Conference Topics

OpenLearning Conference 2019 – Educating The Future Workforce

In the era of digital transformation and task automation, there is increased pressure on the labour market, which is reshaping the nature of the workforce. While manual dexterity jobs are becoming increasingly vulnerable, new jobs are opening up across the world. According to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be created.


At the rate of change of today’s task force, the future has become an uncertain place – where obtaining a university degree will not guarantee a competitive edge for job seekers. In order to meet the job demands of the future, the urgency of gaining new knowledge and skill sets becomes more significant than the knowledge itself.

Educating for Tomorrow's Workforce

In addition to digital fluency as a fundamental skill set of employability, future tasks will require complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, analysis and research, leadership and soft skills. In response to these needs, multiple stakeholders are coming together to facilitate training programmes and talent development strategies including learning and reskilling initiatives that pave the way for the current and next generation of workers. New types of learning enablers such as the ecosystem of micro-credentialing, mobile learning, flipped classrooms, massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open educational resources provide enormous learning potential for professional development.


This topic will explore the relevant skills for the future as well as how new learning models are able to deliver and achieve the required learning outcomes.

From knowledge delivery to knowledge discovery; from the didactic model of teaching to the constructivism-based model; from macro-credentials to micro-credentials – the digital age has changed the landscape of education.


These changes are made not only to prepare today's students for future job markets but also to the current workforce for career advancement. As Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group says, “There is an urgency to change the way we teach."

Designing for Communities

of Practice

In recent years, we have seen increased demand for new pedagogies which can prepare students to continuously develop new skills and competencies, enabling them to adapt in a knowledge-based economy. While there has been much forecasting on the future of labour markets, the most pressing need is already here – the need for practical and effective ways to deliver the skill sets required to meet industry needs. Developing a new teaching and learning framework is thus an urgent call to action.


Pedagogical discourse has idealised strong communities of learners who understand and meet the demand for emerging skills. This community-based learning culture brings with it doubts about the quality of the resources and facilitation provided to learners. Rethinking the tools of assessment then becomes the key to evaluating the efficacy of learning.


This topic invites reflection and new dispositions about best-practice pedagogy in a constructivist learning environment. Constructive tools and methods are welcomed topics, as a means of enhancing reflective and dialogical learning, increasing student autonomy and creating learning communities in the online environment.

Equity with Quality

With all this talk about the role of education in equipping future talent for the future workforce, addressing equity challenges is as important as solving the pedagogical and technological approaches.


As it is, companies are facing ever-increasing challenges – talent shortages and skills mismatches. Education, including professional skills training, remains critical for promoting inclusive economic growth and developing the capabilities necessary for an uncertain future. To build a talent pool for the future, today, multiple stakeholders have gone hand-in-hand to invest immense resources into skills development initiatives across the world.

The key question to address in this topic is how education and education technology can be used to manage skills distribution (high, medium and low skill levels) across geographies without compromising on socio-economic equity or the quality of the global labour market – especially in consideration of those who lack access to present-day technologies and related skills.


Closely related to this topic are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 4 (Quality Education) and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). The aim is to overcome the risk of widening skills gaps, greater inequality and broader polarization, thus providing true universal access to learning and enabling businesses at every level to tap into new thinking and technologies.

Call for Papers

OpenLearning Conference 2019 – Educating The Future Workforce

Paper submissions to the OpenLearning Conference 2019 are now open. Presenters may submit abstracts for:

Research Papers 

A manuscript that the author(s) submit for academic peer review. Research papers present integrative reviews or original reports of substantive new work: theoretical, empirical, and/or in the design, development and/or deployment of novel concepts, systems, and mechanisms. 

Beyond Papers 

The scope of beyond paper includes sharing experiences, successes, experiments, case studies or student stories. The papers can be presented, but are not limited to, oral presentations, panel presentations, media & digital (ppt, video) or printed materials (such as poster presentations) which will be exhibited at the conference.

The OpenLearning Conference 2019 calls for papers surrounding the topics of:

  i. Educating for Tomorrow’s Workforce 

  • new learning models & ecosystems 

  • massive open online courses (MOOCs)

  • micro-credentialing 

  • flipped classrooms             

  • open educational resources

  • talent development strategies 

  • learning and re-skilling initiatives       

  • next generation of workers

 ii. Designing for Communities of Practice

  • learning design

  • pedagogy discourse & best practice

  • community-based learning

  • tools of assessment

  • experiential learning

  • constructivist learning

  • social learning​

  • epistemic fluency


iii. Equity with Quality 

  • skills distribution

  • unbundling education

  • quality education

  • equality in education

  • global talent shortages

  • education and skills mismatches


Should your paper be accepted, you will be invited to give a 20-minute presentation and Q&A at the conference.

Submissions must adhere to the following guidelines:

Important Dates

Abstract Deadline: 7 July 2019

Full Paper Deadline: 22 September 2019

Full Paper Acceptance: 21 October 2019 (Announcement)

Get in touch


Sau Fong      |


Cherie Diaz  |


Joanne Gao  |

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