Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning

Improving assessment practices in higher education

Since our foundation in 2015, CRADLE has become a world-renowned centre for higher education research. We use cross-cutting approaches, including innovative methodological and theoretical approaches and knowledge transition. We collaborate with Deakin faculties and divisions and also work with a range of industry partners and international organisations. A competitive fellowship program, honorary appointments and doctoral students are key contributors to the centre.

Our research areas

CRADLE is known for its cutting-edge research in higher education which is focused on three broad and intersecting themes. We present our research through our monthly seminars and our annual international symposium.

Learn more about our research

Assessing for learning

We examine how learning is valued and assessed and the significance of what is represented – for students, educators, employers and the broader community. This includes the interplay between learning and assessment design and the authenticity and relevance of representations of achievements.

Learning in a digital world

The digital world is now part of the fabric of society, and almost all aspects of higher and workplace learning are mediated by technology. Our research explores the interrelationships between people, technology and the social settings of learning and teaching.

Learning through work

Our research spans work-integrated learning at university and continuing education within workplaces with a focus on developing assessment that engages learners in building their capabilities and identities. We seek to understand and promote effective feedback cultures and feedback literacy to assist transitions to the workplace.

Partner with us

We have established working relationships with various local and international institutes and academics. These partnerships and Honorary Appointments strengthen our program of collaborative research in assessment and digital learning.

Our world-leading research team investigates improvements in higher education assessment in the context of a rapidly expanding digital environment, enhancing the learning experience for all.

Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud

Foundation Director, CRADLE

Our fellowships

We also undertake research in collaboration with academic colleagues from all faculties at Deakin and have regular calls for CRADLE fellows. Our fellowships are for staff to foster the development of relevant research expertise and support excellent practice in assessment and digital learning at Deakin.

Learn more about our fellowships

Research with us

Enrol to complete a PhD with CRADLE. You can study a PhD under one of our research themes to help improve learning in higher and professional education. As a CRADLE student you will have access to our world-class research team.

Learn more about researching with us

Featured projects

Our partnerships with institutes and academics allow us to deliver research with impact. We lead bold initiatives that seek improvements in higher education assessment in the context of a rapidly expanding digital environment.

Feedback literacy for effective learning at university and beyond

Feedback literacy for effective learning at university and beyond

Professor Phill Dawson is leading an international team that has been awarded ARC Discovery Project 2023 funding to examine how learners can be equipped to make the most of feedback. The project aims to develop ‘feedback literacy’ that helps learners deal with diverse feedback encounters in their future study and work lives, regardless of whether these encounters are positive or negative.

How do assessment adjustments impact inclusion?

How do assessment adjustments impact inclusion?

Dr Joanna Tai and her CRADLE colleagues received NCSEHE funding to investigate how to make assessments more inclusive. Timed assessments can be problematic for students with disabilities. This project seeks to understand the broader context of, and barriers and enablers to, inclusive assessment design. Using staff and student voices, the project informed an inclusive assessment framework and recommendations for policy and practice.

Our researchers

Led by Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud and Professor Phillip Dawson, CRADLE’s team of researchers have wide-ranging research interests and expertise in the areas of assessment in higher education, digital learning and feedback. Our team have produced several books, guides and journal articles.

Explore our publications

Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud

Professor David Boud is Co-Director of CRADLE. David is Australia’s most internationally renowned educational researcher in higher education. He is a global leader in the fields of higher education, workplace learning and assessment and feedback.

Professor Phillip Dawson

Professor Phillip (Phill) Dawson is Co-Director of CRADLE. Phill researches assessment in higher education, focusing on feedback and cheating, predominantly in digital learning contexts. His book Defending Assessment Security in a Digital World explores how cheating is changing and what educators can do about it.

Professor Margaret Bearman

Professor Margaret Bearman’s interests are broad ranging and include assessment in university education, feedback in healthcare contexts, simulation and learning in a digital world. Recognition for her work includes Program Innovation awards from the Australian Office of Learning and Teaching and Simulation Australasia.

Dr Joanna Tai

Dr Joanna Tai’s research interests include student perspectives on learning and assessment from university to the workplace, peer-assisted learning, feedback, assessment literacy, developing capacity for evaluative judgement and research synthesis.

Dr Helen Walker

Dr Helen Walker is CRADLE’s Research Manager. Helen assists the team with their research and manages CRADLE’s popular seminar series, international symposium and publications.

Contact us

Stay up-to-date with the latest research news and seminars by subscribing to our blog or following us on Twitter and YouTube. Have a question? Get in touch with our Research Manager, Dr Helen Walker.

+61 3 9244 5448