Monday, 10 October 2016

Putting learning into learning technology: developing a pedagogical rationale to deliver eLearning

Well after submitting my dissertation on 22 July and then getting the results on 22 September, a mountain has been climbed!  I can’t believe it, I really can’t.  I’ve made it (and survived)!!!  From special needs classes at school to masters, what an absolute achievement.  I’m incredibly proud of myself (and I don’t say that as much as I should).  It’s been ten years in the making, see my Acknowledgements and Dedications section to know more behind my educational motivation.  All I had to do was BELIEVE I can, just as I said I would.

Overall I got a B (pass with merit) for my entire masters.  I'm really excited to celebrate my hard work at the graduation in November, I think it will all sink in then.  I am extremely gutted that I couldn't quite reach the distinction.  However, it was my highest graded for research compared to other modules.  I have also proved myself by gaining 4 distinctions throughout the course.  It was a struggle at times but I had to remember where I started from.  Remembering how I left school with three GCSE's (D, E, F) and all the milestones achieved along the way.  Then starting this masters and knowing nothing about academic writing or research to knowing how to conduct, compile and write it up.  Plus, I have been able to do this masters without completing a degree (Level 6) before it, so that in itself is just one giant milestone.

As a whole my MSc consisted of the following modules, which I hyperlink to other pieces of course work:

  • Understanding E-Learning
  • Introduction to Action Research in Teaching and Learning
  • E-Tutoring (facilitation and essay)
  • Theory and Evaluation of E-learning (ePortfolio and report)
  • Dissertation

I printed a copy off for myself that lives on my bookshelf in my home, along with other pieces of work.  It will be good to reflect on this from time to time.

It's incredible to see how the main dissertation has evolved from the proposal I did in November 2015.  After months of working hard on my dissertation this is what has been created.  So, here it is I hope you enjoy it!

EDIT: I was lucky enough to get asked to be filmed for the Technology Enhanced Learning student profile by the university.

Putting learning into learning technology: developing a pedagogical rationale to deliver eLearning

Daniel Scott

A dissertation submitted to the University of Huddersfield in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Technology Enhanced Learning MSc


July 2016

Word count: 12,000

Table of Contents

Title iii
Abstract iv
List of Figures v
List of Tables vi
Dedications and Acknowledgements vii
List of Abbreviations viii
Glossary ix
Chapter one: Introduction and Context 1
1.1 Introduction to the chapter 1
1.2 Study overview 1
1.3 National context 1
1.4 Local context 2
1.5 Rationale 3
1.6 Terminology for the study 5
1.7 Aims of the study 6
1.8 Structure of the study 6
1.9 Chapter summary 7
Chapter two: Reviewing the Literature 8
2.1 Introduction to the chapter 8
2.2 Progressing teaching with digital technology 8
2.3 Natively speaking 10
2.4 Digital literacy 10
2.5 Digital practitioner 11
2.6 Display, Engage, Participation 15
2.7 Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition 16
2.8 Chapter summary 18
Chapter three: Methodology 19
3.1 Introduction to the chapter 19
3.2 Methodology 19
3.3 Methods 20
3.4 Philosophical position, positionality and reflexivity 21
3.5 Ethics 21
3.9 Chapter summary 24
Chapter four: Data Analysis and Outcomes 25
4.1 Introduction to the chapter 25
4.2 Identify the ILT skills, confidence and practices of tutors 25
4.2.1 Skills 25
4.2.2 Practices 27
4.2.3 Confidence 31
4.3 Evaluate tutors practice against the DEP and SAMR models 33
4.3.1 DEP model 33
4.3.2 SAMR model 34
4.4 Make recommendations regarding the development of the College eLearning strategy 35
4.5 Chapter summary 36
Chapter five: Conclusions and Recommendations 38
5.1 Introduction to the chapter 38
5.2 Summary of outcomes 38
5.2.1 Awareness of how ICT can be used in teaching practices 38
5.2.2 Critical reflection and the reluctance to change established practices 39
5.2.3 Proactive researchers 40
5.3 Areas for further enquiry 41
5.4 Professional development 41
5.5 Personal development 42
5.6 Dissemination 42
5.7 Evaluation of the study 43
References 44
Appendices 49
Appendix one. 49
Appendix two. 58. 58


Putting learning into learning technology: developing a pedagogical rationale to deliver eLearning.


This study attempts to understand how tutors are using digital technology (DT) in their practices in an FE college to determine how effective it is to them and the organisation. It explores digital literacy (DL) skills, the role and expectations of being a digital practitioner (DP) and discussing the change and need for a new pedagogy to support the college’s eLearning strategy.

Action research (AR) was used to carry out the study. Data was collected through a college-wide online survey targeted at all tutors and a group session with information learning technology (ILT) advanced practitioners (AP) to capture their experiences of implementing and using DT. The study assesses tutors ILT practices at a further education college and how they meet the needs and expectations of 21st Century learning and teaching. Tutors’ ILT practices were evaluated against the Display, Engage, Participation (DEP) model to determine their ILT effectiveness. The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) model was used to determine how tutors have redefined their teaching practices with DT. The study concludes with a summary of the main findings and suggesting further areas of investigation and enquiry.

List of Figures

Figure 1. Bennett’s (2014) model of the digital practitioner. The arrow going up is different as it starts at practices level. 14
Figure 2. The Display, Engage, Participation model (Scott, 2014a). 15
Figure 3. The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model, taken from Lubega et al (2014). 17
Figure 4. Responses for CPD requirements. 27
Figure 5. Mobile device responses from the online survey. 28
Figure 6. Moodle responses from the online survey. 28
Figure 7. Social networking responses from the online survey. 29
Figure 8. Interactive whiteboard responses from the online survey. 29
Figure 9. Planet eStream responses from the online survey. 30

List of Tables

Table 1. Likert scale responses of ICT skills from the online survey. 26
Table 2. Likert scale responses of ILT importance from the online survey. 31 31

Dedications and Acknowledgements

I am truly grateful for being given this opportunity to complete a masters level qualification. It has been a very long journey to get to this level of achievement but it has been one of my ambitions that I have wanted to fulfil. This work is dedicated to those who feel they could not achieve education.

Thank you for the opportunity to express, extend and create knowledge in a subject I am deeply passionate about. Thank you to my friends, family and colleagues for your patience in allowing me to accomplish a personal and professional goal. Thank you to the college who employs me and have funded my study and the staff who participated and gave me their time and support. Thank you to the Association for Learning Technology members for their endless support and inspiration. Thank you to the college for supporting my ambition and Liz Bennett and Richard Nelson for advising me throughout this study. Thank you to my partner Gary for your patience, solid support and encouragement throughout the final stages of completing this goal. Without these people (and many more) I would not be able to develop my knowledge and skills and do what I do best; share my wisdom with you. I hope that I inspire others to believe in and improve themselves and achieve their own educational goals.

List of Abbreviations


Chapter one: Introduction and Context

1.1 Introduction to the chapter

This chapter introduces the environment and background of the study by providing the context in which it takes place. The study establishes the purpose of why it is being undertaken and the aims it attempts to achieve, my position in terms of my professional role in developing and progressing learning technology in an organisation, discusses and evaluates the need for an underpinning pedagogy to deliver the organisation’s eLearning strategy.

1.2 Study overview

The study explores how tutors at a further education (FE) college in the north of England are using and developing Information Learning Technology (ILT). It attempts to determine what and how tutors are using digital technology (DT) in their practices whilst assessing their practices and determining their needs for further development. The premise is that tutors are using DT well in the FE college, but how effective it is in their practice remains uncertain. The impact it has on both the tutor and learner still need to be determined to ensure accurate training is being provided to encourage Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and progression of DT.

