Wiki task 1

Task 1: What are technology learning environments?

Create hyperlinked pages that outline the types, characteristics, terminology, application and uses of TEL environments.

First thoughts

Just analyzing the words, my first thoughts are :

  • technology : is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. (wikipedia)
  • learning : is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. (wikipedia)
  • environment : The surroundings of, and influences on, a particular item of interest.(wiktionary) The setting.
  • enhanced : To improve something by adding features. (wiktionary)

A first definition then could be : The whole surroundings in which (enhanced) growth of cognition is supported by machines and their systems.

In this specific case technology would refer to tools as in computers, tablets and phones. So older technology such as books are excluded. And systems as in the software that is used to make learning possible and the internet as a distribution channel.


Definitions research

Self-regulated Learning in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments (2006)

Any environment which facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and skills is a learning environment, and any learning environment that is supported by the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be regarded to be a Technology Enhanced Learning Environment (TELE). There are two caveats, however:
(1)Learning may be more than the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Learning may also include the acquisition and regulation of emotions, motivations, attitudes and values, i.e. learning usually comprises more than merely cognitive activities. It is true, however, that many learning environments only focus on cognitive aspects of learning. (2) A TELE is more than just the technology or the technological component of a TELE. In many cases, the TELE consists of the learner and the technology plus a teacher/coach, peers and tasks given by the teacher or emanating from the environment. However, even in our research we had to remind ourselves at times that we were trying to evaluate a complete TELE and not just its technology.


e-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same?(2010)

The learning environment can be identified as a Learning Management System (LMS), a Course Management System (CMS), a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or even a Knowledge Management System (KMS) (Khan, 2001; Nichols, 2003; Spector, 2007; Wilen-Daugenti, 2009). All the definitions use words which suggest that learning is occurring in a specific webbased area, Online Learning Environment (OLE) is a term in which it can be assumed that the above terms can all be referenced by (Asunka, 2008; Barnard-Brak, Lan, & Paton, 2010; Khan, 2001; Rhode, 2009; Zhang & Kenny, 2010). Knowledge Content Distributors (KCD) is a term stated as the predecessor of all .(Wagner, 2001)
Additional learning environment terms are either referring to tools that can be used within the environment or the type of learning that will be delivered within the system.
Personal learning environments (PLE) are environments in which individuals can access personal learning resources, tools and services. These environments have evolved from the VLE and MLE (Managed Learning Environments) developments of the past as well as building upon new tools e.g. social software.


Models and instruments for assessing Technology Enhanced Learning Environments in higher education(2011)

Technology enhanced learning leverages technology to maximize learning within an environment of sound course design that can offer students the options of time, place, and pace and emphasizes different learning styles.There is no one definition for the look or feel of a technology enhanced course; instead, this effort occurs along a very broad spectrum that at one end can include a course with only minimal technology enhancement such as a Web site with an electronic syllabus, while at the opposite end is found a robust, multimedia rich, interactive, collaborative, fully online course (Armstrong, et al., 2004).


The Bologna Process focuses on skills acquisition by students and not the mere accumulation of knowledge. In other words, it is not just about learning concepts, which will then be assessed; the students will have to acquire skills themselves, and therefore they will be co-responsible for their own education.

The TELE as support in pedagogical reengineering.


Design-Based Research and Technology-Enhanced Learning Environments

TELEs are technology-based learning and instructional systems through which students acquire skills or knowledge, usually with the help of teachers or facilitators, learning support tools, and technological resources (Aleven, Stahl, Schworm, Fischer, & Wallace, 2003; Land, 2000; Shapiro & Roskos, 1995)


Definitions: Technology enhanced learning environments areas

  • Personalised learning environments
  • Institutional (virtual) learning environments
  • Physical learning spaces
  • Mobile and immersive learning environments

Source : JISC

E-Learning and Technology Enhanced Learning – Guidance for academics

E-learning, also known as online learning or technology enhanced learning (TEL) adheres to the basic tenets of face-to-face teaching, e.g. clear aims, specific learning outcomes, valid and reliable evaluation and assessment but with additional flexibility through the use of technology. … learning should be the key objective, and pedagogy rather than technology should drive the decision-making.

