Skip to main content
successful learning conference 2023

Successful Learning Conference 2023

Transforming Instruction
This popular annual conference focuses on issues and developments in the provision of quality education for students K–12, in particular, for students whom teachers are providing adjustments.

Please note that the Successful Learning Conference 2023 will be delivered in hybrid mode. Participants may choose at registration to attend in person at The University of Sydney, or virtually by Zoom. In-person attendance has been limited to 45 people only, and places will be allocated on a first-in-first-served basis.

This annual conference focuses on issues and developments in the provision of quality education for students K–12, in particular, for students whom teachers are providing adjustments. In 2023, we will be focusing on implementation of educational practices that are inclusive of students with a range of educational, social and emotional needs. The conference will engage with research outcomes that examine and demonstrate education practices that can be used with fidelity, and professional wisdom, across differing curriculum areas, and year levels.

Specific focus will be given to literacy and numeracy, communication and curriculum access, assessment and decision-making, behaviour and social skills, and technology.

Presentations and workshops will be given by teachers, consultants, community-based personnel and academics, from metropolitan and rural locations in NSW, interstate and overseas.


Participants may attend either the Conference or Masterclass as stand-alone events; both days (at a discounted price) or as part of the Educational Studies (Learning Support) Program, which comprises both days plus five additional workshops held on Thursday evenings (4.30–7.30pm) in July, August and September. Register to attend the days and modes of your choice by clicking on the applicable "Register" link in the table below:

Registration links and prices

  Fee ($)* In-person† Online by Zoom
Monday (Conference), June 26 only 297 Register Register
Tuesday (Masterclass), June 27 only 297 Not offered in person Register
Conference + Masterclass
(June 26 and 27)
550 Register Register
Educational Studies (Learning Support) Program
[Conference + Masterclass + 5 x workshops]
1500 Register Register

* Fees and registration are per person and are GST inclusive.

† The in-person option for the combination registrations in the table above refers only to the Conference Day, June 26. No in-person option is available for the Masterclass on June 27 or the Educational Studies (Learning Support) workshops. The capacity of the in-person attendance on June 26 is 45 registrants. In-person attendance will be held in the Education Building at The University of Sydney.


Since its inception, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has been a framework to disrupt inequities and guide the design of inclusive learning environments. Educators committed to this transformational work must continually reflect on their own beliefs and practices as they work to build learning environments that address existing learner variability and eliminate barriers to instruction.

In this session, we will explore the foundations of the UDL framework, name and define learner variability and explore the UDL guidelines as a lens for designing inclusive and equitable learning environments. This keynote will challenge participants to consider how the UDL framework could be used to design learning experiences that move theory into practice; this collective commitment to inclusivity must remain at the heart of consideration in our work to transform instructional environments.

Dr Liz Berquist

Liz Berquist, Executive Director, All In! Education; and Director of Employee Training and Development, Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), Maryland US.

Liz Berquist has almost 25 years of experience in education, ranging from pre-kindergarten to adult, and has supported educators in the US and internationally. During her career she has served as a middle- and high-school teacher, curriculum-and-instruction staff member, Director of Professional Learning, and Professor of Special Education. She holds a BA in American Studies and History, a master's degree in special education and a doctoral degree in instructional technology. She is certified in social studies, special education and has Administrator I and II endorsement.

Dr Berquist is the Director of Training and Development for the Baltimore County Public School District, the 25th largest system in the US. She is an internationally recognised expert in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and is the co-author of Your UDL Journey: A Systems Approach to Transforming Instruction (2020) and the editor and author of Universal Design for Learning: From Exploration to Integration (2017). Dr Berquist travelled internationally for Massachusetts's Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) working with school districts and institutes of higher education that had a focus on implementation science, coaching, and professional learning communities. She has been a frequent presenter at national conferences and was an invited facilitator for the Harvard Graduate School of Education Programs in Professional Education Summer UDL Institute. Dr Berquist has served as a member of the UDL Implementation and Research Network Board of Advisors and the CAST Professional Learning Advisory Council. She is featured in the UDL Series Implementation video, produced by the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.

