John Willison

Dr John Willison

Senior Lecturer

School of Education

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr John Willison has twenty five years of experience in formal education, and throughout that time has been most enthralled in how to help students to engage in research-based learning, beginning with Year 8 classes, where he strived to make science laboratories hands-on and minds-on. Dr Willison found that this necessitated a raft of scaffolding and literacy strategies, and resulted in the development of resources called writE Science (writing and reading integrated with talking about experiments). As Dr Willison completed his PhD in Science Education he coordinated an Early Childhood and Primary Science course in a Teacher Education program, then subsequently found himself at the University of Adelaide as the Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. This shift to students who were academics from all disciplines caused Dr Willison to broaden his research agenda to search for something in common across disciplines: a framework representing how all educators may facilitate their students’ research skills.
In collaboration, Dr Willison developed early versions of the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework and colleagues in First Year Human Biology began to trial the RSD, followed by other courses in various contexts showing positive outcomes for students. This success inspired Dr Willison to lead two five-university ALTC Innovation and Development projects, one for course-level implementation of RSD (2007-2009) and the other for program-level implementation (2011-2013). These projects and new AQF 9 research requirements led to demand for RSD to inform coursework Masters programs and Dr Willison held a National Teaching Fellowship on this theme 2014-2015. As the use of the RSD escalates nationally and internationally, he is currently keen to bring the RSD ‘full-circle’ and begin to influence Faculties of Education through High Schools’ use of the RSD, as well as consolidate RSD use in undergraduate, Masters and PhD studies across all disciplines. This is the focus of the National Senior Teaching Fellowship he holds from the Australian Government's Department of Education and Training.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Perspectives on innovative teaching and learning: A qualitative study modeling innovation within contemporary learning environments Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Kristy Rose Davis
    2023 Principal Supervisor Pre-service teachers' acceptance and use of AI-assisted technology in blended learning environments: A mixed-method study using an extended model of UTAUT Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Wai Maung
    2023 Principal Supervisor Secondary Student Connectedness to Nature in Australian Schools: Assessing the Impact of Environmental Education Programs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Gulsah Yildirim Kirbaci
    2023 Co-Supervisor Teacher professional development, cognitive load and the use of schema to improve leadership development. Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Mr Glyn Roberts
    2022 Principal Supervisor An investigation of facilitating critical thinking in English language classes when speaking and listening are practised in an Indonesian senior high school Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ricky Fernandes
    2022 Principal Supervisor Science students’ perceptions of assessment: to what extent can program-oriented assessment design promote and encourage self-regulated lifelong learning in Science students? Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Ms Natalia Zarina
    2018 Principal Supervisor Following VET Students' Progress: A Longitudinal Study Investigating Students' Experiences and Outcomes of Registered Training Organisation Support and Influence Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Allyson Kaye Dutschke
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Primary Teachers’ Knowledge of Inquiry-Based Learning and Learner Autonomy in Science Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Nemwel Nyakenyanya Aming'a
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor English Language Learner Autonomy in the Vietnamese Higher Education Context: Enabling Factors and Barriers Arising from Assessment Practice Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Ha Thi Ngoc Tran
    2014 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Accelerating Academic Literacy Development: Issues, Possibilities and Challenges for Integrating Scholarly Writing Development into Mainstream Curriculum in Australian Higher Education Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Ursula McGowan
    2012 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Valid Measurement of Laboratory Learning Experience Quality from the Student Perspective Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Samuel James Priest
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83133219
  • Email: john.willison@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83133604
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Nexus 10, floor 8
  • Org Unit: School of Education

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