1.3 National context

The study is set in an outstanding FE college and at the time of the study it is expected to deliver 10% of its learning online as per the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) to include online components of curriculum content (Hancock & Lambert 2014). This is planned to be increased by 50% in 2017/2018. Clarification on the online components was provided by The Skills Funding Agency by stating that it is:

“when learners learn online, interact with other learners online or use online content, systems, tools and services with little, if any, direct tutor support (2014, p 1).”

A recommendation from the FELTAG report was ‘Capability and Capacity of FE and Skills Providers’ that derived from surveys carried out with managers and lecturers in the FE and Skills sector that identified a lack of leadership and support for learning technology innovation. In July 2014, Laurillard and Deepwell (2014) reported on a cross-sector consultation survey that was targeted at academic staff nationally and internationally for the Educational Technology Action Group (ETAG) that was created to extend the work of FELTAG. ETAG was created to test FELTAG findings across a broader group of practitioners from all education sectors. The report summarises findings on the effective use of learning technology in education.

This has increased pressure on tutors to provide their curriculum into a variety of online methods. Especially those tutors that are under-skilled in this area and who are reluctant to use DT. As a result this has increased demand for training and inspiration for tutors to acquire new techniques to fulfil this requirement. It has also increased pressure for leadership and direction during this challenging time.

The college is also regulated by Ofsted and judged on how tutors use DT to deliver and assess learning (Ofsted, 2015). It is paramount that the FE college maintains its outstanding status, however, it is imperative that teaching practice is continuously developing and with DT to ensure that learners’ needs succeed but receive modern 21st Century learning methods.

1.4 Local context

The college has around 9,500 students studying on various programmes including vocational, A-Levels, apprenticeships, part-time and higher education. The data for this study was collected from April to November 2015 with the majority of the data collected between April to May 2015. The data was collected through an online survey to suggest improvements for staff training for the next academic year.

The college has a great awareness of applying learning technology and eLearning practices, however, it has been identified through my observation of teaching practices and progress meetings that there is a lack of understanding of what the purpose is and why DT needs to be embraced. DT appears to have a culture of ‘what’s in it for me’ of both tutor and their learners. Blended learning is a method that still needs further refinement and clarity of what actually is to be made online.

My role in the FE college is a Learning Support Technologist. I endeavour to collaborate with academic staff to increase their curiosity in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and to raise their Digital Literacy (DL) awareness and skills in implementing it in their subject areas. This includes researching, developing, promoting and evaluating the diversity of ILT such as online tools and devices that can potentially enhance teaching practices and learners learning. Additionally, I line manage and assess internal and external Level 3 and 4 Digital Learning Design apprentices in creating eLearning materials and developing learning technology practices.

1.5 Rationale

In my opinion, the college’s eLearning strategy lacks direction and articulation of pedagogical change in a digital age by not having an underpinning pedagogy running through it. A strategy in place is not enough for the implementation of it in pedagogical processes and is critical (Lubega et al, 2014). It could be that tutors and senior management view that DT is an add-on rather than current practice. This results in a conflict between service and strategy where resistance to change increases and becomes less progressive for the college. There is a clear need to craft a successful change process that incorporates both pedagogy and DT. According to Bryant's (2016) experiences of educational management, DT challenges the primacy of tutors goals, beliefs and practice. However, ineffective use of time, resources, policy, custom and practice reduce the chances of creating an environment for change. In this context strategic leaders need to construct plans, strategies and arguments to ensure that pedagogical change is implemented effectively. To inspire and implement change a ‘middle out’ approach change can be led from the middle rather than from top down or bottom up (Bryant, 2016). This could encourage and disperse ILT practice that is occurring centrally in an organisation and where understanding is perhaps best known. Impact is improved through award, reward, evaluation, dissemination and mentoring. The challenge is to explore new pedagogical ideas and Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools that will advance current teaching methods as opposed to reinforcing 20th Century methods (Redmond, 2011). Furthermore, CPD has been reported as focussed upon skills rather than pedagogical change and evaluation on impact of learning (Laurillard & Deepwell, 2014).

As Conroy claims in her statement about the FE and skills sector on their use of blended and online learning:

“‘People' issues are the major barrier to developing and implementing a coherent digital learning strategy. The research highlighted that leaders and managers lacked the skills to develop and implement a coherent digital strategy coupled with a large proportion of teachers/trainers who did not have sufficient digital literacy skills” (2015, p 1).

This establishes the need and requirement to provide a robust eLearning strategy that is underpinned with a pedagogy that both tutors and the organisation understand that develops ILT practice. This is coupled with the effective deployment of CPD and leadership as reported by Laurillard and Deepwell (2014).

The purpose of the study is to capture current ILT skills and practice that is being implemented at the college and to evaluate against a suitable pedagogy that has the potential to underpin the college’s eLearning strategy. The college eLearning strategy brings both ICT and ILT functions together that are driven by each other. The strategy is in place to increase the progression of 21st Century learning and teaching to improve college outcomes and sustain learning delivery and communication through ICT. However, the strategy heavily relies on a safe, secure and reliable ICT infrastructure that supports the needs of both learners and tutors.

The value of the study lies within the usefulness of the pedagogical rationale that provides a framework for improving teaching practice and to further develop to reflect 21 Century learning and teaching. The study introduces a model named Display, Engage, Participation (DEP) that identifies how tutors are using DT in their practices. Data is amplified through the application of the DEP and Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) models that illustrate how tutors may not be adapting their teaching methods to 21st Century learning and teaching. The barriers of implementing ILT identify why tutors are possibly not advancing towards new teaching methods. Data can indicate areas where teaching practice with ILT can be improved and sustained and where potential skills gaps need to be bridged and developed. Furthermore, the study provides an overview of ILT usage where it can be benchmarked against other educational establishments.

This study is particularly useful to the college and to my professional role in that it will enable me to gain a deeper understanding of CPD requirements of tutors. The study also provides richer understandings of what and how tutors are using ILT in which I can provide relevant Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) theory to improve their practice. It identifies barriers to using ILT and how DT reluctant individuals can be included and benefit from improving their DL skills. Additionally, the study supports the college’s eLearning strategy in which all tutors are expected to deliver learning through DT and continuously embed this with their lessons, course and curriculum areas.

Furthermore, the study provides a solid basis that the learning technology team is vital to upskilling tutors and transforming traditional pedagogy into digital pedagogy. The learning technology team can prioritise pedagogy over DT and carry out research and disseminate techniques for successful pedagogical implementation (Lubega et al 2014).

1.6 Terminology for the study

Throughout the study the term ‘college’ has been used to refer to the FE college that the study takes place within. The term tutor has been used interchangeably to refer to all academic staff in which the data has been collected from and in which the study is targeted at.

Throughout this study I define it to be an investigation to providing a robust pedagogical rationale to underpin tutor ILT practice and to progress this further. The term pedagogical rationale has been used to provide a framework in which tutors, curriculum and senior management can further understand the use and implications that academics face when implementing learning technology.

1.7 Aims of the study

The following are aims of the study that have been designed to attempt to make a judgement on what and how tutors are using ILT in their curriculum areas, to make an informed evaluation of their practices:

1. Identify the ILT skills, confidence and practices of tutors
2. Evaluate tutors practice against the DEP and SAMR models
3. Make recommendations regarding the development of the college’s eLearning strategy

1.8 Structure of the study

Chapter 1 starts by setting the scene why and where the study is taking place. Chapter 2 introduces literature that is pertinent to the design of the study. Chapter 3 explains the rationale of how the study was carried out and the approach to data analysis of the samples. Chapter 4 analyses and evaluates the data collected and attempts to understand it through the literature introduced in Chapter 2. Chapter 5 concludes with a summary of outcomes from the study, explanation of recommendations for further enquiry. Review of enhancements to my personal and professional development. Finally, the methods of dissemination and evaluation of my study.

