L&D: Keynote Speakers

We are happy to introduce you to …

Mr. Stefaan Van Hooydonk

Transformational Corporate Learning in the 21st century: Case Philips (keynote on Tuesday November 25)


Picture Stefaan Van Hooydonck kopie 2Stefaan van Hooydonk is the Dean of Philips Lighting University and CLO of Philips Lighting. The Philips Lighting University was created September 2010 as an answer to drive Philips Lighting towards a 21st century learning organization for internal employees as well as its entire ecosystem of partners and end-users. To achieve this, Stefaan has been blending formal and informal learning, has been deployed an output driven learning strategy and has been widely adopting digital learning methodologies in support of a ‘speed to knowledge’ learning strategy. Next to his role at Philips lighting, Stefaan has recently also taken on all sales and marketing learning responsibility for the entire Philips group.

Stefaan has been the driving force in the setting up and running of innovative corporate universities for Nokia, Agfa Healthcare and now Philips. Prior to his move to corporate universities, he set up the executive education arm of China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. After initial degrees in Asian knowledge and Economics, Stefaan started his career in investment consulting. Having worked and lived in France, Hong Kong, China and Finland, he lives now in Belgium. Stefaan speaks regularly at international events on topics such as learning innovation, customer learning, the role of the CLO in the 21st century and learning strategy.


The proliferation of technology over the last 20 years has opened tremendous opportunities for different approaches to learning. While formal classroom training was mainstream until recently, it has become just one of the many learning methods we have at our disposal. Stefaan will guide us through a number of cases how different learning paradigms can lead to different approaches. To name a few:

  • Learning outcomes is more important than input i.e. what people can prove in terms of skills or knowledge is more important than the learning journey itself. The role of the learning group / corporate university is to ‘set the bar’ by which people can prove that they have the knowledge / skills to pass. How people prepare themselves should be left to the individual learners with virtually no guidance from the center
  • Informal learning i.e. what people learn in collaboration with other or what they learn on the job constitutes about 90% of what they need to perform in a professional setting. The remaining 10% is formal learning such as classroom training, e-learning etc. The challenge / trick for any company is how to structure informal learning to the benefit of the organization. Informal learning can take the shape of Knowledge management initiatives; communities of practice; master – apprenticeship programs; video blogging etc
  • Transformational learning: all learning which is not helping an organization with it strategic objectives is tactical in nature. The focus of any corporate learning group should be to shift its focus from tactical learning to strategic / transformational learning.
  • Tapping in to digital opportunities: the world of mobile, social media, gaming, blogging, wikis, have clear implications for instructional design and learning methodology and can be easily be used to the benefit of organizational learning


Prof. dr. Stephen Billett, Griffith University, Australia

Exploiting the potential of workplaces as learning environments for initial and ongoing occupational development  (keynote on Wednesday November 26)


Stephen Billett Picture

Dr Stephen Billett is Professor of Adult and Vocational Education in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia and also an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He has worked as a vocational educator, educational administrator, teacher educator, professional development practitioner and policy developer within the Australian vocational education system and as a teacher and researcher at Griffith University. Since 1992, he has researched learning through and for work and has published widely in the fields of vocational learning, workplace learning and conceptual accounts of learning for vocational purposes. He was a Fulbright Professional Scholar in 1999. His sole authored books include Learning through work: Strategies for effective practice (Allen and Unwin 2001); Work, change and workers (Springer 2006) Vocational Education (Springer 2011) and edited books Work, Subjectivity and Learning (Springer, 2006) Emerging Perspectives of Work and Learning (Sense 2008), Learning through practice (Springer 2010), Promoting professional learning (Springer 2011) and Experiences of school transitions: Policies, practice and participants (Springer 2012). He is currently preparing a manuscript entitled the Integration of Practice-based Learning in Higher Education Programs. He is the founding and Editor in Chief of Vocations and learning: Studies in vocational and professional education (Springer) and lead editor of the book series Professional and practice-based learning (Springer) and lead editor for the forthcoming International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning with colleagues from Germany. He was awarded a 2009-2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) National Teaching Fellowship that identified principles and practices to effectively integrate learning experiences in practice and academic settings. In June 2011, he commenced a four-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship on learning through practice, which aims to develop a curriculum and pedagogy of practice. In August 2013 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Jyväskylä University (Finland) for his contributions to educational science.


Learning through work has been the single most central means through which occupational competence has been initially developed and extended across human history. Moreover, much, if not most of the innovations in occupational practices have also arisen through workplace activities across that time. So, humanity, cultures and societies have been well served by the learning that has occurred in the circumstances of work occupations are practised. This presentation draws upon historical and cultural perspectives to augment current understandings about the potential of workplaces as learning environments that arise from social constructivist accounts to set out not only the potential for workplaces as learning environments but also to explain how learning arises through them. So, the first half of the presentation sets out the bases by which workplace settings have apparently been successful across human history and to date. Following this, the second half then proposes three sets of considerations for how this potential can be exploited in contemporary times and for realising current and emerging work requirements, and supporting individuals’ vocational goals. These considerations are: i) practice curriculum and ii) pedagogies, and iii) workers’ personal epistemologies. These three premises are then discussed in terms of how they might be enacted in workplace settings, and also can be effectively integrated or reconciled with experiences in educational institutions. So implications will be advanced for those seeking to improve learning outcomes in tertiary educational institutions as well as those principally concerned to promote learning in work settings, for both initial occupational preparation and ongoing development across working life, and as occupational and workplace requirements change.

Please click here to read the full text related to the keynote speech by Prof. Stephen Billett.

The parallel sub programme on Education & Learning (25-28 November) has also scheduled 4 
keynote speakers from different contexts and with specific interest in themes that may be
relevant to the EAPRIL sub community of Learning & Development. More information on these 
4 keynote speakers can be found here on the specific page of this sub community.