Dr Berquist began her career in BCPS, first as a classroom teacher and then as a central office staff member and returned to BCPS in 2015 after spending eight years as a faculty member in the Department of Special Education at Towson University in Maryland. She continues to serve as doctoral faculty in the Department of Instructional Technology and Literacy. During her time at Towson University, Dr Berquist worked with preservice and in-service educators and taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. Her research focused on Universal Design for Learning, conceptual change, faculty professional development, and enhancing university-school partnerships in professional development schools. Dr Berquist was responsible for the design and administration of the multi-year Universal Design for Learning Professional Development Network, a campus-wide, multidisciplinary project that brought faculty from many colleges together, with the goal to build capacity in the design and delivery of courses that applied UDL to instruction. This work is featured in the text Transforming Higher Ed Through UDL: An International Perspective (Routledge Press).

Feature presentations

How can teachers truly reach all students in inclusive settings? One of the challenges in inclusive education is meeting the wide and diverse range of needs that exist in a classroom. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that helps educators design learning environments and experiences to do just that. In this workshop participants will examine how UDL can help educators rethink how teachers present information; how students are provided with options of how to demonstrate their learning; and how all sides can connect and engage with the material and with one another. Workshop material will explore the shift in mindset and changes to practice that can help make learning accessible to all students, regardless of learning need or disability label. Participants will be shown how removing barriers to learning and offering meaningful choice can make learning flexible, responsive, and relevant for neurodivergent students, students with a range of disabilities, and ultimately all students in all classrooms.

The aim of the workshop is to teach participants how to:

  • explain the implications of learner variability for teaching in the inclusive classroom
  • identify common barriers to learning in traditional teaching and offer ideas of how to remove them
  • describe and give examples of the three principles of Universal Design for Learning: multiple means of engagement; representation; and action and expression
  • design learning experiences that meet the needs of a range of learners

Dr Aaron Lanou

Aaron Lanou, , Inclusive Education Consultant, Aaron Lanou Consulting, LLC, US.

Aaron Lanou is an inclusive-education consultant supporting schools and organisations to reach all students with strengths-based practices. He coaches educators and others to teach and support autistic and other students with a variety of academic, executive functioning, and social support needs. A member of Carol Gray’s Team Social Stories, Aaron provides Social Stories workshops and collaborates with Carol and the team to continually update and refine the Social Stories philosophy and approach.

Through the lens of UDL, Aaron works with educators to consider the student in the context, examining the environment, demands, and expectations as the starting point for helping students to be successful. He specialises in helping educators to use clear and purposeful visual supports, focused graphic organisers, and clarity in instruction based on principles of learning and memory, as well as a range of executive functioning supports and other scaffolds. Committed to centering disabled perspectives, Aaron has learned from, and alongside his students with disabilities, and has collaborated frequently with autistic presenters.

Previously, Aaron was Director of Professional Development and Executive Director of the ASD Nest Support Project at New York University. Aaron led the nation’s largest inclusion program for autistic students, the New York City Department of Education’s ASD Nest Program. He has been adjunct faculty at Hunter College and New York University, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on instructional methods for students with learning disabilities and teaching students with complex support needs.

Cultural diversity and its differences occur due to age, gender, class, religion, sexuality, ability, language, indigeneity and so many other areas. As educators, we can be challenged with the meaningful inclusion of it all. This presentation will explore the importance of practising the concept of cultural humility, promoting scope for safe and sustainable engagement across educational spaces. The focus will be to explore the concept of cultural diversity and its differences and how such areas of difference can be repositioned as a source of celebration, creating safe and sustainable engagement in education for all. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the practical ways in which educators can create collegial, collective, and collaborative approaches to supporting cultural diversity and its differences across their professional practices.

Professor Jioji Ravulo

Jioji Ravulo, Professor and Chair of Social Work and Policy Studies, Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney.
Professor Jioji Ravulo is the Professor and Chair of Social Work and Policy Studies in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. His research, writing and areas of interest include mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs, youth development, marginality and decoloniality. He has been involved and invited to author more than 70 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly book chapters, research reports, and opinion pieces.

Based on Rouse’s framework (2008), the presenters will consider how three key aspects of inclusive practice have been implemented in their home country of Scotland: the personal and professional stance (heart); the policy framework and teacher knowledge (head); and the actual pedagogical practice (hands). They will show how classroom practitioners might bring these aspects together to move forward with inclusive practice in their own settings.

