Research in Learning Technology publishes papers concerning the use of technology in learning and teaching in all sectors of education, as well as in industry...


The library contains articles of Research in Learning Technology as of vol. 1(1993) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020–2021 academic year at Fianarantsoa University: the use of Facebook as a mode to switch to online learning

    Jocelyne Zafitsara; Njaratiana Mario Arthur Velo (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-06-01)
    This study analyses the impacts of the COVID-19 on teaching and learning at Fianarantsoa University (FU) in Madagascar. Interview questionnaires with 50 participants were carried out at the university concerned. Results demonstrate that FU took care of its students during the lockdown by introducing various measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the university. Distance learning via Gmail and Facebook, where teachers send course files to the mail group, was only found in certain parts of the colleges. Gmail was implemented to complete unfinished exams to avoid the White year. Controversial arguments were uncovered due to the complete cessation of teaching at the end of the distance exams without introducing alternatives to continue academic activities, though there are still three unfinished academic years. This study recommends the regular use of ‘Facebook’ as a device to shift to online teaching and learning, mainly if incidents occur that lead to academic disruption, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, national epidemic, natural catastrophe or others. Facebook is the most used platform in Madagascar, with 3.05 million users in early 2022.
  • Playing the game: a realist approach to evaluating online student access, retention, progression and attainment initiatives

    Daniel Clark (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-06-01)
    This study presents an evaluation of an online game-based student access, retention, progression and attainment (ARPA) initiative at the University of Kent. The initiative, a narrative-based simulation of a condensed student journey from pre-enrolment to graduation, is designed to prepare and support students in their transition to and participation in Higher Education. Student retention continues to be a perennial issue across the Higher Education sector, and studies have indicated that the more knowledgeable and informed students are about their university environment, the less likely they are to leave before completing their studies. Many institutions have developed interventions with the express purpose of addressing these concerns. Recognising the contextualised and subjective nature of such interventions, a realist evaluative framework was adopted to better understand the initiative under scrutiny, asking what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Participant interviews were utilised to assess the efficacy of the initiative in supporting students and in helping them to navigate often unfamiliar institutional cultures, practices and expectations. A revised programme theory is presented, enabling deeper insight into the merit of the initiative and its overall worth as a mechanism for change within the ARPA paradigm.
  • Integrating MOOCs into traditional higher education modules: a MOOC-based blend framework

    Karla K. de Lima Guedes; Hugh C. Davis; John Schulz (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-05-01)
    Online learning platforms, such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), continue to expand, and some academics are taking advantage of these resources by integrating them into their teaching. The literature shows that there are many different ways that MOOCS are being blended into on-campus university teaching, and it would be helpful to have a framework that demonstrates the relationship between the in-person and MOOC curricula content, and the Blended Learning models used in practice. This study investigated how some UK academics are blending MOOCs into their in-person teaching and whether the blends used had any impact on course design. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants with MOOC blending experience, and data were analysed using an inductive approach to Thematic Analysis. Results from this study generated an understanding of (1) what parts of MOOCs lecturers are using and how these resources are being blended into their in-person courses, (2) what kind of impact a MOOC-based blend can have on a course design and (3) the MOOC-based blend framework – a framework to assess the extent to which readily available MOOCs are integrated into lecture-based university modules in terms of curricular alignment and types of blend.
  • Online submission, feedback and grading of assessment: what do academic staff really think?

    Emma Mayhew; Vicki Holmes; Madeleine Davies; Yota Dimitriadi (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-04-01)
    The move to institution-wide adoption of online submission, feedback and grading is increasing significantly within the Higher Education sector. This transition is predominantly driven by the need to improve the student assessment experience, but some institutions now also cite the need to improve the staff assessment experience. Existing studies, however, provide seemingly contradictory evidence surrounding this online marking experience. This article adopts a mixed methods approach to explore academic staff preferences of the assessment experience within a UK-based institution following adoption of online submission, feedback and grading during 2017–2018. It finds that although the majority of colleagues prefer to mark and provide feedback online, the process of marking electronically is highly individual. Online marking is not just a single practice but a set of varied, rich approaches, influenced by individual marker perceptions, preferences and previous experiences, and is often highly emotive. Changes to existing marking practices are seen simultaneously as both challenging and liberating by cohorts of markers. Drawing on the results of a detailed staff survey, this article identifies seven themes that are influential to that experience. These findings have significant implications for how institutions manage change to large-scale adoption of online marking.
  • Providing dementia education with augmented reality: a health sciences and medicine feasibility pilot study

