Plenary Speaker

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Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc

Innovation, Re-Inventing Higher Education, and Aligning Education and Workforce For This New Era


Higher education was built on an industrial age “one size fits all” model that envisioned a world for which four years of education at age 17 or 18 would serve one well for the whole of a career and lifetime.  A college degree was a signal to the labor market that you were “worthy” and ready for the world of work, possessing the range of skills that employers sought as a foundation for the additional training and acclimation into the workplace they would provide. However, tectonic changes are underway today, as lifespans approach 100 years, jobs change at a dizzying pace, AI and automation disrupt the workforce (creating new jobs and displacing many others), and professionals constantly retool to remain up-to-date and relevant.  The old, well-established industrial age model that has served us so well is not well suited for the Fourth Industrial Age.  

Society needs to create a learning eco-system that allows learners to dip in and out over the course of a career and a lifetime, one that offers a broader arrange of credentials from a greater variety of educational providers, one that can recognize and certify learning in many forms, and that is much more individualized around the learner.  This is our version of “precision medicine” – call it “precision education,” of a kind that gives learners just the right amount of education at the just the right time in just the right way.  In such a learning eco-system, competencies  become the “exchange rate” that provides coherence and connectedness for a kind of educational bio-diversity within which traditional higher education continues to play a key role, but for which it no longer has a monopoly on how people demonstrate and get credit for what they know and what they can do.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Mick Healey

Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching


Universities need to move towards creating inclusive scholarly knowledge-building communities. … The notion of inclusive scholarly knowledge-building communities invites us to consider new ideas about who the scholars are in universities and how they might work in partnership. (Brew 2007, 4)


Ways of engaging students in higher education as partners in learning and teaching is arguably one of the most important issues facing higher education in the 21st Century. Partnership is essentially a process for engaging students, though not all engagement involves partnership. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself. In this interactive session we will explore four ways in which students may be engaged as partners through: a) Learning, teaching and assessment; b) Subject-based research and inquiry; c) Scholarship of teaching and learning; and d) Curriculum design and pedagogic advice and consultancy. We will examine many mini case studies from different parts of the world, including SE Asia, and discuss the principles and values which should underpin student-staff partnerships.

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Professor Tan Thiam Soon

Impact of an Applied Learning Education


As the world evolves and traditional jobs disappear, new jobs are being created, clamouring for qualified and capable workers. Educating the next generation of workers will take on a deeper significance and universities need to shake up established education models so that our young minds will be able to cope with disruption and thrive. With the blurring of boundaries between the classroom and workplace, the future will not be defined by paper qualifications, but by real skillsets. A university of applied learning will hence have to build skills, not degrees. This has to be done through an industry-focused education, hands-on training and solving real-world problems. The quality of higher education should be determined by the impact on various stakeholders, including the students, industry and the community at large. 

For students, an applied learning education provides aspiring individuals, young or those returning to learn, a chance to pursue their passion and fulfil their dreams. For industry, an applied learning ecosystem offers a solution by blurring the lines between work and study, and training work-ready graduates to fill the gaps of missing skillsets in the market. Challenging the traditional concept of an ivory tower, an applied learning pathway can disrupt the higher education landscape in offering unique industry partnerships and applied research opportunities leading to a whole ecosystem comprising entrepreneurs, startups focusing on practical, everyday solutions for the community. Educators will be pivotal as they navigate challenges arising from the symbiotic relationship developed between the university and industry.  

Distinguished Guest Speaker

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Professor Dr. Georg Nagler

The importance of corporate studies as an element of sustainable human resource management and development in times of global economic crisis


The presentation is based on an in-depth analysis of two key considerations in applied higher education, the first one being the changing needs of human resource management and the second,  how universities can change the way they prepare students to meet these changing needs.   In modern organisations, human resource management is often challenged by the rapid change in customer demands, developments in disruptive technology and shareholder expectations. As one who has worked in the health industry for more than a decade, the presenter will examine these demands and draw significant conclusions relevant to higher educational institutions.


The presentation will touch on aspects of employment such as qualifications, selection procedures, contracts, staff maintenance, job performance, termination, outplacement, etc. It will then focus on the role of universities in contributing to sustainable human resource management in the future by incorporating studies specifically in this area in the university curriculum. The presenter will then provide detailed analyses of examples of the working activities of a corporate state university in day-to-day cooperation with thousands of industrial companies.