The Higher Education Authority defines flexible working as “enabling choice and responsiveness in the pace, place and mode of learning”. Pace of learning encompasses accelerated and decelerated programmes, part-time learning, recognition of prior learning and the associated use of credit frameworks. Technology enhanced learning is used to provide flexibility in the mode of learning. It should be noted that modes of learning that are capable of providing flexibility are not confined to distance learning programmes.

The QAA Quality Code further defines flexible and distributed learning as approaches to teaching, learning and assessment that:

  • do not require a student’s place of study to be physically located within the institution (the awarding institution) whose academic award is being sought through successful completion of the programme of study;
  • do not assume that a student’s programme of study is necessarily delivered directly by the awarding institution;
  • do not assume that a student is necessarily directly supported by staff of the awarding institution;
  • do not assume that a student is routinely working with other students; and
  • do not necessarily require assessment of a student’s achievement to take place at the location of the awarding institution.

Technology enhanced learning (TEL) and e-learning can be used interchangeably. TEL and e-learning describe the broad approach to using technology to support teaching and learning processes, design and delivery.


The use of technology can add value to learning by enabling:

  • connectivity to information and to others
  • 24/7 access to learning resources
  • greater choice over the time, place and pace of study
  • alternative modes of study: distance, blended work-based, partially or wholly campus-based
  • knowledge-sharing and co-authoring across multiple locations
  • opportunities for reflection and planning in personal learning spaces
  • rapid feedback on formative assessments
  • more active learning by means of interactive technologies and multimedia resources
  • participation in communities of knowledge, inquiry and learning
  • learning by discovery in virtual worlds
  • development of skills for living and working in a digital age

Considerations for design

  • What are the curriculum objectives?
  • What other outcomes are desired?
  • Where will the learning activity take place?
  • What resources are available?
  • What technologies are available?
  • What approach to learning will be taken?
  • What assessment strategies will be used?
  • What feedback strategies will be used?
  • What is the learning activity and how does it achieve the learning outcomes?
  • Are there any follow up activities?
  • How will learners be supported during and after their activity?
  • What additional support might some learners need?
  • How will you reflect on the effectiveness of the activity?
  • How will learners reflect on what they have learnt?

A report by the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the Web. Higher education therefore continues to have a unique role in providing learners with the higher-order skills of evaluation, critical analysis and reflection, synthesis, problem-solving, creativity and thinking across discipline boundaries (HEFCE Strategy for E-learning).


Ubiquitous learning

A ubiquitous learning environment is any setting in which students can become totally immersed in the learning process. So, a ubiquitous learning environment (ULE) is a situation or setting of pervasive or omnipresent education or learning. Education is happening all around the student but the student may not even be conscious of the learning process. Source data is present in the embedded objects and students do not have to DO anything in order to learn. They just have to be there. (wikipedia)

What seams do we remove in mobile-assisted seamless learning? A critical review of the literature

From the literature on classifications of mobile learning, we observe a variety of classification frameworks being developed – from technical-oriented (Roschelle, 2003 and Song, 2007) to learning theory-based (Naismith, Lonsdale, Vavoula, & Sharples, 2004) to that of a hybrid techno-pedagogical construct (Patten, Arnedillo-Sánchez, & Tangney, 2006).