    Cindy Jones; Daniel Khalil; Karanjot Mander; Alexandra Yeoh; Christian Moro (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-05-01)
    Understanding the key physiology and anatomy of the brain, and the mechanisms underlying dementia, represents essential components within a medical curriculum. This study assessed the implementation feasibility of an augmented reality (AR) three-dimensional (3D) brain visualisation learning mode and the knowledge improvements in medical students when compared to a text-based pamphlet. The pamphlet group learnt from a double-sided information pamphlet, while the AR group used an AR app. In AR, participants held a cube in front of the camera on the tablet, rendered on-screen as a 3D brain model, and received a narrated lesson containing the same information as the pamphlet verbatim. Both resources were also evaluated for perceived usefulness via pre-post tests and written survey. A total of 24 students participated in the study. A significant overall difference in knowledge scores (p < 0.001) was found for all participants but without significant differences between groups. Prior education was a significant covariate for pre-post change (p = 0.016) across all participants but had no impact on group outcomes. Positive feedback was received on both resources where the majority perceived them as easy to use, enjoyable, and helped develop their knowledge of dementia. Both the text-based pamphlet and AR delivery modes improved knowledge, although neither was significantly superior to the other. However, the AR lesson was perceived highly for learning, and has the potential for implementation within a medical programme.
  • Augmented sociomateriality: implications of artificial intelligence for the field of learning technology

    Aditya Johri (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-05-01)
    There has been a conscious effort in the past decade to produce a more theoretical account of the use of technology for learning. At the same time, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are being rapidly incorporated into learning technologies, significantly changing their affordances for teaching and learning. In this article I address the question of whether introduction of AI and associated features such as machine learning is a novel development from a theoretical perspective, and if so, how? I draw on the existing perspective of sociomateriality for learning and argue that the use of AI is indeed different because AI transforms sociomateriality by allowing materiality to take on characteristics previously associated primarily with a human agent, thereby shifting the nature of the sociomaterial assemblage. In this data and algorithm-driven AI-based sociomateriality, affordances for representation and agency change, thereby modifying representational and relational practices that are essential for cognition. The dualities of data/algorithm, representational/agentic augmentation, and relational/participatory practices act in tandem within this new sociomaterial assemblage. If left unchecked, this new assemblage is prone to perpetuate the biases programmed within the technology itself. Therefore, it is important to take ethical and moral implications of using AI-driven learning technologies into account before their use.
  • Online microlearning and student engagement in computer games higher education

    Connor McKee; Konstantinos Ntokos (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-03-01)
    Microlearning, in which lecture recordings are segmented into parts, saw renewed focus as a means of maintaining student engagement amid the challenging conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many institutions shifted to remote provision with segmented lecture recordings, there is a lack of consensus about the length that these segments should be in order to best maintain engagement. Using a self-reported system of Likert-based diagnostics, 135 videos in use at Solent University’s computer games area were analysed. Ninety-four students were asked to agree or disagree with statements in the format ‘I understand X’, each tailored to the subject material of the video in question. Repeated questions before and after the video allowed for a change in confidence to be measured, as an indicator of engagement. The resulting 4198 responses showed an optimum range of 5–8 min overall. However, the year of study emerged as a significant factor in this regard – with an optimum range for first years at 6–12 min, and for second and third years at under 8 min. There is a need for institutional-level change in this area, as many institutions currently recommend use of lecture video segments far longer than either figure.
  • Smartphones as digital instructional interface devices: the teacher’s perspective

