DOMMEL VALLEY SYMPOSIUM -“Myths and Truths about Learning” – 17 April, 2018 – TU/e

Posted by linlinpei in the category English

The annual symposium of the Dommel Valley Group took place at TU/e at April 17th. This year’s theme is “Myths and Truths about Learning”. This blog gives an impression of a keynote, a panel discussion and two workshops.

Jo van Ham, the vice present of TU/e gave an introduction and welcome speech: Universities are facing big challenges of less funding, but doubled student numbers in the coming years. The universities in the Netherlands are looking for better solutions to provide high quality education and research with less workload for employees.

Keynote “Easy myths and uncomfortable truths about learning and training” – Pedro De Bruyckere The keynote was given by Pedro de Bruyckere, who is the author for the book “Urban myths about learning and education”. Pedro explained many learning theories that we commonly believe to be true are not supported by scientific evidence. His team examines commonly held incorrect beliefs and then provides the truth of what research has shown.
Recognize any of these myths?

  • People have different styles of learning
  • The effectiveness of learning can be shown in a pyramid
  • 70,20,10 theory
  • You can learn effectively through problem-based learning
  •  …

Pedro also illustrated the meta-studies of providing learning method. However, this results are based on average effects with large data. We still need to critically look at the advice we give to teachers with their own situations. One learning approach is not necessarily better than the others. There is no silver bullet in learning process.

Panel discussion “Trends in L&D – past and future” Followed by the keynote, there was a panel discussion among Pedro de Bruyckere, Joseph Kesels (formal professor at UT), Jane Hart ( founder of annual Top 100 tools) and Bob Mosher (Chief Learning Evangelist). The discussion focused on how to separate fact from fiction, and myths from truths; balance pragmatism in daily work and innovation. Compared to 20 years ago, the workload at universities and companies  is much higher. People are unlikely to have time and motivation to learn new things from their own initiatives. Joseph also emphasized that instead of focusing on developing training programs, we should redesign a better workspace, which provides more meaningful tasks and more inviting working environment for employees to learn and develop. Instead of offering more traditional trainings, provide the opportunities to fit learning into daily workflow.


I also attended a workshop on diversity and inclusion of team building, provided by ASML. Diverse and inclusive teams are smarter, perform better and make sound decisions. However, this is not always the case for organizations. Check out this inspiring video.

The second workshop “Supporting teachers in educational innovations at the TU/e” shared 2 projects of blended learning and online education. The CvB from TU/e requested each faculty to develop a roadmap towards innovative teaching method, supplied with support and funding. The top-down approach worked out nicely at TU/e. The evaluation shows positive results from these projects. Good to know:

  • FeedbackFruits was integrated with their Canvas environment. They are glad to share their experience with UT in the future.
  • TU/e uses URKUND as the plagiarism checking tool.
  •  TU/e uses CIRRUS as the digital testing tool.

Overall, the conference is inspiring and gives a different mindset. The conference is organized by TU/e and some high tech companies such as ASML and Philips.  Highly recommended for our colleagues.


  1. Wytze Koopal

    Thanks for sharing, Linlin!
    The idea of providing opportunities to fit learning into daily workflow really resonates with me. This is what we would call electronic performance support systems (EPSS), isn't it? This is not something new for those that have been working in instructional technology for a while. But I would say that in the present days the technology really can live up to the expectations.
    Want to read more on electronic support systems?

    Paul Van Schaik, Robert Pearson & Philip Barker (2010) Designing Electronic Performance Support Systems to Facilitate Learning, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 39:4, 289-306, DOI: 10.1080/13558000210161043
    Barry Raybould (2006) Making a Case for EPSS, Innovations in Education and Training International, 32:1, 65-69, DOI: 10.1080/1355800950320109