ALDinHE 2018: The Learning Development Conference
University of Leicester
26 - 28 March 2018

In 2018 the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education will hold its annual conference at the University of Leicester from 26th - 28th March.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the ALDinHE conference and we are looking forward to celebrating in Leicester with our best conference yet.

Join like-minded professionals for stimulating debate and discussion, contribute to the research and evidence base for Learning Development, and share your innovative and inspiring practice with a friendly and supportive audience.

As always, this welcoming conference will include workshops, paper presentations and lightning talks exploring all aspects of learning development theory, practice and policy. This year, we are particularly interested in exploring the theoretical foundations for:
  • How we think about learning development
    • Managing professional identities
    • Pathways for professional development
    • The problems learning development can solve
    • The value of learning development across the sector
  • How we enact learning development
    • Working with students and colleagues
    • Understanding why tools and techniques work
    • Flexibility within a changing sector
    • Opportunities and challenges

The conference begins on Monday 26th March, with an afternoon of workshops reflecting the work of ALDinHE and its various working groups. This year we are offering a special opportunity to attend the popular workshop on working with individuals in tutorials.

Tuesday and Wednesday 27th/28th March will include a full programme of paper presentations and workshops, with two keynote talks (see below).

Click here to view the detailed programme of parallel sessions ( ** Now includes full details and abstracts**)


Professor Roni Bamber

Director of the Centre for Academic Practice, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Roni is Director of the Centre for Academic Practice at Queen Margaret University, where her research focus has been on managing enhancement within universities, and how we can support staff to continuously improve the student experience. She was Chair of the recently completed Scottish Enhancement Theme, Student Transitions, and was previously Chair of the Learning from International Practice in the Taught Postgraduate Student Experience project. She has extensive experience of working internationally across Europe, the Middle East, India and Nepal, both in academic enhancement and staff development.

Tectonic shifts in HE = tectonic shifts in learning development?

So many changes in HE, so many new challenges. ‘Tectonic’ is a metaphor sometimes used to describe profound change: shifting tectonic plates can lead to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. We are witnessing changes in national policy on HE, structures and cultures of universities, the nature and intensity of academic work, and in students themselves. But are the changes in our sector catastrophic, or evolutionary? And what do they mean for learning development and learning developers?

In this presentation I will summarise some of the major changes we are experiencing in universities, and ask you to think about practical implications for your identities as learning developers, and for your practices.

Dr John Hilsdon

Head of Learning Support and Wellbeing, Plymouth University

Dr John Hilsdon is an Associate Professor and Head of Learning Support and Wellbeing at the University of Plymouth. He has contributed to the evolution of Learning Development as a distinct field of practice in Higher Education since the turn of the century. He helped set up the UK network of learning developers, LDHEN, in 2002, was the first Chair of ALDinHE from 2006 -2011, and remains an editor of the (JLDHE) Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. He was awarded an HEA National Teaching Fellowship in 2005. John’s work has focussed on issues associated with academic writing, critical thinking, reflection and peer learning. His doctoral study examines the significance of Learning Development in relation to the construction of policy and identity in UK Higher Education. In addition to his role in HE, John has worked as a counsellor at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth since 2000.

Learning Development: pedagogy, principles and progress

Learning Developers in UK HE institutions have always been keen to point out the distinctiveness of their roles and practices, insisting that LD is about more than ‘just’ study skills or learning support. So, can we identify a coherent LD pedagogy? What theoretical basis or principles would underlie such an approach - and is it possible, given the increasing commercialisation of HE, that progress towards what we might identify as the goals of LD can be made? Despite the rhetoric of ‘widening participation’ and ‘students as partners’ in HE, transmission approaches to the organisation and practice of teaching and learning are prevalent, whilst courses of study are increasingly commodified. Strong connections can be identified between these circumstances and views of universities as institutions whose principal role is to produce graduate labourers and indebted consumers to serve the current economic arrangements. How can Learning Developers respond? In the first place, we can dream up “feasible utopias” as Ron Barnett (2011, p. 4) enjoins us; then, in practice, we can create microclimates with our students and fellow academics where notions of scholarship might be questioned and redefined. In such ‘third’ spaces, universities themselves might be reimagined as places where espousing a love of learning (Rowland, 2008) would not elicit ridicule, and where the pursuit of research and the construction of knowledge to serve “a world in common” (Arendt, 1958, p. 58) would take precedence, as envisaged in UNESCO’s declaration on “Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century” (1998). Other legitimate goals such as graduate employability and student satisfaction might then be pursued appropriately and locally within the context of the wider social purposes of higher education.

Arendt, Hannah (1958) The Human Condition . Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
Barnett, Ronald (2011) Being a University . Abingdon, Routledge.
Rowland, Stephen (2008) Collegiality and Intellectual Love, British Journal of Sociology of Education , Volume 29, Issue 3, 353-360.
UNESCO (1998) World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-first Century: Vision and Action . Available at: . Accessed 17.01.2018


Delegate fees are as follows:

ALDinHE Institutional Members* Non-members
3 days 26 - 28 March £295 £360
2 days 27 - 28 March £260 £300
Day delegate £130 £150

* Note: discounted rates are available to all delegates employed by institutional members. Click here to view the current list of institutional members
Discounted rates are also available to members of AALL, ATLAANZ and LSAC through our International Consortium agreement.

** Delegate fees cover conference attendance with lunch and refreshments provided. Registration for two or three days also includes the conference dinner on Tuesday evening

Registration has now closed

Registered delegates only: click here to pay conference fees online using PayPal

Important Notes

1) If paying via PayPal, please ensure you have also completed the online registration form
2) Please be aware of our cancellation policy (see below)


Click here for a list of recommended hotels

Click here for information on travelling around Leicester


The conference is being held in the Stamford Court Conference Centre, Leicester.

Registration will take place from 12.00 on Monday 26 March, and 9.00 on Tuesday and Wednesday 27 & 28 March.

Taxis: from train station to venue is app £6.00 (Hackney cabs from the train station a little more – between £7-£8)
Bus:Click here for a timetable. Ask for the adj Meadow Court Rd stop then walk up Stoughton Drive South towards the venue as per the directions linked above.


On the evening of Monday 26 March there will be a choice of evening activities on offer. Registered delegates will be invited to select their preferred option when joining instructions are sent out.

The conference dinner will be held at the National Space Centre on Tuesday 27 March.

Please direct any further queries regarding the conference to

Cancellation Policy

In the event of cancellation of delegate registration, ALDinHE can offer refunds on the following basis:
Cancellation more than 2 weeks before the event - Full refund minus £25 administrative charge
Cancellation between 2 weeks and 3 days before the event - 50% refund
Cancellation less than 3 days before the event - 25% refund
Cancellation after the start of the event - No refund

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