Yu (2007) combs the development of three generations of mobile learning: the first generation focuses on transferring learning content onto mobile devices (transfer of information and behaviorism); the second generation focuses on pedagogical design (cognitivism and constructivism); and the third generation is characterized by 1:1 setting and the use of context-aware technology. Barbosa & Geyer’s (2005) view summarizes the essence of the third generation mobile learning well – it “is about increasing a learner’s capability to physically move their own learning environment as they move.” This would transform students into genuine “nomadic learners” (Brodersen, Christensen, Grønbæk, Dindler, & Sundararajah, 2005). Hence, while the first and second generation mobile learning tend to confine the learners in the formal learning (teacher- or expert-planned learning materials or activities) context, third generation mobile learning is creating the impact of stitching the learners’ formal and informal learning contexts together to lead towards seamless learning and making their learning experiences more personalized.

Lung-Hsiang Wong, Chee-Kit Looi, What seams do we remove in mobile-assisted seamless learning? A critical review of the literature, Computers & Education, Volume 57, Issue 4, December 2011, Pages 2364-2381, ISSN 0360-1315,
Keywords: Teaching/learning strategies; Distributed learning environments; Computer-mediated communication; Pedagogical issues

Understanding the Technology Enhanced Learning Environments from A Cognitive Perspective

From a constructivist perspective, a learning environment can be defined as ‘a place where people can draw upon resources to make sense out of things and construct meaningful solutions to problems’ (Wilson, 1996).

Long-term understanding can be fostered through meaningful contexts and interactions that reflect how knowledge is developed and used in the real world. Increased learner responsibility, opportunities for reflection, a focus on realistic tasks, purposeful collaboration with tutors, exposure to multiple perspectives and going beyond purely abstract definitions of a subject domain are the main characteristics of constructivist learning environments (Grabinger & Dunlap, 1995: Jonassen, 1999).

As Dror (2008) asserts, computers have augmented the computing power of our brains to such an extent that being deprived of one’s computer may feel like the loss of one’s own cognitive capacity. Similar to the non-cognitive technology’s (cars, planes…etc.) impact on our lives cognitive technology will affect our brain development and capacities (Dror, 2008) so that our minds may eventually be reshaped and consequentially, how we think and learn may be changed. Indeed, the human mind seems to work like the World Wide Web in a dynamic, creative and unpredictable way.
With regard to the area of educational technologies the critical question to be asked is whether technology can enhance learning given these potential harms and benefits. For learning to be successful, it must conform to the architecture of the mind and take into account the information processing capacity. By using the correct mental representations and engaging the cognitive system, information must be conveyed in such a way so that it can be easily acquired. A major challenge is how to translate the theoretical and academic research into practical ways to utilise technology so as to enhance learning. By bridging research about the brain into ways of using learning technologies sophisticated learning programs can be created and by taking into account the architecture of cognition efficient TEL can be facilitated (Dror, 2007). To exemplify, one should recognize that there is a trade-off between the ability to build knowledge according to the learner’s cognitive structures and the extra cognitive load associated with giving learners more control. Intrinsic cognitive load arises from the complexity of the learning material which is not an inherent property of the material, rather it arises from the interaction between an individual’s domain knowledge and the information content. On the other hand, extraneous cognitive load is generated by the representational format of the learning material (text or diagram). So, while text-based format may cause a high extraneous load a diagrammatic format would require lower extraneous loads. As Dror (2008) suggests, when designing for e-learning, restricting the navigational freedom could free up cognitive resources for knowledge acquisition. Besides, information content should be kept as simple as possible to facilitate learning.

