Seasons Wishes from Practera

On behalf of our team, we hope you and your families have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

We’re ending the year energized and with deep gratitude you, our customers and partners. With your support, we’ve been able to help tens of thousands of students and industry partners have positive and life-changing professional learning experiences. Some stories we’re really proud of include:

  • From intern to champion – Sharon Roy joined Practera as an intern, started working part time while finishing her degree and now is leading our first major program with Western Sydney University… and through all this had time to win the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in University Engagement and Sustainability award!
  • Exploring the digital frontier – while running Australia’s largest multi-state business projects program we had time for some fun – letting our students try out the experimental Practera Virtual Reality app, designed to directly improve their professional presentation skills. We’re really excited by the way our technology can accelerate the development of skills in the real and virtual world!
  • Delivered new Practera experiences for Universities, Businesses & Governments across the experiential learning spectrum – below are just a few;
    • Projects programs for 4 Australian state Governments, 20 Universities and hundreds of client organisations
    • A whole of University ideas challenge
    • An MBA capstone project app for a top Business School
    • An e-portfolio / logbook solution for a vocational college
    • Health placements program for a US University
    • Global trade accelerator virtual internship program
    • Deep tech accelerator support app
    • Employability skills app for an Indian engineering college
    • A work integrated learning platform for a regional education consortium
  • Presented our research and customer success case studies at 12 conferences in Australia and the US with partners including Boston University, RMIT Vietnam, the University of Sydney and UNSW
  • Won the 2018 International Education Awards for best business & community program for the Global Scope Business Projects network we created for the NSW Government.
  • Won an Amazon / Edu thingy in the US
  • Launched our Practera app mobile platform and migrated most customers and users to it
  • Entered the international phase of our patent and progressed research partnership in learning analytics, AI and data security
  • Grown our team substantially, opened our Boston office in the US, and brought on some amazing, talented people

Practera Product Update – November 2018

Better Feedback Loops for Experiential Learning

We learn best from experience. And an integral part of this experiential learning is based around feedback. Without frequent feedback, learning doesn’t happen.

That’s why we have focused on the robust reflective learning and feedback cycle and are happy to share with you the outcomes today. Providing a new way to quickly and easily provide feedback increases the opportunities for better learning outcomes for students, higher quality project deliverables for mentors and clients and consequentially higher participant satisfaction benefitting educators – a classic win-win-win situation!

And as always: all of the new features are available immediately and FOR FREE to all Practera customers.



A brand new Mentor app experience.

All Practera Mentors can now access the mobile Practera interface to progress through their personalised content, chat with their teams, review team deliverables and provide feedback – anywhere, anytime! Get your mentors to access with their usual login today!

Practera's Interface


Hi Mentor! – Hello Student! – In app chat.

Real-time communication between the project team members has never been easier! With instant chat, all participants can now reach out to each other and communicate during their program. No need for students to try and convince a mentor to become their Facebook friend anymore. #collaboration+1

Business Projects Program


Always know what needs attention.

Program participants will love Practera’s latest dashboard widget. Never miss a new feedback item or a chat message again – all the important things are now shown on the dashboard and indicated with eye catching badges!

Give a feedback


Thank you, Mentors!

Feedback is fundamental to experiential learning – and we want our mentors to feel most appreciated! That is why Students are now able to rank the feedback helpfulness and add a “Thank you!” note to their reviewers after they have read the feedback. Automated emails to the reviewers with all the thank you notes arrive every Friday, spreading positivity for the weekend!

Practera Messages


SMS to the rescue!

Practera can now send SMS notifications for the most important actions. Whether unlocking new content, receiving a chat message, being assigned to review a submission or receiving new feedback – SMS notifications come straight to the phone (if the phone number is provided).

SMS notifications


More personal, more adaptive, more relevant!

With a new way to reveal content based on a specific answer to an assessment question, Mentor feedback can now enable adaptive learning pathways.

What’s next?

Get ready for the release of our second version of the app in January. Faster loading, better navigation and a whole lot of gamification to drive even more engagement.

We hope you are as excited about all these new features as we are! Let us know what you think by sending your thoughts to

Edtech startup rebrands around its Practera platform to take technology to the world

Today our company Intersective is marking a new phase of growth with a change of our primary company brand – from Intersective, to Practera.

This shift recognises the centrality of our Practera platform to our mission of powering a world of experiential learning. Practera is gaining increasing recognition as a leading experiential learning platform by educators around the world – and we want to support that.

For those of you who know us as Intersective – we’d like to introduce you to Practera and share a little bit about why we’re making the shift.

We’ve built Practera to power experiential learning. Experiential learning helps learners bridge the gap between the knowledge they learn, and the skills they need to succeed.