    Terrence Manyeredzi; Vongai Mpofu (Association for Learning Technology, 2022-01-01)
    Globally, many nations have put in place policies on technology enhanced teaching and learning in an effort to keep abreast with the rapid advancement in technology. However, the use of technology in education has been slow in many third world countries, inclusive of Zimbabwe. COVID-19 restrictions inadvertently accelerated the adoption of digital instructional interface devices (DIIDs). Smartphones are preferred DIIDs because of their popularity amongst children as well as teachers. However, their successful penetration as DIIDs is largely dependent on teachers’ dispositions as key agents of curriculum implementation. Zimbabwe is known to have a 52% smartphone penetration rate for all citizens. The study was therefore carried out to determine the penetration rate of smartphones in science teachers, and also to probe teachers’ views on learners being allowed unlimited access to smartphones. The study adopted descriptive survey design from a quantitative research approach. Data was collected from 179 science teachers through a self-developed electronic questionnaire that was administered through the Kobo Toolbox online survey application. Results show that the smartphone penetration rate in science teachers is 87%. Multitasking and indecent exposure are the main forms of learner deviance that make teachers more reluctant to accept smartphones as DIIDs. In the presence of school-wide and classroom policies that cater for both merits of smartphone use and ease of policy enforcement, Zimbabwe science teachers are however ready to fully embrace smartphones as useful DIIDs.
  • Transforming the online learning space through advanced development retreats

    Daniel J. Belton; Sue Folley; Sophie McGown (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-12-01)
    Learning technologies have the potential to transform Higher Education, although multifaceted demands on staff time, confidence and training in using new technologies, and a lack of support can make this transformation difficult. The University of Huddersfield recently transitioned to a new virtual learning environment (VLE), which provided the opportunity to change the way staff view and use the new VLE for teaching and learning. As part of this project, three off-site retreats were run to help staff to reflect on and develop their teaching practice to better support student learning in the digital space and develop advanced online resources that support the democratisation of learning, close differential attainment gaps and give every student the best chance of success. Although much is written about different models of practice, there is a lack of theory and conceptualisation around changing practice. Examining the motivations and experiences of staff who participated provides insight into the challenges of implementing change on an institutional level, whilst examining their setup and design highlights ways to support staff during this process. Using participant feedback and experiences to underpin this research, we explore the immediate and ongoing outcomes of these off-site retreats to help transform the University’s approach to technology-enhanced learning.
  • The Development of an Integrated Scale of Technology Use in Physics

    Fikret Korur; Sevda Yerdelen-Damar; Havva Sağlam (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-04-01)
    In this study, the Integrated Scale of Technology Use in Physics (ISTUP) was developed to determine students’ frequency of technology use, their perceptions about the effects of technology use on physics interest and achievement, and their preferences of technological tools and applications in learning physics. The scale was administered two different times to 670 high school students in total who took physics courses. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to validate the scale. The results of the study suggest that the ISTUP is a valid and reliable scale. Students’ frequency of technology use in learning physics corresponded to ‘sometimes’. Students perceived that technology use had slightly positive effect on their interest and achievement. Findings regarding the interrelations between students’ preference for technological tools and applications were also discussed.
  • A Disruptive Innovation perspective on students’ opinions of online assessment

    Michael Flavin (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-05-01)
    This article analyses students’ thoughts and feelings about online assessment. This article uses Disruptive Innovation theory as a lens through which to analyse students’ responses to online assessment, in a case study of a Leadership course. The sources of data for this article comprise annual course evaluation surveys, a one-off assessment survey and a focus group. Qualitative content analysis with a directed approach is used to analyse the data. The results show students are capable of undertaking a range of online assessments but are, in general, reluctant to utilise the innovative possibilities of different forms of online assessment. This article adds to our understanding of online assessment by placing it within a distinct theoretical framework, offering explanations for why students may not be seeking-out innovative forms of assessment.
  • Teaching social skills to students with autism spectrum disorder through augmented, virtual and mixed reality

    Maggie A. Mosher; Adam C. Carreon (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-08-01)
    This systematic literature review was conducted to explore the social validity of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) as a means of providing social skill instruction to students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Forty-one articles met the inclusion criteria, including five studies utilizing AR and the remaining 36 utilizing VR for social skill interventions. No studies implemented MR. The targeted skills of the studies included emotion recognition, relationship skills, social awareness, cooperation, and executive functioning. The intervention was considered effective in 63% of studies, not effective in 10% of studies, and mixed results in 27% of studies. The social validity indicators reported by researchers ranged from two to 14 of 17 determined categories. Findings indicate the primary socially valid reasons for utilizing AR/VR for social skill instruction were high student motivation toward the intervention and a positive attitude toward the technology. Findings indicate that increasing the role of parents, educators, and students as both social skill selectors and treatment agents and adding valid and reliable skill measures may improve the effects of an intervention. Sustainability may increase by providing training to both treatment agents and participants. AR has the potential to improve generalization and VR provides a practice environment for performance deficits. Combining these technologies may provide a more effective social skill intervention.
  • Increasing the attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (ARCS) of students through interactive science learning multimedia

