Past ICELW Keynote Speakers

Check out the ICELW keynote speakers from previous years! Select a year to see the keynotes:


ICELW 2018 Keynote Speakers

ICELW 2018 featured Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., noted expert on learning, popular author, and the creator of the world's most popular MOOC; plus game, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality expert Shawn Patton as our 2018 keynote speakers. More information is below!


Barbara Oakley, Ph.D.

Professor, Oakland University

Rochester, Michigan, USA

Talk: Learning How to Learn: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the World’s Most Popular MOOC


In this talk, Dr. Barbara Oakley reveals the secrets behind the construction of the world’s most popular MOOC, the two-million-student Learning How to Learn (UCSD-Coursera). A key element of the success of Learning How to Learn is that production of the course takes advantage of the very principles of learning that are being taught. Simple visuals, often developed in PowerPoint, allow students to easily “chunk” key ideas. Bottom-up attentional mechanisms keep people riveted to the screen; subtle use of the brain’s different learning modes allows stories to pop into insights. Use of metaphor—a key element of neural reuse theory—allows students to quickly grasp new ideas. Unexpected humor helps maintain interest. Wherever practicable, theory is instantiated with personal story.Nothing has changed in how we learn, not fundamentally.

This presentation will review these and other key elements of learning and how these factors were integrated in to create a great learning experience.

About Dr. Barbara Oakley
Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; the Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster University; and Coursera’s inaugural “Innovation Instructor.” Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. Dr. Oakley’s research has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the American Society of Engineering Education’s Chester F. Carlson Award for technical innovation in engineering education. Together with Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, she co-teaches Coursera – UC San Diego’s “Learning How to Learn,” the world’s most popular massive open online course with over two million registered students. Barb is a New York Times best-selling author—her upcoming book Learning How to Learn is geared to give kids aged ten on up neuroscientific tools to help their learning.


Shawn Patton

Principal Designer, Schell Games

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Talk: The New Virtual Reality (VR) - From Entertainment to Education


Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), 3 Degrees of Freedom (DOF), 6DOF, retinal display, holographic waveguides...the only thing evolving faster than VR technology is the dictionary of terms to describe it. Join Shawn Patton, Principal Designer at Schell Games, as he breaks down the current state of the VR/AR industry and outlines where he thinks it could take us. How can the immersion and presence afforded by VR foster a learning-by-doing atmosphere? The potential of this new technology is immense, but it is not without its drawbacks. Shawn will outline the strengths and weaknesses of VR/AR for training and education.

About Shawn Patton
After a brief stint at Walt Disney Imagineering, Shawn joined Schell Games where he has been designing and directing projects for the past 14 years. Most recently he was Design Director on the VR escape-the-room game "I Expect You to Die" and Project Director on "Water Bears VR." In the past Shawn has worked on a myriad of projects from online games, offline toys, in-person theme park attractions, transformational worlds, and pure mobile fun for kids through adults. He holds a B.S. in computer science from Rutgers University and completed further study at Carnegie Mellon University.