Challenges in sustaining technology enhanced learning: Recruitment, employment and retention of learning designers in Australian universities


  • Christine Slade
  • Dominic McGrath
  • Ruth Greenaway
  • Jeffrey Parker



Learning designer, directors, recruitment, employment, retention, career progression


Universities require learning designers with creative digital experience and significant knowledge of educational theory and practice to meet institutional teaching and learning strategic priorities. Little is known about how best to attract and retain learning designers or alternatively, to assist learning designers navigate their career pathways in higher education. In response to these needs, this study aimed to provide a snapshot of current learning design practices across Australian universities; to document relevant skills, knowledge, education and professional background, role types and employment conditions, challenges for directors, and to identify areas for future attention. The researchers used two separate online surveys to target 1) directors of central teaching and learning units and 2) learning designers employed in universities. The results are useful as a means to sustain and improve practice through evidence-based decision-making in the conceptualisation of learning designer positions, the management and retention of learning design staff, and to assist learning designers in their career choices.