1.9 Chapter summary

In this chapter, the premise of the study was identified and explained and why it is being carried out. The relevancy of both national and local context of the study were discussed on how they relate to the study. Explanation of the purpose of the study for both organisation and my role and how it affects my professionalism. The terminology and structure of the study was outlined and the aims were introduced. The following chapter introduces a review of digital practice and pedagogical theories that will be used to support the context of the study.

Chapter two: Reviewing the Literature

2.1 Introduction to the chapter

The aims of this chapter are to introduce and discuss concepts that provide the underpinning theoretical perspectives of the study. The review commences with how the role of teaching has diversified that is now more digitally involved. The review discusses literature around DL and the Digital Practitioner (DP) which provide frameworks in an attempt to understand how tutor’s ILT skills and abilities relate to how they approach DT. These two aspects in particular form beliefs and expectations of being a DP. The chapter concludes with a discussion on how tutors are using ILT practice can be determined through DEP and SAMR models.

2.2 Progressing teaching with digital technology

Teaching with DT differs to the way we learn from and interact with it (Johnson et al, 2016). Perhaps this is due to teachers’ diverse techniques of delivering learning content. For learners, maybe this is due to their flexible approach on how they take and adapt the learning content.

Learning is a process of knowledge construction that involves both tutor and learner irrespective if it is face-to-face or digital. Both components arrive with different goals to achieve towards, in which learning and teaching activities will be dictated by the availability of tools in the process. Learners have preferences for different delivery methods of the learning content due to how they act on it (Lubega et al, 2014). When tutors adapt from traditional teaching methods to ones where they are blended with the use of DT, tutors are encouraged by the college’s eLearning strategy to redesign towards constructivist approaches where the learner plays an active role in constructing their own knowledge and understanding (Lubega et al, 2014). This can result in challenges such as change in teaching methods, roles, responsibilities, relationships and presence (House of Lords 2015, Redmond, 2011).

Some tutors experience the reluctance to progress towards current teaching methods by replicating traditional methods, which does not capitalise on the dynamic and flexible nature of TEL and the learning environment. Possibly due to their past face-to-face teaching experiences of being constrained by a physical learning space with limited affordances and learning strategies (Thomas, 2010). In this changing pace tutors need to redefine themselves to reflect the changing landscape that is the digital age. Tutors need to make a shift from disseminating information to where learning environments are created for learners to construct knowledge through interactions (Redmond, 2011).

Through the ongoing prevalence of new and emerging technologies, perhaps tutors feel they are only required to ‘keep up to date’ with the latest DT and trends. However, it is much more than horizon scanning, tutors need to modify their traditional practices that capitalise on the affordances of DT (Redmond, 2011). However, not everyone is easily open to change and its challenges. In order for DT to be used effectively a certain degree of DL is required. Perhaps the understanding lies with tutor’s confidence of their ICT abilities and attitudes. Maybe tutors teach on how they learn, which perhaps reflects in their ILT practice. It is likely that tutors are not taught with embedded ICT from their teachers and may have impacted on their abilities and attitudes. Perhaps this is because tutors are typically trained academically but deliver vocationally, especially in the context of FE where learning and assessment is less academic like higher education.

Teaching has often been delivered in a monomodal form. Which primarily consists of text, verbal and written methods, whereas learning is multimodal to enable meaning making (Haythornthwaite & Andrews, 2011). Laurillard (2012) suggests that teaching is an art and that tutors need to create a powerful experience to their audience, therefore creative design should be paramount. Teaching is a design science in that it builds design principles rather than theories and heuristics of practice. Design science uses what is known about teaching to attain the goal of student learning and then uses the implementation of its designs to keep improving them (Laurillard, 2012). It is within this creative design that tutors can find a balance of in utilising their existing DL skills whilst stretching themselves further through their practice. Teachers now need to become proactive researchers by retrieving new information and experimenting this by putting it into practice and critically evaluating the outcomes (Laurillard, 2012).

2.3 Natively speaking

Prensky (2001) introduced the notion that learners of today that were born in the digital age are designated as ‘Digital Natives’. Those that were not born in the digital age but are curious about DT are designated as ‘Digital Immigrants’, which can be viewed as teachers. Many Digital Immigrants are teaching Digital Natives which has a direct conflict against 21st Century learning and teaching methods (Lubega et al, 2014). Prensky argued that should it be that the learners learn old ways or do teachers learn the new ways. It is unlikely the learners will revert as the increasing diversity and flexibility of emerging technologies grows frequently. As a result, teachers need to reconsider their methodologies and content to meet the needs and expectations of their learners. Teachers have to learn to communicate in the style of their learners and at the pace and access they are accustomed to. Teachers need to invent new methodologies and approaches for their subjects and perhaps allow their learners to guide and educate them through the process (White, 2015).

Since Prensky’s claim of Digital Natives, Bennett et al (2008) discovered that Digital Natives was a generalised term that requires further inquiry of evidence to inform change. Furthermore, age does not equate to confidence, meaning that Digital Natives can be uncomfortable in using various DTs (Johnson et al, 2016). Perhaps to solve this challenge is to use innovative approaches of implementing DL into curriculum objectives and teacher education that is visible to both teacher and learner.

2.4 Digital literacy

 To determine the effectiveness of ILT practice, the skills and confidence of tutors must be appropriately assessed. Clear distinctions between skills and practice need to be established. ICT is concerned with the use and function of electronic hardware and software whilst DL is concerned with the understanding and skill of developing ICT usage. DL is about encouraging meaning-making, rationalising and critical thinking to develop creativity and innovation with digital information, media, devices and tools (White, 2015). Tutors need to proactively work with DTs, not just try occasionally and know about the benefits and limitations (Rebbeck, 2016). Thus being better equipped to control, craft and personalise DT as necessary. It is important to recognise that it is the institution and its tutors that validates the practical use of DL through the design and delivery of the curriculum, thus determining where DL is embedded (Bennett, 2014). According to Beetham’s work with Jisc (undateda) on the ‘Six Elements of Digital Capabilities’ model which was adapted from the original seven elements, DL can be defined into six key aspects. With focus on the ICT proficiency element within the teacher profile capabilities, it claims that teaching staff should be able to:

“Critically assess the benefits/constraints of ICT applications for learning, teaching and assessment; adapt and embed ICT applications to meet the needs of learners; recover from failures; stay up to date with ICT as it evolves and adopt new systems, applications and approaches into teaching practice” (undateda).

The functional skills of ICT affects teachers and their teaching practice which results in pressure to adapt and develop their DL skills (House of Lords, 2015). Tutors have the skills and creative abilities to design and embed learning activities that allow the use of DT. The confidence or anxiety a tutor has of DT can impact on how learners view, use and understand it (White, 2015). However, according to White (2015) a digitally literate person can be summarised as being adaptable, creative, competent, confident and having the willingness to learn, which are all effective components of being a DP.

2.5 Digital practitioner

In parallel with DL, tutors need to understand how effectively to apply DT in learning and teaching. As the changing nature of learners and DT grows it has required tutors to reflect on their teaching practices (Redmond, 2011). It is essential that tutors have an understanding of the role and expectations of a DP in order to improve their technological practices. A DP is about individuals (teachers) having confidence which is a critical factor in the use of DTs and a wider understanding and awareness of how ICT can be used in their teaching practices (Rebbeck et al, 2012). This can be defined as:

“cultural acceptance of technologies in the professional life of a teacher” (Rebbeck et al 2012, p 12).
However, Weller (2011) claims that critical reflection and the reluctance to change established practices are limitations enabling digital practice. Weller also introduced levels of engagement that can be used to develop an understanding of how teachers engage with new DT. Weller suggests that these four levels as governmental and funding body, institutional, disciplinary and individual. Thus provide the thinking process that a teacher may undertake when establishing how to use DT within their practices.

