Building X, Sint Hubertuslaan 12, Maastricht

Follow the conference online here:

Of note: The presentations and workshops will be related to the seed-money grants or the UM Learning & Innovations themes. You can find more information about these topics here:

Happy to announce that the keynote speaker for the L&I 2022 conference is Nienke van Atteveldt!

The topic of the keynote is ‘Proving or improving yourself: Neurocognitive interplay between motivation, learning behaviour, and achievement.’

Register now for the 2022 L&I Conference on 19 October!

You can register for the conference via this link!

The conference takes place in Maastricht at the Tapijn grounds, and starts at 10h. Lunch will be provided and we will close the day with drinks in the late afternoon. A more detailed programme will follow soon!

Save the date: Annual L&I conference 2022 on Wednesday 19 October!

The hybrid 2021 L&I Conference was a big success!

Wednesday November 10, 2021, the annual conference of Learning & Innovation at Maastricht University took place in Maastricht.

The hybrid conference kicked off with an introduction by Carla Haelermans, the chair of our taskforce and Peter Møllgaard the dean of Maastricht University School of Business and Economics.

The keynote was provided by Bart Rienties. He gave a very interesting keynote about learning analytics. Unfortunately he could not travel to the Netherlands, but still managed to make it highly interactive and a great hybrid experience!

Next, six brave PhD-students from several faculties of Maastrichdt University gave a short pitch about their research! Thank you Mariët Bogaard, Per Bles, Hala el Damellawy, Yuanyuan Zhu, Joedith López-Cuello and Fauzan Ansyari! Thanks a lot for your contributions, great job!

In the afternoon, we had two great rounds of interactive workshops and closed the day with some closing remarks and of course some networking drinks!

Thanks to everyone for attending!

Conference Programme of the L&I conference on 10 November 2021 published!

See below for more information on the conference and the programme!

Conference programme

On November 10, 2021, the Taskforce Learning & Innovation will organise their annual conference in Maastricht. The conference is free of charge for everyone interested in our conference, be it an (educational) scientist, a teacher, or a student, from within or outside Maastricht University. There is no need to submit an abstract to attend the conference, but because of Covid-19 rules, registration is mandatory. We will start with coffee at 9.30 and end with drinks at around 15.30 hours.

The taskforce is very pleased to have prof. dr. Bart Rienties as keynote speaker for the conference. Prof. Rienties is a professor of Learning Analytics at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University UK.

During the conference, PhD-students and postdocs will have the opportunity to present their research in the field of Learning and Innovation with a short pitch and a poster. In addition, there will be four (parallel) workshops related to the main Learning & Innovation research themes of Maastricht University.

The conference will most likely have a hybrid form. The sessions can be attended live, but we will also arrange opportunities to join the sessions online. More information about this will follow.

Please have a look at the full programme (time is Central European Time):

9.30 – 10.00 Coffee

10.00 – 11.00 Opening by prof. dr. Peter Møllgaard

Keynote by prof. dr. Bart Rienties, titled "What we have learned from big and small data studies at the Open University UK: doing learning analytics at scale"

11.00 – 12.00 Pitches by PhD students and postdocs

12.00 – 12.45 Lunch, including posters by PhD students and postdocs

12.45 – 13.45 Workshop round (see below for workshop descriptions)

Choose between:

- Problem Based Learning (PBL) now and in the future

- Lifelong Development

13.45 – 14.00 Short break

14.00 – 15.00 Workshop round (see below for workshop descriptions)

Choose between:

- Internationalization

- Human cognition, learning, and education

15.00 – 15.30 Reflection and closing remarks by the Taskforce Learning & Innovation

15.30 – … Drinks

We will then in due time provide you with more information on the conference.

Workshop descriptions

Workshop 1: PBL Now and in the Future - Round 1

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of various educational delivery approaches, such as online, hybrid, and blended learning. These approaches introduce important elements that are crucial to consider in order to optimize the design, delivery, and assessment of student’s learning. In this workshop, by means of a world cafe, we want to host a dialogue on the impact of research findings on blended, online and hybrid learning (in the Problem Based Learning model and beyond) and future research needs in this area.