As is the case with every technology, there are some benefits and harms referred as ”gold mines” and “land mines” by Dror (2005) in cognitive technologies. In terms of gold mines, active learning can be facilitated via TEL by maximising the interaction between the material and the learner. By activating the cognitive mechanisms of learning such as attention, depth of processing the learning goes beyond a mere exposure to information. Besides, by giving the learners control over the presentation of the material- different preferences for visual, auditory, text may exist- higher levels of engagement and participation may occur. In terms of land mines, reduced mental effort and work in learning due to providing too much to the learner may decrease the depth of processing of the learners and result in reduction of the memory of the learned material (Dror, 2008).
As both human cognition and technology have their own weaknesses and strengths the key to constructing the most efficient systems would be through understanding the characteristics of human cognition and technology and then integrate their advantages. For instance, psychological and cognitive contextual elements may distort the judgements of human beings whereas technologies are non-biased. In this way, technology and human beings can cooperate rather than being overestimated. As Dror (2008) suggests, rather than conceptualising both technology and human cognition as competing, we can give consideration to the weaknesses and strengths of both and how they can complement each other.
Moreover, as Clancey (1995) asserts, in order to change the practice of TEL a better understanding of how models relate to human knowledge must be achieved. The insights of the cognitive, computational and social sciences can be related to each other if the thoughts of managers, scientists and trainers regarding the models and computer tools can be changed.

In order to be aligned with the human cognitive architecture, TEL environments should provide supportive visual and interactive multimedia, self-assessment tools, instructional guidance about the purpose of the learning environment and how to operate it. Identifying the kinds of online leaning support that may be required for different types of learners and clearly communicating the tasks and activities of students with regard to their online participation may further enhance the effectiveness of TEL environments. In order to design powerful learning environments, instructional designers should also thoroughly explore and interpret the problem and combine a wide range of possible solutions with a wide range of factors while using context knowledge. Besides, more time should be taken for prototyping and evaluation. Use of a highly interactive and collaborative design approach involving a cooperation with stakeholders is also essential for a successful design. Designing should be viewed as a social process and should be communicated with users and stakeholders.

Kok, A. (2009). Understanding the Technology Enhanced Learning Environments from A Cognitive Perspective. International Education Studies. 2 (4).


Security Risks and Protection in Online Learning: A Survey

personal learning environment (PLE) is “a learning environment where the student is able to customize his/her learning environment based on pedagogical and personal choices” (Kolas & Staupe, 2007). As a new way of using the web or Web 2.0 for learning, the PLE focuses on the individual and “presents learners with learning resources based on individual interests, education level, attitude and cultural, social and other factors” (Li & Gu, 2009). It is a framework that integrates Web 2.0 and social tools, such as blogs, wikis, Facebook, podcasting, and videocasting, according to the choice of learners (Alotaibi & Argles, 2011; Kompen, Edirisingha, & Mobbs, 2008).


From a constructivist perspective, a learning environment can be defined as ‘a place where people can draw upon resources to make sense out of things and construct meaningful solutions to problems’ (Wilson, 1996).

2012 Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning for higher education in the UK

TELE : Any online facility or system that directly supports learning and teaching. This may include a formal VLE, an institutional intranet that has a learning and teaching component, a system that has been developed in house or a particular suite of specific individual tools.

…technologies to enhance learning, teaching and assessment activities.


Other forms

Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE), self-regulated learning (SRL), Web-based educational systems (WBES), Interactive Learning Environments (ILEs)


Characteristics research

A non exhaustive list describing the different termes used, sometimes refering to some sort of variation and sometimes used as synonyms :

  • online learning, web-based learning, distance learning, blended learning , virtual education and e-Learning
  • courses, programs, learning objects
  • resources

Wider access to learning.

The TEL can cover the whole of the study material of only a part, as to complement to main body.

Instructional characteristics are assignments, individual/collaborative, modules, assesments, deadlines, and instructor/facilitator.

Students prefer to use TEL because it makes their learning more effective, efficient, and flexible; i.e. they can study anytime, anywhere, and in their own way.

Technology tools/techniques in the learning environment are the delivery of information, conferencing tool, discussion boards, chat, calendar, news feed, blog/wiki, and email.