According to Rebbeck (2013) their Meta Skills idea was created to characterise a new teacher mind-set that was based on confidence where enquiring minds is at the centre. The value in this approach is that teachers can take their formal training to use in critical reading, reflection and the classroom to use as evidence. Over time this can build up a sense of direction and application, which increases confidence and change in teaching practice. The following introduces Meta Skills as characterised by Rebbeck that are used to ascertain this type of confidence. Drive to think and work flexibly: using DT in other ways than originally prescribed. Ability to adapt DT to purposeful pedagogy: not viewing DT as an end, but that proactively contributes to learning and teaching. Vision to create imaginative blended learning design: learning and demonstrating creativity by re-designing learning and teaching methods with DT. Curiosity to involve learners in curriculum delivery and design: including learners in the design and personalisation of learning. Imagination to develop future learning plans: using DT to support learners plan and manage their own journey. Desire to account for personal and purposeful effectiveness: using DT to encourage and enhance reflective practice. Capacity to develop collaborative and co-operative working: scope and locate good practice internal and external to their organisation and to collaborate and assimilate ideas.

Rebbeck (2013) introduces a ‘developing a teaching body’ where one:

“recognises the constant challenge of the new and with the imagination to apply the properties of technology to purposeful and effective teaching and learning.”

A ‘developed teaching body’ is where an individual tackles this with confidence. Confidence in this context according to Rebbeck is when a confident teaching body is not afraid of the challenges new technologies bring to their practices. However, when relating this to Bennett’s (2014) research of their DP framework emphasises that confidence is broken down into aspects. Figure 1 illustrates the model that distinguishes and articulates between the aspects of access, skills, practices and attributes in the use of DT in a hierarchy. However, the model does not depict any social, cultural, ideological and political that influence individual’s experiences. The model has been adapted from Sharpe and Beetham’s (2011) ‘Digital Literacies Framework’ and is built upon the work of Maslow’s (1943) ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ that indicates the underpinning motivations of how teachers approach DT.

Figure 1. Bennett’s (2014) model of the digital practitioner. The arrow going up is different as it starts at practices level.

Bennett’s (2014) DP framework is a way of modelling characteristics of tutors that use DT in their practice and is adapted from Rebbeck’s (2012) definition of the DP. The descriptors are to be used to further discuss and challenge tutors disposition in their use of DT. Moving up the pyramid relates to how tutors use DT and drives forward their beliefs and attitudes. Attitudes and motivation becomes digitally confident in that tutors will explore further use of DT in their practices which moves back down the pyramid. Referring back to Weller (2011) this is where scholarly practice could be utilised more to hone in on tutors digital understanding to acquire new practices.

Alongside Rebbeck et al’s (2012) developed teaching body, Bennett’s (2014) DP model illustrates the following descriptors. Access: networked devices and applications and a network of people that can support them using and supplying ideas of DT. Skills: use DT to suit needs and manage the boundaries between work and private time. Practices: tutors can explore and experiment DT capability and potential, design and facilitate learning activities with DT and behaving ethically and morally and reflecting and evaluating their practice with DT. Attributes: confident, convinced and a positive attitude towards TEL, willingness to take risks for change and willing to invest time to explore and evaluate TEL further.

2.6 Display, Engage, Participation

DEP (Scott, 2014a) as Figure 2 illustrates, is a model derived from a professional conversation with a colleague in 2014 on how tutors use the college’s Virtual Learning Environment. From this conversation it was decided that it could be applied to learning technology wholly. DEP is similar to Laurillard’s (2002, p 191) template for ‘designing affordances for learning’ where learning activities are presented as a scaffold within DT through adaptive, communicative, interactive, narrative and productive media forms. Designing learning with these media forms enables a progressive approach to the application of DT. The DEP model acts as a guide in which educators can assess themselves by entering at any point on how they use their selected DT for both design and delivery methods. All of which to encourage deeper learning and independence.

Figure 2. The Display, Engage, Participation model (Scott, 2014a).

DEP is underpinned with the following principles that are considered to be used when tutors use ILT in their practices. Display: learners are expected to view documents, online information, videos or other media. Display is mostly concerned with rote learning where information is being conveyed but not being applied in new situations by the learner (Petty, 2014). Display considers visual principles that are applied to develop interest cues for learners. These can be in the form of context related and accessible images, videos and animation etc as well as text and documents (Albion, 1999). The tutor defines the information to be displayed before deciding on applying the visual cues. Inspiration can be drawn from graphical arts and techniques, visual and verbal communication to clarify presentation ideas (Bodart et al 1994).

Engage: learners are expected to take information and become familiar with it but not fully understanding the depth of it. Learners review information from Display but re-purposing the content without fully exploring the breadth and depth of it. Engage relies heavily on interaction principles such as Yacci (2000) where a mutually coherent message must be sent to and back from individuals to create and fulfil a feedback loop.

Participation: expects learners to independently and actively create content with their own understanding. Participation requires learners to be self-motivated in using information to create their own conceptual understandings. Participation is built upon collaborative characteristics in being involved with others in the process of constructing knowledge. However, cooperative learning may be considered if learners are to create individual understandings whilst remaining in a group (Laurillard, 2012).

2.7 Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition

In order to determine the level of ILT usage and integration of the tutors, the SAMR model has been introduced to make a judgement on how tutors in the college are using DT against their practices. The SAMR model is a transformative ICT based pedagogy that was popularised by Dr Ruben Puetendura that enables tutors to design, develop and implement digital learning opportunities and experiences that utilise technology to support higher level achievement for learners (Lubega et al 2014). Figure 3 illustrates the stages that are required to be undertaken. The augmentation and substitution stages are used to enhance the learning and teaching process whilst the redefinition and modification stages are to assist in the redesign of tasks.

Figure 3. The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model, taken from Lubega et al (2014).

Currently there is little empirical evidence to explain the change in teaching practice with technology that reflects 21st Century challenges and expectations. The SAMR model can be used to transform and redefine teaching practices that support these challenges and expectations. If tutors undertake this systematic process of deciding what elements of their delivery needs to be redefined without skipping any stage of development, they could have better precision and utilisation of DT. Thus supporting and progressing the college’s eLearning strategy.

2.8 Chapter summary

This chapter examined how tutors need to progress towards DPs to meet the needs, challenges and expectations of today’s learners and teaching practices. DL was discussed on how that leads to being a confident DP. DP was explained on what it means and takes to use DT effectively in teaching practices. The DEP model was introduced on how this is used to indicate how a tutor is currently using DT in line with being a DP. The concept of a pedagogical rationale called the SAMR model was introduced as a way to understand current teaching practices with DT that could improve ILT implementation and practices. The next chapter explains the methodology that was used to carry out the study and describes the methods to acquire the data for the study.

Chapter three: Methodology

3.1 Introduction to the chapter

The study focusses on how tutors are using DT in their teaching practices and the effectiveness this has on the college’s eLearning strategy. This research aims to capture tutors skills and expectations of being a DP and the pedagogical affect it has on their practices. This chapter starts with the research strategy and methods. My positionality is explained and ethical guidelines I considered are outlined. The implementation of the methods I used are described.

3.2 Methodology

This study is based in a FE college that is introduced in Chapter one. The aim of the study is to determine tutors’ impact of ILT practices and to make recommendations for supporting and developing the college’s eLearning strategy with the SAMR model. I employed action research (AR) as the most appropriate methodical approach. However, similar methodologies such as case study, ethnography and phenomenology were considered as the study relies upon peoples’ experiences (Denscombe, 2014). I identified an area for improvement which is the need to improve teaching practice with ILT and further develop this to strengthen the college’s eLearning strategy with a sufficient and reliable pedagogy (Koshy, 2010).

AR facilitates evaluation and reflection to enable changes in educational practice to be implemented for individuals and the organisation. AR has been applied as the research strategy to shape and inform a plan of action to obtain data for the aims set. Whilst the methods are the tools that are used to obtain the required facts and evidence against the aims, such as the questionnaire and group workshop I have used. This research is an intervention to find out how ILT practice is being delivered in the College and how that can be further developed in line with the eLearning strategy. The data samples include a broad range of behaviours such as cautious, sceptical, enthusiastic and innovative tutors in using ILT.