    Herianto; Insih Wilujeng (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-08-01)
    The use of interactive multimedia has the potential to create a high-quality learning environment. The key elements of various media, user control over information delivery and interactivity can be used to improve the learning process by creating an integrated learning environment. This study aims to determine the increase in students’ attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (ARCS) before and after using interactive science learning multimedia. This study collected data from 30 students aged 12–13 years from a junior high school in Yogyakarta City, Indonesia. Data collection was done using learning motivation questionnaires. Data analysis techniques used paired sample t-test. The results of this study are that the learning motivation aspects of ARCS after using interactive science learning multimedia have increased significantly. However, the relevance aspect of students’ learning motivation did not increase significantly.
  • Exploring the characteristics of adults’ online learning activities: a case study of EdX online institute

    Yuewei Shi; Xi Lin (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-08-01)
    Online learning has become a prevailing trend among adult learners. Therefore, this study investigated the learning time preference and the relationship between the course completion and learning activities among adult learners based on data from one online learning platform. Results indicate that a periodical fluctuation of participating online course study exists among adult learners. Additionally, the activity of posting on the discussion board is a main learning activity factor that influences their online course completion. It is expected that this study would help online learning system designers, education administrators and instructors to better understand the characteristics of adult learners and their learning activities to provide better accessibility and flexibility in online learning environments for them.
  • Learning to teach mathematics with robots: Developing the ‘T’ in technological pedagogical content knowledge

    Shelli Casler-Failing (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-06-01)
    A multiple case study was conducted to investigate how Lego robotics instruction incorporated into a middle grades mathematics methods course could inform pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) TPACK through the lens of Social Constructivist Theory. The qualitative data analysis revealed that when instruction on Lego robotics technology is integrated into semester long mathematics methods courses, PSTs are able to improve their TPACK knowledge in regard to the robotics. Overall, the findings suggest instruction of educational technology tools should be incorporated into methods courses over a longer duration of time, and in depth, to better support the development of PSTs’ TPACK. To meet the demands of the teacher shortages while simultaneously supporting the needs of school districts, this research provides preliminary evidence of the need to incorporate content-specific technology into all methods courses.
  • Parental involvement, learning participation and online learning commitment of adolescent learners during the COVID-19 lockdown

    Kehinde Clement Lawrence; Olubusayo Victor Fakuade (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-04-01)
    During the escalating coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, attempting to contain its spread, a large number of educational institutions shut down face-to-face teaching and learning activities globally due to a complete lockdown. This lockdown revealed emerging vulnerabilities of education systems in the low- and middle-income countries of the world, with Nigeria being no exception. Given these concerns, this research study assessed parental involvement, learning participation and the commitment to online learning of adolescent learners during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria. An online survey questionnaire was employed to examine the level of online learning commitment and the contributory roles of each of the factors to online learning commitment of adolescent learners. In total, 1407 adolescents (male = 38.8%; female 61.2%) aged between 12 and 20 years (mean = 15: SD = 4.24) responded to the online survey, which was open for 2 months. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency distribution and inferential statistics of multiple regression. The findings revealed that the commitment level of adolescent learners to online learning was high. The findings further yielded a coefficient of R = 0.439 and R2 = 0.192 variance in the prediction of the outcome measure. Parental involvement contributed 32% (β = 0.322, p &lt; 0.05) and learning participation contributed 23% (β = 0.234, p &lt; 0.05) towards online learning. The study concludes that parental involvement and learning participation played a significant and positive role in the commitment of adolescent learners towards online learning during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria. The authors suggest that parents be encouraged to synergise with the digitalised revolution, while the need for further in-depth research on the subject is emphasised in the suggestions for future research.
  • Improving student and faculty communication: the impact of texting and electronic feedback on building relationships and the perception of care