  • 'The heart' – practitioners' thoughts about inclusion and inclusive practice have been well-researched internationally. In Scotland, the teaching standards focus on values and positionality and inclusion.
  • 'The head' – the knowledge of policies, the context and inclusive pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. In Scotland, the national legislation is based on principles of inclusive curriculum design and teaching, such as planning the curriculum with relevance to the learners in a specific context; appropriate challenge and enjoyment, personalisation, and choice; and the requirement to meet the needs of all learners.
  • 'The ‘hands’ – for inclusive practice to take place, practitioners need to:
    • believe they can and should do it, and to have the knowledge to implement inclusive practices
    • have the opportunity to critically reflect on their contexts and practices (for example, by collaborating with others, and engaging in practitioner enquiry and with pupil voice).

Presentation attendees will be given the opportunity to engage with the Scottish National Framework for Inclusion which, through a set of questions, encourages educators to critically reflect on their personal and professional stances as well as on their pedagogical practices. The presenters will share this framework as part of their argument that for inclusive practice to succeed, practitioners must consider the big questions surrounding education, diversity, and inclusion. Attendees will be given the chance to examine the ideas of 'heart', 'head', and 'hands' in relation to their own contexts.

Dr Ines Alves

Ines Alves, Senior Lecturer in Inclusive Education, School of Education, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Ines Alves is a Senior Lecturer in Inclusive Education at the School of Education of the University of Glasgow where she leads the MEd in Inclusive Education: Research, Policy and Practice. She is a co-convenor for the European Educational Research Association Network on Inclusive Education. Dr Alves developed a Massive Online Open Course to teach Diversity and Inclusion in Education: She has a PhD in Education, from The University of Manchester, UK, which focused on Individualised Educational Planning in England and Portugal; an MA in Special Education (Inclusion and Disability Studies), and an MA in Language, Ethnicity and Education.

Dr Alves is a qualified teacher and has worked as a consultant for the Portuguese Ministry of Education collaborating with schools in disadvantaged areas within an area-based intervention (TEIP). Her research interests are Inclusive Education, Equity and Social Justice, Human Rights and Disability, Teacher Education for Inclusion and in the conceptualisations of diversity and difference within educational settings.

Dr Lauren Boath

Lauren Boath, Senior Lecturer in Education (Physics), School of Education, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Lauren Boath has worked in teaching, teacher education and higher education in Scotland for more than 25 years. She began working in higher education as a relatively new graduate in physics, where her interest in inclusion and inclusive practice developed through the opportunities to work in widening access projects, including the ‘University for Children & Communities’ project based at the University of Aberdeen.
Having qualified as a teacher of physics and science for 12–18 year olds, Dr Boath maintained her focus on meeting the needs of all, extending her interests to supporting science-learning initiatives in the primary-education sector. Her doctoral thesis from Trinity College, University of Dublin in Ireland, awarded in 2019, explored children’s experiences and aspirations of science learning beyond the teacher-led, using a UNCRC children’s rights-based approach to voice. Working with children aged 8–11 as her co-researchers, Dr Boath’s work includes more than 1000 participants aged between 8 and 14 years.

After gaining experience in the informal science learning sector and while working as a development officer with a remit for 3–18 science and STEM for Education Scotland (an executive agency of Scottish Government with responsibility for quality and improvement in education), Dr Boath joined teacher education at the University of Dundee. In 2020, she moved to the University of Glasgow as a Senior Lecturer in Science Education (Physics). She is a member of the Scottish Universities Inclusion Group, and represents Glasgow University's School of Education on the Scottish Council of Deans. Dr Boath's research interests are initial teacher education, supporting practitioner inquiry in schools, and understanding ‘preparedness’ for teaching in diverse classroom settings.


Confirmed topics will be available shortly.  Please check back for updates.

Keynote speaker

Dr Liz Berquist
Executive Director, All In! Education, and Director of Employee Training and Development, Baltimore County Public Schools


Professor David Evans

Academic coordinator/presenter

Rachel Payne

Project coordinator