Workshop 2: Lifelong development - Round 1

Due to technological innovations, robots have become equipped to take up our routine tasks. While this is generally perceived as negative for those working on routine tasks, it has not led to replacement of human jobs. However, research has shown that it influences the task – and hence skills - demands of workers. To keep up with the speed of innovation, we need a culture of lifelong learning, covering the whole range of formal, informal, and non-formal learning. By means of a gallery walk, participants are introduced to a number of relevant questions in this field and will jointly try to answer how we could research these questions.

Workshop 3: Internationalization - Round 2

After the Bologna Declaration was signed in 1999, European higher education became more attractive to foreign students. This led to increased internationalization at many universities in- and outside of the Netherlands. Research suggests that this development may benefit students’ learning, but it can also have adverse consequences. This workshop revolves around a debate that focuses on identifying the prose and cons of internationalization of higher education and, subsequently, on how can approach the cons to the advantage of students and staff at our universities.

Workshop 4: Human cognition, learning, and education - Round 2

Within Maastricht University and other institutes, researchers are engaged in scientific studies trying to understand human cognition, and specifically how learning works, and how these insights can be translated to effective education. This workshop is an open invitation to those researchers and those who aren’t doing research but are interested in these topics to join, get to know each other, share and create. In a speed dating format, you are challenged to come up with a joint research idea connected to human cognition, learning and education. Attendees vote for the best idea, which will be awarded with a (limited) financial compensation to kickstart the execution of the idea.

Prof. dr. Bart Rienties Keynote speaker Conference 2021

We are very happy to announce that Prof. dr. Bart Rienties will be the keynote speaker at the 2021 Learning & Innovation Conference on November 10!

Bart Rienties is a Professor of Learning Analytics at the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University UK. He joined IET in January 2014, initially as Reader in Learning Analytics. Previously he worked at University of Surrey from 2010-213 as (senior) lecturer in higher education, and before that in various roles from 2000-2010 at Maastricht University. His main research interests are related to Learning Analytics, Learning Design, Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, and Professional Development. He is also interested in broader internationalization aspects of higher education.

Save the date! L&I conference takes place on 10 November 2021!

The conference is free of charge, and will start with coffee at 9.30 and end with drinks around 16.30.

More information will follow soon!

Conference June 2019

On June 12, researchers and education experts gathered for the first conference on Learning & Innovation.

At this conference the UM Learning & Innovation taskforce welcomed a diverse group of people at the AINSI in Maastricht. This day was filled with inspirational and thought-provoking keynotes, workshops and networking opportunities.

Rianne Letschert (rector magnificus at UM) explained the importance of Learning & Innovation (L&I) research and the importance of getting together with researchers, teachers, policy makers and other kinds of experts, to pick each others brains. To learn what societal challenges could be tackled by research in the field of learning and innovation. And to learn what cross overs UM researchers could establish, with colleagues within and outside the university. What is our common ground? In which fields can we stand out and really add value to reality? The conference was set-up to think in terms of possibilities and opportunities. To bring back the spirit of the old days, when this university started and nothing was set in stone.

In order to get more insight into the focus of L&I research at UM, the audience was asked what, according to them, UM’s strengths are when it comes to research on L&I. The most frequent answers were, not surprisingly, Problem-Based Learning (PBL), interdisciplinary, active learning and international. Additionally, the audience was asked to name a niche within the field of L&I at UM that should receive more attention. It became clear that the majority of the answers was related to cognitive science, technology and students.