    Jennie M. Carr; Karen Santos Rogers; Gibbs Kanyongo (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-03-01)
    Students perceive care as a quality of highly effective faculty, and building positive relationships is essential to a successful college experience. However, many college students report never having developed caring relationships with faculty. We propose faculty have an opportunity to use technology to help build caring relationships in an effort to improve overall academic success. The majority of research on student–faculty interaction has primarily focused on determining what kinds of interactions students have with faculty. The aim of this study was to explore students’ perceptions of care and the role safe texting and electronic feedback played in building student–faculty relationships. A mixed-methods approach was used with college student participants (n = 307) to answer the following research questions: (1) What actions by faculty constitute “caring”? (2) What role does technology play in students feeling “cared for”? The findings indicate that safe texting platforms and electronic feedback had a positive impact by increasing accessibility and direct contact.
  • Learning experience design for augmented reality

    Betül Czerkawski; Margherita Berti (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-03-01)
    Recent years have seen a growing interest in augmented reality (AR) technologies due to their potential for simulating real-life situations and creating authentic learning tasks. Studies have shown that AR enables engaging and interactive learning experiences (e.g. Bressler and Bodzin 2013; Klopfer and Sheldon 2010) and can benefit student learning (e.g. Bonner and Reinders 2018; Siegle 2019). However, although research in AR for education is not scarce, educators often do not have a learning experience design (LXD) approach that is supported by the recent findings of learning sciences and instructional design models. To bridge this gap, the present study introduces an AR-learning prototype developed by using SAM I (Successive Approximation Model I), and the Threshold Concepts Framework, employed for meaningful integration of AR into the learning process. A pre-survey and a post-survey method were utilised in the data gathering process to gauge students’ experience with the AR module. The findings show that the majority of students have not had educational experiences with AR prior to the study, and they struggled to find ways to incorporate this technology into their content areas in a meaningful way. Nonetheless, participants realised the value of AR and stated that they most likely would use this technology in the future. Based on the findings, the authors present a set of suggestions for instructors and LXDs, and provide recommendations for future research.
  • Facilitating peer-led group research through virtual collaboration spaces: an exploratory research study

    Richard Walker; Setareh Chong; James Chong (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-03-01)
    Peer-led group learning is a variation of collaborative learning and is based on ‘small groups of students meeting regularly with a peer – one who has additional expertise in the subject matter – to work on problems collaboratively’ (Pazos, Micari, and Light 2010). In this study, we explored how a Slack team environment could be used in a blended course design to support students working remotely on individual research projects, helping them in collaborative trouble-shooting and problem-solving activities with their ‘near peer’. We drew on lessons learned from an initial trial (2017–2018 cohort) to inform a revised peer-led research design (2018–2019 cohort).Our findings demonstrate the potential of collaborative platforms such as Slack to support near-peer learning, providing distinct channels for questioning, ideas sharing and agile problem-solving support in response to individual queries. The peer-led support contributed to high levels of engagement with the project work and deeper learning, helping less confident students to learn from group members and achieve positive outcomes in their own project work. We discuss the necessary conditions for effective peer-led learning to take place within a virtual space – identifying the clear communication of instructional roles, socialisation of students and responsiveness of near peers as factors influencing the adoption of the targeted learning methods – which we addressed in our revised peer-led design.
  • Introducing augmented reality in early childhood literacy learning

    Zilong Pan; Mary Frances López; Chenglu Li; Min Liu (Association for Learning Technology, 2021-02-01)
    Augmented reality (AR) as an emerging technology has gradually been incorporated into educational contexts; however, the cases that incorporate AR into early childhood contexts are underrepresented and especially scant in the literacy domain. Aiming to measure the impact of AR on early childhood learning and motivation in the literacy domain, this study brought an application into six pre-kindergarten classrooms by introducing three experimental classrooms to an AR centre while others engaged with a two-dimensional (2D) version of the same material. Bayesian analysis revealed that rapid letter naming rates grew for all children involved in the study. It increased by 6.28% among children in the experimental AR group and 3.35% in the control 2D group. Growth in rates of motivation was similar among experimental (11.5%) and control (10.9%) groups. These findings suggest that three-dimensional images of letters might help with rapid letter naming skills, and animations available in both versions may be the reason of increases in motivation. Teacher interviews presented positive views towards AR, and instructional implications were provided by teachers for incorporating the technology into early childhood classrooms.

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