The employment of a triangulated approach between Rebbeck’s et al (2012), Bennett’s (2014) DP and Scott’s (2014a) DEP models will be applied in conjunction with a thematic method. This requires extensive identification of themes in which they need to be organised and interpreted for interrogation and aggregation (Burton et al, 2011). Content, conversational, discourse and narrative analysis methods were considered, however a thematic approach is appropriate to identify tutors skills (DL), confidence (DP) and practice (DEP) between each model, to arrive at a consensus on how tutors’ ILT practice corresponds against the SAMR model. The data will then determine if the SAMR model is a suitable pedagogy for supporting the college’s eLearning strategy.

3.3 Methods

In order to select the appropriate methods of obtaining data for my aims and to keep in line with them, I regularly referred back to my set aims:

1. Identify the ILT skills, confidence and practices of tutors
2. Evaluate tutors practice against the DEP and SAMR models
3. Make recommendations regarding the development of the college’s eLearning strategy

Data collection choices were reviewed such as questionnaires, interviews, observations and documents. An online questionnaire was appropriate to collect college-wide data of tutors (Denscombe, 2014). However, utilising an online questionnaire may exclude less digitally literate individuals, but would return a greater number of responses due to time constraints for both researcher and participant. A second sample of a group workshop was used as a holistic method to acquire further data from personal experiences from the tutors which enhances the integrity of the study. Both methods predominately produce qualitative data due to the textual responses which requires further organisation and interpretation. However, it can be argued that the questionnaire does output quantitative data as I am measuring characteristics of individual’s approaches (Burton et al, 2011).

3.4 Philosophical position, positionality and reflexivity

According to Webb (1991) epistemology has two frameworks; positivistic and interpretivist. In terms of AR, I define my philosophical position to be a naturalistic interpretivist as I am attempting to understand individuals and the organisation naturally. Removing none-sensory and intangible information such as beliefs, values or intentions. The study has generated knowledge within my context which sits firmly within the interpretive paradigm (Koshy, 2010).

The validity of this study is raised through reflexive awareness. This was included by my prior knowledge and experience of the subject which was mentioned in Chapter one. Additionally, the recruitment of a critical friend was introduced from an external organisation to provide an ‘outsider’s view’. They are, however an experienced Learning Technologist in which they reviewed the value and purposefulness of the research. Both of which enabled me to return to review the research and my position regularly. To highlight the subjectivity of my research, I will briefly summarise my professional position in terms of history, experience and assumptions that influence the data I collect that are relevant to the study. As introduced in Chapter one, I have been employed in the role of Learning Support Technologist for 6+ years at the FE college. I train teaching staff and oversee their development and application of DT. I consider myself to be proactive and pragmatic about the use of DT in education. As a result I am highly influential in tutors’ uptake of DT. This is because I am seen as a primary source of ILT knowledge and practice. Further discussion of positionality is found in the limitations section.

3.5 Ethics

British Educational Research Association (BERA, 2011) informed the conduct of my research. The principles were considered during the design and conduct of both of the online survey and group workshop. When issuing the online survey and planning the group workshop I explained the purpose clearly to participants and that it was a voluntary task in which they could end at any time. Participants were assured that the data collected would be anonymised and kept confidential throughout the study. Care was taken when the online survey was designed into sections to avoid participants becoming fatigued with the amount of questions whilst the group workshop was short and sharp in collecting views on experiences. Sensitivity was high when designing the online survey by approaching participants’ skills and confidence of ILT by capturing their efforts rather than identifying what they are not doing. The group workshop was approached in a similar style and but greeted by a positive and encouraging voice to start the session. Empathy was applied in both the online survey and group workshop on participants’ ages, backgrounds and experiences of using ILT. Assumptions can be easily made on these aspects on individual’s use of DT. Their abilities and capabilities are a priority to this research which requires upmost respect, if was dismissed it could affect their future confidence or aspirations of using DT (White, 2015).

In relation to my position at the college, during the samples I refrained from injecting or influencing any kind of Learning Technologist behaviour by not expressing my own suggestions or opinions but allowing freedom and purity of the data. However, due to my position perhaps individuals felt compelled to provide positive answers to exceed mine or the organisations expectations in fear of performance related issues.

3.6 Sample one: online survey

The online survey (appendix one) had a total of one hundred and ninety eight respondents from across the college. This method was appropriate as aim one is about a broad descriptive understanding from across the whole college of all tutors’ skills. Thus those in non-academic, business support and managerial roles were excluded from the study. The study focusses on front line bottom up ILT practice that will be used to support the developmental change of ILT application for senior managers that are accountable for implementing the college’s eLearning strategy. The design of the online survey reflects Bennett’s (2014) model to capture the skills, confidence and practices of the tutors of using DT with pedagogy. The aim of the survey is to measure the degree of teacher confidence and the application of ILT that is on display (Rebbeck et al, 2012). The sample size for the online survey needed to have a large response rate to obtain a wider and deeper scope of tutors at the college. Tutors were asked to indicate their method of using technology through the DEP model which determine their approach and practices in using technology. The online survey was the primary method that was devised to collect a diversity of information on how the college tutors are using ILT in their practices. Using the online survey in this sense encourages more responses than a paper-based one due the time and effort that is required to complete one. The online survey was kept short but detailed to encourage participants to give meaningful answers. Using this method was appropriate to target all tutors as many work in different geographical locations. Thus distribution was paramount in ensuring that many tutors participated to provide a more detailed analysis of the data (Burton et al, 2011).

3.7 Sample two: group workshop

A small group (appendix two) of ILT AP teachers was formed for the group workshop. The group workshop was held on 13 November 2015 and had eight participants in attendance that were from different subject backgrounds. The group workshop was sufficient to gain a wider understanding of potential issues and barriers they experience when implementing technology into their practices. Confident ILT users were selected as they have significant impact on the college for their role. The session was in narrative form in that participants were asked split into groups and to discuss their strengths and weaknesses of using ILT in their own practices. Participants responded by using pens and flipchart paper to jot down their answers. This method contrasts with the online survey in that it does not prescribe any data but allows freedom of speech and views (Bell & Waters, 2014). It encourages a compare and contrast of the data collected from the online survey that correlates with the strengths and weaknesses of ILT practice.

3.8 Limitations of the samples

The online survey had a simple layout with sections which possibly increased participant fatigue, which may have discouraged further responses. The questions I used were straight forward, yet the use of language required explanations before participants answered them. Again, this may have been off putting to the participant. Where participants were asked open-ended questions, the responses were sometimes just one word, which indicates boredom. However, most questions were closed in the sense of answering what I had indicted them to answer, which could also affect the validity of the data through subjectivity (Koshy, 2010).

The group workshop was similar to a focus group, participants were required to work in groups and I asked them what the strengths and what were the barriers they were against in using ILT. Each participant discussed and noted down their thoughts. I may have influenced the data by direct questioning participants of areas to think about. The timing was short for this session which resulted in rushed answers with lack of critical thinking. The environment became somewhat noisy and distracting which perhaps resulted in missing data. The age of the participants may have also affected their views due to different levels of understandings and abilities of DT.

3.9 Chapter summary

This chapter explained the research methodology and instruments used which were AR, an online survey and a group workshop. The qualitative data produced will be analysed in a thematic approach. My positionality of the study was outlined and the implementation of ethics and research methods were described. The next chapter presents the data that has been collected. It continues the argument of how tutors are using DT within their role as a DP which may have a negative impact on the college’s eLearning strategy.

Chapter four: Data Analysis and Outcomes

4.1 Introduction to the chapter

This chapter examines the findings from my data collected from the previous chapter. This chapter is structured around the application of Taylor and Gibbs (2010) coding to identify and categorise themes from the data. The findings from the online survey and group workshop have been combined and discussed against each study aim.