Experiential learning is an old and fundamental concept – think of a medieval apprentice learning from a more experienced guildmaster – but is becoming more important than ever. As technology changes the future of work faster, people need to retrain and reskill continually to stay relevant. Universities and employers are increasingly recognising the demand to deliver experiential learning to learners more systematically.

This requires delivering more experiential learning programs – like professional placements, team projects, accelerators, internships, mentoring and skills credentialing. However the problem is that these programs are actually very complex and costly to manage and scale.

Practera is a platform that enables educators to easily build and deliver their own branded apps to support students, mentors and educators collaborate effectively on these types of programs. Practera helps structure student and mentor collaboration around real world experiences, improve learning outcomes, and generate better data which makes program managers more efficient.

As Intersective, we’ve developed Practera through our own experiential learning. Over 5 years, we have worked at the coalface with our customers to understand the challenges of delivering high quality programs at larger scale. We identified areas where technology could help overcome barriers and tested solutions in the field. Through those programs, tens of thousands of students from more than half of Australian Universities have built real world skills in STEM, innovation, Asia business and teamwork – and these continue with Practera at the core.

The learnings of Intersective have now literally been coded into Practera. It is only through platform technology that we can enable our customers on a global basis to deliver successful experiential learning outcomes for their students and mentors. This is a global challenge – there are some 2 billion knowledge economy learners in Higher Education and the workforce who need more and better experiential learning.

Thank you to all those customers, partners and the amazing team that have helped us on the journey. We look forward to sharing the success Practera – the company and the platform – will deliver for you in the future.

If you’d like to know what Practera can do for you – please ask us for a free demo.

Wes Sonnenreich & Beau Leese, Co-CEO’s & Co-Founders

Practera wins NSW Government Award for Digital Work Experience Network for international students

Today Practera (formerly Intersective) has won the International Student Community and Business Engagement Award for 2018 for the NSW Global Scope Program at the NSW International Student Awards at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

The Award was presented to Program Manager Alison Li, herself a former international student from China, by Minister Niall Blair for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, and Minister for Trade and Industry.

NSW Global Scope is making a difference to the NSW International student experience – developing professional skills and enhancing connectedness. Over 3 years, NSW Global Scope has connected more than 1500 international students from 7 NSW Universities with more than 150 organisations to undertake 3-week business projects.

Students work in teams of 5 to address a business problem with a Global angle with a client from a Government, Business or Community organisations, with coaching from a mentor. Intersective’s Practera platform manages collaboration and learning at scale, tracks performance and identifies issues in real-time.

Director International Trade at NSW Department of Industry, Peter Mackey said “The Global Scope program has been a resounding success with great outcomes for hundreds of international students and project providers in Government, Business and Community.

Students engage through an app built on Intersective’s Practera experiential learning platform to structure student, client and educator collaboration. Tony Ren, UNSW Masters of Commerce student and Global Scope Team Lead, said “the Practera app helped our team plan and track the performance of our project for the City Of Sydney. It provides a clear and structured timeline and notifications that indicate what should be happening each week. Practera helped us deliver a great outcome for our client!

Global Scope has been supported by many partners including EY, Allianz, Westpac, CSIRO, NSW Police, Departments of Health, Planning & Environment, Transport, the Export Council of Australia and many startups and community organisations. Universities have included the Universities of New South Wales, Sydney, Newcastle and New England, Wollongong, UTS, ACU and Western Sydney University.

In the most recent cohort recently completed, 100% of students and 80% of client mentors believed the students improved their employability skills and network, and 90% of both students and clients would recommend participation to a peer. “During the project process, I worked with peers from other countries. Not only did I make friends with them, I also learned about other people’s work attitudes and ways of doing things.” –  Chen from the University of Sydney

In 2017, the program demonstrated it’s flexibility by being extend to regional Universities to be managed locally. Peter Mackey said, “One of Study NSW’s priorities is to increase the attractiveness of regional NSW as a study destination for international students. International students in regional areas make up more than 8% of total enrolments and make a significant local economic and social contribution to their communities. We were excited to be able to support the adaptation of the Global Scope projects model to manage the program locally.”

The Central Coast Regional Cluster connected 20 students from the University of Newcastle on projects which including advising the Police on youth and community engagement, contributing to a regional farm to plate initiative and advising the health department with cost reduction strategies.”

Central Coast Health Strategic Recruitment Manager Jennie McGhie said “I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the Global Scope program.  The team at Intersective have designed a program that provided us with an opportunity to utilise the talent and innovative ideas of students that are a part of our local community. The final projects delivered by the students  far surpassed my expectations.  It was a simply brilliant experience and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

University of Newcastle student Yeow Khoon Pua said “Global Scope helped me be more aware of the way I handle surprises and disagreements. In our first meeting, our mentor mentioned something which resonated. She said that in many cases, differences between people are at an individual level, but we perceive them to be cultural. In reality, we are just as likely to work well with many people across any cultures or countries. That’s so true.