Mr David Chua
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Professor Yaacob Bin Ibrahim

The discussion will also be joined by Dr. Paul J. Leblanc, Professor Tan Thiam Soon & Professor Dr. jur. Georg Nagler.


Distinguished Invited Speakers

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Learning Re-defined


Ms Ong will share the transformation experience of the Singapore Civil Service College, in particular how the College has to rethink its value proposition to support public sector transformation. Her sharing will include the new mindsets and skills that public officers need, including embracing digital learning, readiness to learn, unlearn and relearn and developing a growth mindset. She will cover some of the initiatives that the College has undertaken to transform the learning experience of public officers to achieve greater impact.

Ms Ong Toon Hui
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Employers Are Looking Beyond Grades


There is a move towards broadening the definition of success and looking holistically at students’ development. Hiring organisations are also looking beyond grades, focusing on what other aspects graduates can bring to the table. We must recognise that a lot of learning is done on the job, at the workplace and not just in school. In this session, we will talk about competencies required by new graduates in this era of disruptive change, how education institutions can partner enterprises and companies to prepare these graduates. From a business perspective, we will discuss what it means for graduates to be ready for work.

Mr Douglas Foo
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How does Fintech Affect the Way We Live, Work and Play?


Will our current degree courses become irrelevant with the advent of technology? How do we embrace technology in teaching and learning?  Let’s provide a nexus between theory and practice for engaging learners to prepare them to be future ready. IT’S TIME TO INNOVATE AND TRANSFORM TO A SEAMLESS, END-TO-END learner SERVICE EXPERIENCE.

Dr. Lillian Koh
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Ms Ho Geok Choo

Lifelong Learning: A strategic pivot for continuous transformation and economic growth


The Singapore Government seeded the concept and strategy of lifelong learning way back in 1979 when it started the Skills Development Fund to finance the training of employees, retrain retrenched workers, and upgrade business operations and technology. 
In the last 20 years, Lifelong learning has evolved into a uniquely Singapore economic growth narrative.  Its relevance, sustainability, frontier thought- leadership and impact on the socio, economic and political landscape cannot be over-emphasized.
The emerging technological and demographic changes aggravated by changes in the global political and trade relations of nations will create deeper market and skills gaps in the workforce. Singapore, who is ahead of many others in Asia, in lifelong learning will have a strategic competitive edge in our workforce.

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Dr. Chew Lee Chin

The WHY, HOW and WHAT of Self and Peer Assessments


Self-directed and collaborative learning are increasingly important pedagogical practices in contemporary education. In tandem with this, assessment methods more suited to such modes of learning are being deployed as alternatives to traditional practices. For example, self and peer assessment, where students reflect on their learning as well as account for their own and peer’s contribution and participation, is now emphasized in higher education. Therein lies a challenge. With the increased variety and extensiveness of such innovative assessments, how can faculty cope with providing meaningful interpretations and feedback on a large scale?


What can faculty learn via such assessments about individual students’ different value systems, pertaining to such factors as abilities, experiences, attitudes, and cognitive styles? This will be discussed with examples of student self and peer assessment practised at pre-service and professional development courses at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Findings from case studies of students’ behaviour as they self and peer assess their participation in group-based learning tasks will also be discussed, drawing implications for the practice of such assessments in collaborative learning at higher education.

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Mr Vinoth Pannirsilvam

Learning from people, not just classes


The growth of technology has accelerated to a speed that has never been seen in the history of mankind and as we ourselves struggle to guess what tomorrow will look like, how do we give guidance and prepare the next generation to be future-ready?


Formal education provides an excellent environment to prepare students for their future careers and its importance is undeniable. However, application of theories picked up from books only form part of the equation to career success. Many essential skills are passed on and learnt through interaction with peers and hands-on activities during the course of work.

Together with Vinoth Pannirsilvam, Chief Engineer of TRIGEN Automotive, we explore why is it important to equip students with practical skills that are acquired beyond classrooms.

Interactive Roundtable Discussion:

Case-based Learning

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Professor Ho Yew Kee
Dr. Mark Chong
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Ms Vinika Devasar Rao
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Dr. Liu Zhao Ping, George 

Interactive Roundtable Discussion:

Essence of Integrated Work Study Programme 

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Assoc Prof Foo Yong Lim
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Ms Yeo May-Fung
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Mr Quek Chin Hock
Mr Muhammad Khairulanwar Bin Abdull Razak
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Mr Mak Keat Meng
Mr Sean Ooi