Educators across the world are experiencing "learning swirl" from the expansion of opportunities and the impact of technology, Mark David Milliron told the conference.
In the United States, full-time residential students now represent only 12 per cent of the student population.
Good teaching, Dr Milliron said, would have to embrace a "balanced use" of technology and put a strong emphasis on students thinking creatively - not just in a timetabled slot.
Change requires courage to avoid battles between the "caustic cynics" and the "true believers". What is needed is thoughtful criticism.