• Author(s): Dr Jane Hughes, Jannie Roed
  • Title: Learning, Teaching and Technologies
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, e-learning, learning technologies, technology-enhanced learning, TEL, VLE, Moodle
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text, Audio
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, ODT, RTF, MP3
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 25th March 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-SA


Activity: Developing e-learning - think about the students

It is quite common for teachers to prepare an e-learning activity for their students and then find that it is not used as they had expected. One example is setting up a discussion forum which is then used infrequently and without any depth of discussion developing. The activities here aim to help you understand why such problems happen and how you can prevent or address them.

Talk to students

The aim here is to raise your awareness about the ways in which your own students are experiencing their use of learning technologies. This includes finding out what they find helpful, what problems they have and how they actually approach their work when technologies are involved. This should help you design e-learning so that students can make the most of it.

You could talk to your students informally after a teaching session or arrange a more formal interview or group discussion with them.

Make a note of what you find out. Were there any surprises? Any new concerns? Did you find answers to any of your questions?

Apply theoretical frameworks

Think about your students' e-learning experiences in relation to what has been written about teaching and learning with technologies. The small audit and mapping activities in this section draw on work by these writers in particular (see the reading list): Diana Laurillard, Gilly Salmon, Mike Sharples, Robin Goodfellow and Mary Lea. Try some of them on a course that you teach or know well.

Revisit three Cs

Look back at the “Initial Grounding” section. Consider your students' learning – with and without technologies - over a period of time (2 weeks?) in relation to Mike Sharples's “3 Cs of effective learning”, construction, conversation and control. Do your students experience all of these? You might also find it useful to think about how how your teaching and your students' learning might map on to Diana Laurillard's conversational framework; this model of learning with technologies has been very influential but the diagram which explains it is quite complicated.

E-learning induction and socialization

Consider how Gilly Salmon's model of teaching and learning with technologies might apply to a course that you know.

1. Study the diagram of Gilly Salmon's 5-stage model on her web site: http://www.atimod.com/e-moderating/5stage.shtml
2. Choose a course that you have taught, studied or are currently planning.
List the actions and activities of teacher(s) and students on your chosen course, at the different stages in Salmon's model. For example, on one of my courses, at Stage 1, I might write:

Me: Put welcome message in moodle. Sort out login problems. Initial message in forum with instructions about how to post and reply to messages.
Students: edit their moodle profiles and read one another's.

Note that this model acknowledges that other roles – apart from teacher and students – are needed. Look through your notes and mark any areas where you might need support from others in your institution, such as learning technologists, academic developers.


Computer and communication technologies offer new learning opportunities but also make new demands on learners and may be said to broaden the scope of “literacy”. As teachers, we may not always appreciate either the complexity of what we are asking students to do or the range of literacy practices that may inform their approach to academic work. The reading list contains a number of texts that address this, using “literacies” or “new literacies” as a framework for understanding student learning experiences at university. Goodfellow and Lea's book, Challenging e-learning

The following short quotation is from a paper about US high school students about to enter higher education. Read it and make a list of the questions it raises. Either discuss these with colleagues or make notes on your own views about these issues.

In many ways, their literacy practices within this SNS [social networking system], proofreading, continuous revision and updating, and consideration of word choice, tone, audience interests, and style, aligned with writing practices valued in school. However, they also assembled multimodal “texts” characteristic of “new literacy” practices and well suited to the dynamic, interactive features of the MySpace social world. They created, assembled, or “remixed” images, music, background/layouts, and other elements into their overall presentation. Not surprisingly, students saw little overlap between their literacy practices within MS and those recognized and valued in school. (Greenhow and Robelia, 2009)

Now think about one of your own courses in relation to what you have read. Make a note of any thoughts or ideas that emerge.

Reflective writing

Think back over the activities in this section and re-read any notes you made. Was the process useful? Has it generated any new insights or ideas? Will you make any changes to your practice as a result? If so, what will they be and what is your top priority?


Creative Commons Licence
Learning, Teaching and Technologies by Dr Jane Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.

Contact us: cpd4he@ucl.ac.uk

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