ACU: Gateway to ACU Student Onboarding Program

“A gamified, social learning approach to student onboarding.”

A unique onboarding and induction program with exceptional results for student cohorts returning to campus life.

The Challenge

In 2022, Australian universities still faced a pronounced business impact due to continued international border closures and travel restrictions, preventing international students from personally attending open days and once enrolled, valuable orientations.

It’s in this context that the Victorian International Education Resilience Fund emerged, to provide indispensable support to Victorian universities. The Australian Catholic University (ACU) secured a grant and subsequently engaged our Liberate Learning team to expand on a highly successful pilot program we had helped create for ACU in the year prior: The ACU virtual student open day VR experience.

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Our Approach

Together with ACU’s project team, our Liberate Learning design experts expanded on the key factors that had made the pilot program so successful: Gamified, social learning, powered by smart use of immersive VR-360 technology accessible and viewable from any desktop (‘goggle-less’), via internet, from any location. We designed and developed the Gateway to ACU program within ACU’s intended 5-phase framework, focusing on giving both international and local students the best possible, fun, socially valuable onboarding experience, within the constraints of living through a pandemic, but with a return to face-to-face campus life in near sight.


The innovative ‘Gateway to ACU’ program has delivered exceptional results, yielding a remarkable increase in satisfaction among target cohorts returning to campus life.

Thanks to the program, students have demonstrated enhanced connectedness, preparedness, adjustment, and resilience, which has had a substantial positive impact on academic success and retention. The immersive and social learning approach has also spurred increased willingness among students to actively engage with the local community upon their arrival in Melbourne and Ballarat.

This project was recognised in:
2023 LearnX Awards as Winner in the Best eLearning Design category
2023 AITD Excellence Awards – Finalist for Best Learning Technology Solution for Liberate Learning & Australian Catholic University (ACU) 

Take a closer look at this project

Curious? Reach out to us and learn more.