Practera Co-Founder & Co-CEO Beau Leese said that, “International education is NSW and Australia’s largest services export, responsible for over $20bn in direct revenue, tens of thousands of jobs, and building relationships with hundreds of thousands of future leaders from around the globe. However, International students are often overlooked and underutilised as a source of talent, insight and diversity. Global Scope was set up to try and change that through an efficient practical experience program. We’ve seen it deliver great outcomes, enhance the student experience and lead to internships and jobs. There is no reason this program cannot be 10x the scale in 2 years and become a strategic differentiator for NSW international education.”

Hands-on learning techniques equip students to thrive in the workforce

As published in The Australian,  19.09.2018

There is a gap between the knowledge students learn and the skills they need to succeed.

This is not an original insight. Confucius and Sophocles remarked on this fact more than 2000 years ago, and an entire field of thought, scholarship and practice in experiential learning has followed them.

However, today experiential learning represents a sharpening strategic challenge for the higher education sector. The accelerating pace of technology-driven change and innovation is transforming the future of work. Specifically, the valuable lifespan of some categories of knowledge and skills is getting shorter.

If 47 per cent of current jobs are automated, that doesn’t mean half of us get to retire early. It probably doesn’t mean mass unemployment either — after all, 98 per cent of people once were farmers.

But it does mean there probably will be fewer accountants and more user experience designers, and myriad other examples, many with negative consequences for people and communities.

To be relevant, people will need to reframe and evolve their capabilities on a more continual basis.

Universities are under substantial pressure to help meet this challenge. Economic groups such as the World Economic Forum claim the gap between the skills people learn and the skills people need is widening, as traditional learning falls short of equipping students with the knowledge they need to thrive.

Knowledge economy companies such as Google, Apple, PwC, IBM and Bank of America no longer require a college degree as a prerequisite.

The Foundation for Young Australians found that nearly one in three young people in Australia is unemployed or underemployed and on average it takes 4.7 years to transition from full-time education to full-time work. The international students who support our largest export services industry rank employability skills and outcomes very highly when considering destination choice. Successive governments seek ever greater university-industry collaboration.

Experiential learning is a critical tool to meet the challenge. Universities are recognising the need to deliver experiential learning to their students more systematically than ever. This requires building efficient, structured and engaging experiential learning programs of multiple types — across the student life cycle — that deliver value for students and employers.

These are programs such as professional placements, team projects, accelerators, internships, mentoring and competency-based skills credentialling.

These programs augment foundational disciplinary knowledge to build competencies and character qualities including collaboration, creativity, leadership and adaptability.

Most Australian universities today have embraced a strategic commitment to deliver this kind of education to every student.

This is easier said than done. There are many great experiential educators and programs; however, most experience some common cost, scale and quality assurance challenges. Structuring a valuable experience for three parties — students, industry mentors and educators — with different objectives, frames of reference and constraints is challenging.

Managing and quality assuring many of these collaborations with tens of thousands of participants is complex.

Experiential learning as a distinct educational capability with distinctive skills, processes and systems is generally under-recognised within the university.

In the group of people with whom I work we have observed some common success factors in successful experiential learning programs. These are:

  • Support for learners to apply knowledge to new settings and complex problems.
  • Meaningful engagement with experienced practitioners aligned with program learning outcomes.
  • Shared, valuable objectives and a common framework for student, mentor and educator collaboration.
  • Facilitation of the critically reflective learning process that is required for competency and character development.

We have developed a platform to support these success factors. It allows educators to build and deploy their own experiential learning apps to support their networks of students and mentors. For example, the platform supports the NSW government seed-funded Global Scope project network, which across three years has connected 1500 international students from seven NSW universities with 100 government, business and community organisations to undertake three-week projects. The program uses an app built on our Practera platform to structure participants’ collaboration and provide administrators with rich real time data to manage efficiently.

In the cohort recently completed, 100 per cent of students believe they improved their employability skills and network.

Similar programs have been initiated in the past 12 months by the Victorian, Queensland and South Australian governments, involving more than 20 universities. Results from some of these programs will be presented at the upcoming Australian Collaborative Education Network and Australian International Education Conference.

Experiential learning creates opportunity for people, directly and through developing their capability to reframe and evolve their skills lifelong. Experiential learning connects universities and industry. There are two billion learners globally who demand some form of experiential learning to build and evolve relevant skills, from school through working life. We need more and better experiential learning.

This is a worthy field for Australian universities to aspire to lead in, and for governments and industry to support.

Beau Leese is co-founder and co-chief executive of Practera

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