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Learning Technology: vision and reality. Tom Boyle Learning Technology Research Institute School of Informatics and Multimedia Technology. Introduction. Context Vision Pedagogically informed design pedagogical framework and principles case studies and examples Structure the domain

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learning technology vision and reality

Learning Technology: vision and reality

Tom Boyle

Learning Technology Research Institute

School of Informatics and Multimedia Technology

  • Context
  • Vision
  • Pedagogically informed design
      • pedagogical framework and principles
      • case studies and examples
  • Structure the domain
  • Build deep and precise theoretical knowledge
  • Summary
  • Revolutionary change
    • driven by developments in IT
  • Moore’s law
    • processor power doubles every 18 months
  • The IT revolution has a transformative effect
    • captured in phrases such as e-commerce and e-learning
tsunami waves of change
Tsunami: waves of change
  • Microcomputers
    • - from the early eighties
  • Hypertext
    • - mid to late eighties
  • Multimedia
    • - early nineties
  • Internet and the Web
    • mid nineties
    • hypertext/hypermedia
    • electronic communications
the reality challenge
The ‘Reality’ challenge
  • A period of huge, technologically driven change
  • Challenge of of adapting to this revolutionary change and trying to control its shape
  • We are at a key, pivotal point
  • In education the success with which we adapt will shape the educational experience, for good or ill, of generations to come
getting it wrong
Getting it wrong
  • The salutory story of the ‘querty’ keyboard
  • Huge pressure to adapt quickly
  • Produce sub-optimal solutions that become set as standards
  • Immediate ‘opportunistic’ adaptation to the new reality is essential, but
  • So is a sense of vision driven by deeper theoretical understanding
striving to get it right
Striving to get it right
  • Need a vision of
      • where we are going
      • what we are engaged in
  • Develop a deeper theoretical understanding
    • driven by technological opportunity?
    • driven by pedagogy?
  • Apply this theoretical understanding at the level of design
    • a highly creative creative discipline
  • Build a discipline of ‘Learning technology’?
a vision of what we are engaged in
A vision of what we are engaged in
  • At the highest level
  • Alan Kay and story of the printing press
  • Jerome Bruner
    • biology and culture
    • cultural artifacts and ratiocinative amplifiers
  • Kay - the interface as an amplifier of human abilities
  • Fourth class of amplifier

- cultural amplifier of learning

the challenge
The Challenge
  • Stop chasing the technology (all of the time)
  • Pedagogical based drive
    • to guide the creative exploitation of the technology
    • ‘interactive’ design
  • Develop a deep theoretical base
  • Build an effective discipline of ‘learning technology’
  • Instructional systems design
  • Formal didactic method of developing computer based ‘teaching’ systems
      • underpinning traditional CBT (computer based training)
      • the computer as teaching machine
  • Constructivism
  • The computer not as a teaching machine but as a learning environment
  • The person as a constructor of their knowledge of the world
  • Rejection of a simple transmission model of learning
  • Piaget and Vygotsky
  • Translated as principles for educational design
  • Variants of constructivism
the psychological base
The Psychological Base
  • Piaget
    • The person as a constructor of their knowledge of the world
  • Vygotsky
    • the social dimension
  • Modern research in language and cognitive development
    • Context and scaffolding
principles of constructivism
Principles of Constructivism
  • Rich user-centred interaction

e.g. active discovery versus formal instruction

  • Use of authentic problem situations
    • use of multimedia
  • Collaborative learning
    • peer to peer (e.g. Linn 1996)
    • tutor/student (Cognitive Apprenticeship)
  • Deep learning – experience of and with

the knowledge construction process

constructivist learning environments
Constructivist Learning Environments
  • Virtual Clayoquot
  • CaBLE in management training
      • active goal driven
      • the use of ‘war stories’
  • The Virtual Factory
  • Lake Nardoo
  • Similar learning principles mapped on to a variety of


learning to program
Learning to program
  • A highly structured problem domain
  • Teaching through lectures, textbooks and practice
  • the CORE - guided discovery learning approach
  • Applying ideas from natural language acquisition
  • CLEM - CORE Learning Environment for Modula-2
  • CLEM - CORE Learning Environment for Modula-2
  • Guided discovery approach - based on natural language acquisition
  • Example (micro-problem) based learning
  • Active learning - where students construct for themselves the rules of the language
  • Hypertext tool environment (Guide)
use and evaluation of clem
Use and Evaluation of CLEM
  • 240 students in year 1
  • Observation - Questionnaire - Focus groups
  • Module results
  • Reductions in failure rate of between 32% to 47%
  • Interpreting results
other core systems
Other CORE systems



Observation in




Build your own virtual computer

wider applicability
Wider applicability


multimedia decision support system

the domain layers of impact
The domain: layers of impact
  • Dealing with the complexity of the domain
  • Re-usability and extendibility
  • Theoretical analysis
  • Layering the problem space

Educational Use


Partitioning the problem space

  • We need to articulate the nature of the problem space
  • Student centred/resource based learning
  • Resource layer and pedagogical layer
  • Fits with hypertext paradigm (Hall)




Layering the problem space

  • Context
  • A vision - a fourth class of amplifiers - cultural amplifiers of learning
  • Pedagogically informed design
  • Layering the problem space
  • The need for theory-guided deep design