4.2 Identify the ILT skills, confidence and practices of tutors

The following summarises the answers taken from the questions and responses from the online survey and the group workshop.

4.2.1 Skills

Referring back to Jisc’s (undateda) ICT proficiency element in Chapter two, this section focusses on Table 1 for the outcomes relating to tutors ICT skills. Tutors rated highly significant as being able to use the range of ICTs, thus being able to assess benefits and any constraints to their application. This suggests that tutors are capable in adapting ICTs to their needs and their learner’s needs. It appears that tutors are less skilful with DTs such as collaborative documents, online discussions and ePortfolios as these were rated low. Planet eStream and screencasts were rated extremely low, perhaps these DTs have not been used yet or tutors are unsure of what they are. Furthermore, the facilitation aspects were rated low which suggests that tutors are not confident in using DT to support online learning, as this is a specific skillset that requires training (Salmon, 2011).

Table 1. Likert scale responses of ICT skills from the online survey.

The answers from the questions also suggest that tutors appear to be utilising the functional aspects of the ICT which reflects DL well, in terms of meaning-making and rationalising with the ICT tools used (White, 2015). It is unclear if critical thinking has been applied for creativity and innovation in their practice. What is not evident is how tutors can support themselves during any failures of ICT equipment. Figure 4 illustrates that teachers are wanting to and keeping up to date with current ICTs through CPD.

Figure 4. Responses for CPD requirements.

The Skills Funding Agency (2016) reported on the digital capability of people that is required to live and work in the economy. Relating to the college, the data from the online survey demonstrates that the majority of tutors at the college feel that they have skills that are beyond basic and some are now embarking on intermediate and advanced skill sets. Intermediate and advanced skill sets require higher-level skills that are needed for digital job roles, which is now an essential component in a typical teaching role. If tutors are not supported appropriately on a digitally creative, technical and professional pathway this could have a negative effect on the college’s eLearning strategy.

4.2.2 Practices

This section focusses on Rebbeck’s (2013) ‘developed teaching body’ to evaluate tutors ILT practices.

Figures 5, 6 and 7 illustrate that tutors appear to be thinking and working with ILT flexibly. They are expressing the ability to purposefully use DTs for learning and teaching activities. However, social networking is not being used a lot, perhaps tutors have a fear towards the stigma that is attached to using social media with young people. Overall tutors are curious about how DTs can transform their teaching practices and have a desire to improve and enhance their future practices. The following comments provided a positive explanation of how some DTs are being used;

“Blogs to analyse their art work.”
“Tumblr for blogging, Instagram and Pinterest for research, Poloyvore for styling.”

Figure 5. Mobile device responses from the online survey.

Figure 6. Moodle responses from the online survey.

Figure 7. Social networking responses from the online survey.

Figure 8 illustrates that interactive whiteboards are being used with little pedagogy as Display is being heavily practiced, thus suggesting lack of underpinning pedagogy. Perhaps this could be related to tutor DL and resource availability within teaching environments. Figure 9 indicates that Planet eStream is being underused. Perhaps there is little awareness of this DT and requires further promotion and evaluation for learning and teaching. Figure 4 again demonstrates that tutors are showing capacity to develop and source good practice as they see required.

Figure 8. Interactive whiteboard responses from the online survey.

Figure 9. Planet eStream responses from the online survey.

The following extracts are interesting as some tutors view these familiar ICT tools as ILT, which can be problematic for developing and practicing TEL:

“Email dialogue is useful.”
“Mainly ask learner to type up work on Word or PowerPoint and complete over the shoulder checks.”

These comments are barriers to becoming a DP as they are lacking the drive, ability and curiosity of using ILT. This evidences that some tutors stick to what they know best, which reduces the willingness to develop as a DP. There is insufficient evidence to comment on tutors vision and imagination towards their ILT practices. The data has not revealed how tutors have used creativity in their learning and teaching design that develops future learning plans. This suggests an area for further enquiry.

Overall, tutors appear to be positive about their use of DTs, but it reveals that perhaps little pedagogy is actually behind the technology, which raises concerns that deeper learning is not occurring. Tutors appear to be digitally and perhaps technically enabled in areas, familiar and connected with DT, but further ideas of how to apply it with effective pedagogy (Rebbeck et al, 2012). Perhaps tutors have now moved from mastering the technology to where it supports learning and teaching. Rebbeck et al (2012) identified that teachers now want guidance on the application of pedagogy of the DTs they use in their private lives. Which suggests that tutors require an underpinning rationale to support their choices of DTs.

4.2.3 Confidence

This section discusses tutor confidence against Bennett’s (2014) DP framework of access, skills, practices and attributes.

Table 2 highlights that tutors find ILT important to their teaching practices more in classroom than they do outside of it. Again, perhaps this relates to the demands of facilitating online learning.

Table 2. Likert scale responses of ILT importance from the online survey.

The overall message from the group workshop and online survey that covered this aspect was that tutors found the benefits of ILT; engaging, fun/enjoyable, can inspire staff and students to use, environmentally friendly, learner work can be easily assessed with faster response rates. Saving time was a commented on as a benefit due to re-using content perhaps due to the digital nature of activities. This is a particular strong point as ILT should not increase tasks and time for tutors but to be efficient of their time and workload. Analytics were beneficial in the sense that data could be acquired from learner’s participation of online activities and utility for audit purposes. One participant commented:

“I don't have barriers to ILT but I am willing to have any training that will develop me further.”

This is an advantageous attribute towards being a DP.

The unreliability of the IT infrastructure that enables tutors to use ILT inside the classroom sparked much debate. The IT infrastructure was a strong point in that the network can appear to be inhospitable and lack reliability which results in dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in using technology in lessons:

“ILT cannot be relied upon to work in lessons.”

Participants identified that the college network is not conducive enough to support them in delivering ‘live’ learning through technology as the network is unreliable. The ICT infrastructure needs to support educational requirements rather than corporate requirements as this could meet the demanding needs of DPs. It was suggested that ILT should be invested in more, in terms of availability of resources and time. The majority of tutors felt that connectivity was very problematic to accessing ILT. Blocking unnecessary websites, obsolete equipment provided further anxieties.

Participants discussed weaknesses that impacted on their ILT confidence such as “could go wrong”, fear of using ILT with the need to have more time for preparing for the use of ILT, which links to effective CPD to increase confidence and ideas of use. One group of participants commented “better systems or possibly staff”. This was highlighted by another participant’s comment:

“Lack of experience using and integrating some of the technology available.”

This leads me to comment that it is not always the systems that are at fault, but the nature in which people approach and use them, which relates back to being an effective DP. A respondent reflected on one of their barriers to progressing with ILT by stating:

“My own skills and reluctance from learners to engage with ILT.”

Another group of participants stated “need skillset” which I interpreted as being able to use ILT effectively with purpose. Another comment was made on how tutors have to rely on the learning technology team to create eLearning materials or sought expert advice. This demonstrates the need for specialist Learning Technologist knowledge and skills to support tutors in both the achievement and attainment of learning technology (Browne & Beetham, 2010).

The results echo the report by Laurillard and Deepwell (2014) in that participating in CPD, lack of time, tensions over time for CPD, lack of experience by teachers using DL, age of staff, degree of buy-in from senior management were also identified as constraints to staff. The report identified the lack of support from other staff to help them improve their ILT practices. The report comments on the lack of direction at a strategic level that fragments across all curriculum areas, which results in mixed views and responses of what is supposed to be achieved. Using highly skilled individuals to train and influence others may be a beneficial solution.

4.3 Evaluate tutors practice against the DEP and SAMR models

In order to gain a sense of how tutors are using their DT, the DEP and SAMR models have been introduced to provide a deeper meaning of their ILT practice.