Another core characteristic of OLE’s are the design methodologies. Courses, programs, and learning objects, which are available in OLEs, can either be:

  • self-paced: enable individuals to study online in their own time and at their own pace, from their own location. Provides the learner more autonomy to proceed at their own pace, while their progress is monitored to assess their achievement. (Rhode, 2009; Spector et al., 2008).
  • self-directed: mode of learning which is learner-controlled; where the learner is more in charge of their own learning and they monitor and manage the cognitive and contextual aspects of their learning. Self-directed can also be perceived as independent learning, which has no learner to learner interactions. Garrison (2003)
  • instructor-led: guides learners through the required instruction content and controls the instructional sequencing and pacing and all learners participate in the same learning activities at specified times. (Rhode, 2009)

Source : e-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same? Joi L. Moore, Camille Dickson-Deane, Krista Galyen

Active Learning, Authentic Learning, Multiple Perspectives, Collaborative Learning. (Karagiorgi, Y., & Symeou, L. (2005). Translating Constructivism into Instructional Design: Potential and Limitations. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (1), 17-27.)

Examples of Learning Environments







A TELE is a system through which learning and the acquisition of skills is facilitated and stimulated. This acquisition is not limited to the cognitive, but also reaches into psychological and emotional areas. There have seen quite some variations and definitions in the last decades, in overall the definition is :

A contemporary social and cultural defined TELE in technology capable countries

  • is online and thus accessible by a web tool (webpage or app)
  • can be used as a single person and/or in group
  • offers multimedia learning resources and tools
  • serves as a independent, self-paced, or instructor-led environment

A second definition refers to the physical spaces in which technology is used for learning (classrooms, auditoria, computing centers,…).

I’ll limit myself here to the main definition. As such the TELE has evolved from a Learning Management System/Content Management System to a Personal Mobile Ubiquitous Learning Environment through the emergence of wireless technology and the focus on constructivist student based learning.

Another interpretation is that a TELE could refer to learning in a technology enhanced environment or it could be enhanced learning through a technology environment, there are definitions going both ways.

The technology delivering the tools for this consists of :

  • on a low level the actual hardware and the distribution system : server, computer/tablet/smartphone, internet access and connectivity
  • software tools as the browser and the learning environment itself with it’s modules, e.g. learning sources, wikis, email, calendar, chat, tests, forums, …
  • external technology such as video/audio recording software, extra conferencing tools,
    constructing editors

People directly involved in the TEL:

  • student
  • teacher/facilitator
  • technical support
  • administrative support
  • global management

Third parties are the companies that deliver the browser and the TELE itself. These are not to be underestimated as they have great influence on the basic operation of the TELE. Preconfigured TELEs have a rather fixed design and dealing to some degree, each with their own level of customization, but technical implementers have little room for easy applicable ground-level changes. Themes can be used in styling, but the structure is generally set. Some TELEs have the ability for plugins. As a result everyone using the TELE is bound to the predefined context.

Areas of application for a TELE are

  • official learning institutes
  • unofficial learning companies
  • education inside companies

Mode of application can be :

  • an addition on normal f2f education
  • blended mode
  • full virtual mode

TELEs often function as a predefined container of learning content and have mostly asynchronous communication options. Having a framework to build a course in is a step forward from starting from scratch and can greatly improve in ease of development, consistency of structure, layout and use of courses and centralization of means. Besides the delivery of content the TELE should also encourage the student to actively and responsibly engage in the proces. The content should simulate real live concrete application as much as possible, in my opinion with the necessary simplifications according to learners ability at a particular moment. Collaborative learning should also be integrated as to enable students to develop, compare, and understand multiple perspectives on an issue. Reflection on the own development in educational, psychological en social areas should be included. Classical teaching should be kept to a minimum while the teacher functions as a peer.



Grabinger, R.S. and Dunlap, J.C. (1995). Rich Environments for Active Learning: A Definition, ALT-J, 2, 5-34.

Samuel Pierre (2010). E-Learning Networked Environments and Architectures: A Knowledge Processing Perspective. Montreal: Springer. 448.

Mobile Learning: what is it and why should you care?, Nicky Hockly

Technology-enabled active learning environments: an appraisal


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