Learning Technologies

To maximize the transformative effect of learning technologies, we look for uses of learning technology that are replicable across institutions and disciplines.

Current Topics

M-Learning and Mobility

Using portable computing devices (such as laptops, tablet PCs, PDAs, and smart phones) with wireless networks enables mobility and mobile learning, allowing teaching and learning to extend to spaces beyond the traditional classroom. Within the classroom, mobile learning gives instructors and learners increased flexibility and new opportunities for interaction. Mobile technologies support learning experiences that are collaborative, accessible, and integrated with the world beyond the classroom.

Questions ELI explores include:

  • What is the rationale for implementing mobile learning technologies?
  • How does ubiquitous access to a wireless network change the dynamics of learning both in and out of the classroom?
  • What are best practices for using mobile learning?
  • What end-user support is important for mobile learning? How can it best be provided?

Emerging Technologies and Practices

Learning technology alone does not necessarily advance learning; well-integrated learning technologies and practices often do. With learning principles and practices in mind, technology is being used in service of learning. New technologies may advance learning; even traditional technologies, when implemented with pedagogically sound practices, can result in significant learning gains.

Questions ELI explores include:

  • What are the emerging learning technologies and practices, and how can we use them?
  • How do we accommodate emerging practices associated with new learning technologies within our institutions?
  • How do we evaluate the potential impact new technologies and practices may have on advancing learning?
  • What do our students think about these technologies and higher education's perspective on them?
  • How can we understand what is happening on our campuses? Can surveys help us develop strategies that align student and faculty expectations for the use of learning technologies?

Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds

Games, simulations, and virtual worlds provide educators with an opportunity to engage learners in an immersive and interactive environment that requires knowledge, decision making, and information management skills. However, the use of these environments in teaching and learning can be controversial; their association with play and fun is often considered non-educational. Even so, they are gaining cultural acceptance. Research suggests they can play a significant role in facilitating learning through engagement, group participation, and immediate feedback and by providing real-world contexts.

Questions ELI explores include:

  • What are student expectations for interaction with course content, and how can games and simulations play a role in fulfilling those expectations?
  • What types of learning outcomes can be achieved through game play?
  • Are there particular academic disciplines where games and simulations can be most effective? What about particular learning styles?
  • What game and simulation technologies are best for education?
  • What support is needed by faculty to integrate games and simulations in their courses?