4.3.1 DEP model

Evaluating tutors ILT practice against the DEP model determines the effectiveness it has on their teaching practices and learning delivery. The data demonstrates that there are high areas of rote learning occurring. Whilst the data lacks evidence of critical thinking and innovation, surface learning is higher than collaboration for learning. The application of the DEP model indicates how DT has been used which has had a limited effect on pedagogical enhancement. The data argues that the uptake of ILT practices is driven by the confidence of the tutors DL which limit the value of TEL. The data clearly shows that there is no modification to their practices other than add-on utility of eAssessment. As with supported experimentation, ILT needs to be committed to and engaged in critically to realise and immerse in tutors practices. If there are more successful attempts and case studies this encourages uptake in tutors practice, leading to a self-managed, willingness to experiment and explore technological affordances, which contribute to the development of a DP (Bennett, 2014).

4.3.2 SAMR model

Analysing the findings against the SAMR model identifies that the majority of ILT practice is being used in terms of engagement but lacks in transformation, which is the overall aim. Tutors appear to be conflicted between Augmentation and Modification. There is little redefinition of tutor practice against the diversity of 21st Century learning and teaching. Perhaps tutors have a reluctance to change their practices as per the saying ‘if it's not broken, don't fix it’. It is possible tutors are struggling to understand the requirements of task redesign and how DT can redefine their old teaching methods. This impacts on the DT taking up more time in using than it should in reducing time.

The majority of DTs used are in the realms of eAssessment, and not so much delivering through technology which are yet to be transformed by ILT. There are no functional improvements to the delivery which hang on the use of pedagogy (Lubega et al, 2014). Perhaps ILT is being delivered with old teaching methods that lack the functional use of DL to fulfil the role of the DP. It may be that the college’s eLearning strategy needs to be reinforced, which relies on the degree of knowhow from senior management and curriculum leaders. A high level of training is required, in particular at the augmentation level where tutors need clear direction of where pedagogy needs to be firmly placed with the delivery of information in the learning activity (Lubega et al, 2014). Self-efficacy and the expectations in the use of TEL reflect highly in the data. This highlights that tutors are self-actualising their DTs rather than serving pedagogical goals (Bennett, 2014) which Lubega et al (2014) stated that both tutor and learner arrive with different goals that are governed by the availability of DT.

The DTs that have been identified need to be explored deeper so that they can be integrated more effectively alongside the use of the SAMR model to enhance the whole process (Lubega et al, 2014). It was also found that tutors needed to develop their skills in designing effective online learning activities. This suggest that the use of Etivities (Salmon 2013, 2011) would suffice by combining a range DT’s to create an interactive digital activity (Scott, 2016).

4.4 Make recommendations regarding the development of the College eLearning strategy

Perhaps inspiration is not enough to implement ILT effectively. Using ILT effectively is a specific skill that needs considerable work to develop an appropriate aptitude. ILT is an essential requirement in 21st Century learning and teaching, therefore the college will need to recognise the skills and qualifications that reflect this during recruitment and selection of new tutors or have a willingness to develop themselves to a standard during their employment.

White (2015) introduced a set of principles that can be considered in the DP process when using DTs. They introduced criticality, creativity, responsibility, inclusivity, openness and collaboration. They are all necessary components which are essential in their own right. As creativity is a strong aspect that appears to be a key component what teachers struggle with when facing DT, even if they are digitally literate. Creativity is enabled by being given opportunities, skills, encouragement and the right environment to imagine, think, experiment, play and produce a product of some sort. For tutors, having a safe environment in which they can actively participate and collaborate and try and fail through an experiment, they can increase their learning and development by focussing and channelling their creative efforts. When this is combined with the rest of White’s (2015) principles and predominately criticality, this could generate a positive outcome for using DTs effectively.

CPD has been identified as a crucial factor to the development of the DP. Especially learning socially from others as 35% of tutors require collaborative workshops. Again this was highly visible in Laurillard and Deepwell’s (2014) survey that revealed respondents would like to attend good practice events that include: learning from others, showcasing examples, teacher collaboration, supportive peers and willingness to experiment.

Tutors currently exchange subject specialism across the college which is easily accommodated, but it needs to be more effective (Rebbeck et al, 2012). The data has identified that training needs to be aimed at the application of DT in learning and teaching rather than reviewing all the DT can do in abstract (Rebbeck et al, 2012). The data recognises that their needs to be more time invested for tutors to fully understand not only how the tools works but to support pedagogy. Rebbeck et al (2012) reported that dedicated time and attention for exploring DT in their contexts can be less fearful. The study outcomes identify that one size does not fit all as ICT training is diverse and person-specific (White, 2015).

4.5 Chapter summary

The findings clearly indicate that there is ILT being implemented, however there is a lack of knowhow on how to use certain DTs for educational implementation. What is apparent is that tutors are expressing ‘how do you expect me to use it’, which is echoed throughout the findings. Availability and access to DTs did not appear to be an issue. There are pockets of innovation that are occurring, but these need to be celebrated and harnessed as these are another key to success to supporting others. Re-considering the notion Digital Natives, Rebbeck et al (2012) argues that new tutors may be Digital Natives that bring new skills and approaches that can encourage other tutors. These have been designated as the ‘Digital Indigenous’ and are a significant development to the Digital Native. It is also important that learners should recognise that an organisation is being digitally inclusive (Rebbeck, 2016). This is equally important in that tutors recognise this and that it supports their development towards being and developing as a DP.

The data has provided clarification in that tutors need to have necessary DL skills in order to function the ILT tools. The overall message is that tutors need to embrace new methods that reflect the diversity of today’s learners and learning environments. Similarly, tutors need to have the necessary pedagogical skills to modify and adapt their dated teaching methodologies into digital methodologies which support the college’s eLearning strategy (Lubega et al, 2014). The college’s learning technology team are an instrumental figure in this process that can upskill tutors and provide pedagogy with DT. The final chapter summarises and evaluates the outcomes of the study.

Chapter five: Conclusions and Recommendations

 5.1 Introduction to the chapter

The final chapter concludes with a summary of the outcomes from the study and recommendations for further enquiries. The chapter summarises the outcomes of the findings and how they met and relate to the study aims. How this particular study has informed my professional practice and how it has enhanced my personal development. How this information will be disseminated and how it is intended to be used. Ideas are discussed on how this study can be improved for future implementation.

5.2 Summary of outcomes

The outcomes of the study are compiled into three areas of how ICT can be used in teaching practices, how critical reflection can change the way tutors approach ILT and how tutors could develop as researchers.

5.2.1 Awareness of how ICT can be used in teaching practices

It is clear from the findings that tutors can identify ICT tools that can assist their teaching practices. What is not clear is how tutors know ICT has enhanced or transformed their teaching practices. DL requires both cognitive and technical abilities (Johnson et al, 2016) which supports White’s (2015) assertions of critical thinking and functionality of ICT. Perhaps DL should not be approached as a checklist of specific technical skills but to be used for critical thinking and reflection of various digital tools in social and cultural contexts (Johnson et al, 2016).

DL is introduced to both learner and teacher in primary education, therefore DL needs to continue and be developed extensively into further and higher education. Perhaps during teacher training there should be further emphasis on the functional skills in setting up and running equipment and enabling critical thinking in evaluating tools to support learning and teaching. Further reflection and evaluation is required to develop critical thinking and creative techniques on the use of DT. However, this tends to be covered in specialist TEL qualifications where pedagogy is at the centre of the DT (White, 2015). Perhaps increasing the promotion and evaluation of ILT during initial teacher training programmes may be more impactful.

The results from the DEP model illustrate that tutors appear to be using DTs appropriate to their teaching practices, but needs to be further developed with pedagogy. Evaluating against the SAMR model revealed that tutors are having little impact on progressing their ILT practices with TEL. However, it is challenging to evidence tutor innovation as previous teaching practices need to be identified in order to make an informed judgement on progression. Therefore, the SAMR model requires further investigation on its appropriateness to support the college’s eLearning strategy.

