An Overview on Effectiveness of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

An Overview on Effectiveness of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

Linda Daniela (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia), Daiga Kalniņa (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia) and Raimonds Strods (University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2017010105


It is necessary to introduce changes in teacher education in order to include the acquisition of competences necessary for the technology-enhanced learning process both organizing the learning process and developing new and innovative didactic means that promote learning as well as using digital technologies that nowadays has become an integral part of any teacher's and university lecturer's competence in the learning process to perform qualitatively their work. Despite the fact that teaching/learning methods used in the education system in the world have been explored, different studies on advantages and shortcomings of these methods have been performed there still are no serious reviews on the effectiveness of applying technology-enhanced learning methods in the contexts and environments of different school subjects. In order to close this gap serious research has been carried out using the latest scientific literature found in Web of Science data basis to work out a scientific review on the effectiveness of applying TEL in the educational environment.
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Every individual in the globalized world more and more frequently faces the challenge to improve the previously acquired professional skills. For the economy to advance, education sector should be the first that is able itself to adjust flexibly and apply innovations to the development of the individuals’ knowledge, skills and competences. The labour market more frequently expects such competences as the skill to solve non-standard problem situations using the opportunities offered by latest technologies as well as develop new innovative solutions. The education system lacks people who are able to seek, analyze and evaluate critically the diverse offer of technologies. At present an urgent need to change faster the ineffective approaches and teaching/learning methods to more effective is felt in the society and it is often assumed that problems will be solved if different new technologies are more used in education; however, often there is no serious evaluation about the benefits and academic achievement of applying technologies as well as the inpact of their application on the individuals’ cognitive development. It means that there should be purposefully educated teachers who help to introduce innovative solutions and who would both be aware of the individual’s abilities and needs in the learning process and the benefits of using technologies as well as the individual’s limitations, for example, the conditions of the sensory development, psychological risks in the aspect of cognitive development and emotional security. The university academic staff are the founders of education innovations in the education system, educating the future teachers who will be able to promote their students’ development if technologies are integrated and new pedagogical strategies are offered in teacher education programmes (Schneckenberg & Wildt, 2006).

The research often is contradictory when the benefits of using TEL are analyzed. There are studies in which the main emphasis is put on the learning experience, others, in their turn, concentrate on the academic achievement (Goodyear & Ellis, 2008). The majority of studies on the impact of TEL have a small sample; they are specific in content and it is problematic to see convincing evidence about the impact of TEL (Kirkwood & Price, 2014). It is also necessary to analyze the aspects that in the process of applying TEL can create different social exclusion risks (Serio, Ibanez, Kloos, 2013), facilitate evasion and the development of self-handicaping motivation (Migdley, Urdan, 2001), etc. As indicated by Kirkwood and Price (2014), sometimes the term technology-enhanced learning is more connected with the technologies as devices, considering less how to apply these technologies in the education process to promote learning. Every year innumerous conferences are organized on using technology-enhanced learning in education, teaching materials and scientific publication are published the part of which emphasize the invaluable impact of technologies on the learning process; however, there is another part which stresses that the use of technologies should be purposeful and structured to develop the creativity, facilitate learning, decrease both physical and social risks, etc. Technologies are often introduced in education because there is conviction that children and young people like them, that they promote learning, etc., still these statements often are not based on hard evidence about the effectiveness of the impact. Along the above mentioned risks there are also others as, for example, the expenses of introducing and using technologies, authorship rights, the unity of theory and practice, assumptions and expectations about the outcomes, the lack of knowledge on using TEL in the study process on the part of the academic staff, the overload of the academic staff, etc. (Tynan et al., 2012; Walker et al., 2014; Walker et al., 2012; McIntyre et al., 2009). The researchers of several countries (Tømte, 2013; Hammond, Reynolds, Ingram, 2011; Cabrol, Severin, 2009) underline that future teachers are not educated adequately for the work in the digitalized education environment. Future teachers lack skills to integrate information and communication technologies in the teaching/learning process as well as pedagogical strategies to attain the learning, educational and developmental aims by integrating the technologies. This indicates that it is necessary to analyze and evaluate studies on the benefits and risks of applying technologies performed until now in order to take them into account in the education process of the future teachers to decrease the possible risks and to promote the development.

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