Keynote Hanne Leth Andersen

‘We should not program students, we need students who are able to program’

During her keynote speech, Prof. Dr. Hanne Leth Andersen discussed how a person can become a ‘lifelong learner’, how students’ motivation and engagement can result in quality. She made a plea to put the student at the center, to promote motivation and engagement, so that it would result in quality. However, the current trends in higher education seem to be going towards students that focus more on their individual performance and their grades in comparison to other students This is part of the broader performance culture. In order to tackle all societal challenges that lie before us, we need people who are creative. Problem oriented Project Learning (PPL), as is being used at Roskilde University, might be a way to tackle this dilemma.


(In)equality and its relation to learning

During the ‘(In)equality and its relation to learning’ workshop, organised by Phil Brüll (behavioural scientist at UM's Faculty of Neuroscience and Psychology) the question ‘Should (in)equality be regarded as a problem or as an opportunity?’ was discussed.

In research on L&I, inequality and diversity is a cross-cutting theme. This goes from children receiving unequal opportunities in the educational system, to using diversity in the classroom to enrich the learning experience of students.

One of the main themes discussed here, was the differences and similarities between ‘inequality’ and ‘diversity’. While the latter is seen as a good thing, considering it can enrich group learning- and performance, the former is seen as a bad thing when linked to unequal opportunities. The focus should be on equality of opportunity, instead of striving toward equality in itself, or homogeneity.

Trends and developments in education and learning​

During the ‘Trends and development in education and learning’ workshop, organised by Dr. Roy Erkens (teacher plant evolutionary biology at the Maastricht Science Programme, course/skills coordinator and chair of the Educational Programme Committee of the Maastricht Science Programme), participants were invited to think about opportunities and possibilities to innovate education.

To do this, participants read case-descriptions, and were asked to come up with innovative ideas that could be applied to the case. Subsequently, participants were asked to cluster these ideas in a matrix, with the elements ‘difficult – easy’ and ‘standard – novel’’.

It proved to be difficult to think outside the box and come up with radical innovations that would change the system. A first tentative conclusion is that challenges in the field of innovation lie more at the level of the teacher than at the level of the students.

Infinite learning and competence development

This workshop was organised by Dr. Johan Adriaensen (Assistant Professor at FASoS at Maastricht University, and Research Coordinator CERiM). Three topics were discussed:

  • Identify relevant skills and competences - What skills are important? What do we want to learn?

  • Design curricula to facilitate their training - How can we learn those skills? Which shape would this take?

  • Improve our teaching practices.

In this workshop many fundamental and practical questions were raised? Should university teaching focus on skills development? Who gets to determine the skills to be learned (academia, the students or the future employees? Is PBL the optimal didactic to learn skills. Another theme that was discussed was the role of exams, and knowledge acquisition in relation to the developments of AI. This provides a lot of food for thought and inspiration for many new research projects.


During the ‘unpanel’ discussion, an interactive discussion with experts and the audience as panel members, the topic of ‘Interactions between societal developments and research’ was discussed.

Topics that were discussed provided important input for the Learning & Innovation research theme. To name a few, increase communication between neuroscientists and education research to discover the possibilities of the insights from neuroscience, more focus on bridges between different education levels, the role of technology in education, fostering creativity in students, translation of thought into behaviour, finding new ways of expressing students learning processes. Reflections on the struggle and fun of learning and education. And the overall issue that has been part of the agenda for decades: the translation of research finding into educational practice.

Keynote René Kneyber

René Kneyber (math teacher and member of the Board of Education) gave an inspiring keynote speech about ‘A teacher-centered approach to educational improvement and innovation’.

During his keynote, René Kneyber discussed topics such as teachers’ engagement in improvements and innovation, experience, expertise, effective teacher learning, the importance of networks, and what is needed for improvements and innovations in the future. One of the main messages is that it takes time to learn new routines, in order for teachers to truly change their teaching, time is needed. Teachers rely heavily on routines during their work and these take a long time to change.


The main conclusions of the conference: There is much enthusiasm and willingness to collaborate in research on learning & innovation. Many new, and not so new, ideas were brought up, opportunities were signalled and new energy was created.

Photos: Philip Driessen