An Analysis of the Research and Impact of ICT in Education in Developing Country Contexts

An Analysis of the Research and Impact of ICT in Education in Developing Country Contexts

Nitika Tolani-Brown (American Institutes for Research, USA), Meredith McCormac (American Institutes for Research, USA) and Roy Zimmermann (American Institutes for Research, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-799-2.ch011
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Rigorous evaluations on the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on learning outcomes in developing countries is sparse and often lacks the methodological quality necessary to guide policymakers towards sound, evidence-based practices. This desk study reviews research undertaken to date on the impact of ICTs on learning outcomes in developing countries. First, a series of in-depth, structured interviews with a range of stakeholders, including policymakers and academicians, researchers, users and developers of ICTs, was conducted, followed by a global literature review of published and unpublished evaluations on the educational impacts of ICTs. This study found that while qualitative studies often highlight the benefits of ICTs for learners and other stakeholders, there is little rigorous research to support a causal linkage between student learning outcomes and ICTs in the developing world. This study concludes that decision makers in developing countries are guided not by evidence or data but by intuition and other influences when choosing to invest in technology in an effort to upgrade the quality of instruction in their schools. Finally, recommendations for future evaluations are offered while considering important lessons learned from extant research.

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