A potential plan could be to modify and align the eLearning strategy according to the SAMR model to ensure that outstanding learning and teaching continues to develop in a progressive manner for 21st Century learning and teaching. The eLearning strategy needs to be enforced and celebrated by its audience and driven by its DPs that understand and can demonstrate its requirements.

5.2.2 Critical reflection and the reluctance to change established practices

A main finding was the requirement for tutors to reflect immediately on their experiences of learning and using DTs related to their context. This enables them to think critically about what changes they can or not make in their approaches to learning design and practice. Tutors should be encouraged to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct their philosophy of teaching and practice (Redmond, 2011). Perhaps in CPD sessions allowing more time for critical reflection in which to evaluate these DTs within their lessons, courses and curriculums. Teachers must reflect as a mechanism to further develop the use of emerging DT (Rebbeck et al, 2012). It could be that increasing discussion and debate may develop application in their learning and teaching environments.

Future ILT training could be directed towards pedagogical performance and application of DT rather than learning the software. However, there is no one best way to use DT (Rebbeck et al 2012, Scott 2015). It is possible that training could be undertaken against a set and measured central standards based on reflective thinking and practice. This would provide a new way of mapping professional development and strategies (Rebbeck et al, 2012).

Schön’s (1983) concept of the reflective practitioner is particularly useful in enabling practitioners to critically think about their own practice. Reflection is a method of enquiry where individuals take responsibility for their own knowledge and experience to deepen their understanding and increase awareness of their professional practice. This requires the willingness to learn, ability to put theory into practice and independence to explore alternative methods of action and question purposes.

5.2.3 Proactive researchers

An educational technology policy needs to put focus on the teacher as the engine of change and improvement (Laurillard & Deepwell, 2014). The teacher as an innovator and technology being fit for purpose in meeting the needs of the 21st Century learner and teacher. Innovation can be supported through learning technologists as they are fundamental as change agents to support, facilitate and to guide tutors about how they can think holistically about applying TEL in their practices. Learning technologists are a conduit between academia and DT that enable confidence building, passion and allowing good practice and meaning-making to evolve (Hopkins, 2015).

Considering Bryant’s (2016) middle out approach may be beneficial here in enabling tutors to lead their department’s development. Perhaps the employment and deployment of advocates that passionately believe that networking, collaboration with a common sense of purpose can develop ILT practice and unity. Supported experimentation and reflecting critically on the application of DT practice could be planned within CPD sessions (Petty, 2014). CPD can be implemented better by enabling critical reflection and follow up CPD to check if it worked well or not. According to Rebbeck et al (2012) tutors prefer a more self-managed approach. This coupled with effective reflective practice could result in better use of technology implementation. Proactive experimentation needs to be encouraged, however senior management need to further allow time and deploy resources to achieve this. Using role models in best ILT practice can spur on other tutors to do the same and apply the term ‘if they can do it, so can I’.

5.3 Areas for further enquiry

Throughout the study there have been areas that have been highlighted that require further investigation. In relation to teachers being innovators, senior leadership should run in parallel. Individuals leading an organisation for digital learning needs to be further evaluated to ensure effectiveness of the eLearning strategy. A likely solution would be to use the information from this study to build on the strand ‘use the outcomes of organisational research for decision making’ from the competencies profile of Jisc’s (undatedb) of ‘being an effective digital leader’.

Perhaps the most effective impact DT has is when it is not obviously witnessed (Rebbeck et al, 2012). Perhaps improving organisational lesson observations and targeting ILT planning and application rather non-ILT delivery, such as video clips and Microsoft PowerPoint. Then disseminating the findings anonymously could increase effective implementation (Scott, 2014b).

Incentives of award and reward may give tutors a sense of achievement in enhancing their innovative delivery (Laurillard & Deepwell, 2014). Carol Dweck’s (2012) growth mindset could be applied with teachers that need to experiment and sometimes fail. This may incur losses of time and costs but long term provides innovation, however experimentation leads to successful implementation (Rebbeck et al, 2012). The college’s APs need to be better utilised and perhaps this method may be beneficial. The college’s Level 3 and 4 Digital Learning Design apprentices are particular useful to work in collaboration with APs to help them develop DL skills and innovative ILT ideas.

5.4 Professional development

Carrying out this study has increased my knowledge and awareness of the kinds of knowledge, skills and experiences tutors have in order to successfully uptake and interact with ILT. This informs how I plan individual and group training delivery to better meet their developmental needs. Tutors like learners are learning continuously and need to be supported effectively and recognised for their efforts.

Other aspects of my professional development have also been improved as a result. AR has improved and deepened my understanding of how to identify educational problems and how to overcome them, as well as enhancing my academic research and practice. The AR process and theoretical positions in which need to be undertaken influence the way I conduct and report findings which enable me to research deeper and inform my decisions.

5.5 Personal development

Throughout this study I have improved and developed my academic writing and presentation. This has been achieved through wider reading and reinforcement by the university lecturers’ effective feedback where recommendations have been clearly stated. The study has improved my language and vocabulary in being to better articulate theory and practice in learning technology and eLearning.

In writing this dissertation I aimed for it to be a declaration of my commitment and passion to support the college more effectively and provide leadership in this field. The information this study has produced should express my enthusiasm, commitment and dedication that runs throughout the text.

5.6 Dissemination

A hard copy will be sent to the director of my department to enable analysis and evaluation of our service to potentially influence future changes. Externally the study will be published electronically through ALT and my personal blog.

5.7 Evaluation of the study

The next cycle of AR is to implement the recommendations from this study and analyse the findings as well as exploring new areas as mentioned. However, the study needs to be refined from the following suggestions.

The study obtained the data required against the set aims. However, a survey may be the easiest option but perhaps a range of focus groups and conducting interviews may provide deeper and richer information regarding tutors skills, confidence, experiences and limitations. The survey can be shorter and ask more specific questions on tutors’ practices. It does not need to be lengthy as preliminary data has been obtained. The next cycle of AR should be to measure the impact of the improvements that have been recommended from this study. The data collection from this survey occurred approximately a year before the study. This delayed the implementation of the recommendations for the following academic year.

The study has improved previous investigations, in particular Laurillard and Deepwell’s (2014) report. This study has extended from their research of barriers and solutions on the effective use of ILT, to evaluating tutor ILT practice against the requirements of being a successful DP to deal with the challenges of 21st Century learning and teaching.


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Appendix one. The online survey that was issued out to all tutors using Google Forms.

Appendix two. The Participant Information Sheet (E3) that was issued to all group workshop participants.

University of Huddersfield

School of Education and Professional Development

Participant Information Sheet (E3)

Research Project Title:

You are being invited to take part in a research project. Before you decide it is important for you to understand why this research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information and discuss it with others if you wish. Ask if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking time to read this.

What is the purpose of the project?

The research project is intended to provide the research focus for a Dissertation on the Technology Enhanced Learning MSc. *The dissertation research proposal overview, title and aims were discussed.*

Why have I been chosen?

Focus group – Friday 13 November 2015 from 1.15pm. In groups. Advanced Practioners in ILT to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of using technology in lessons which should generate ideas to use and overcome issues.

Do I have to take part?

Participation on this study is entirely voluntary, so please do not feel obliged to take part. Refusal will involve no penalty whatsoever and you may withdraw from the study at any stage without giving an explanation to the researcher.

What do I have to do?

You will be invited to take part in a focus group. This should take no more than 10 minutes of your time.

Are there any disadvantages to taking part?

There should be no foreseeable disadvantages to your participation. If you are unhappy or have further questions at any stage in the process, please address your concerns initially to the researcher if this is appropriate. Alternatively, please contact the research supervisor, Liz Bennet at the School of Education & Professional Development, University of Huddersfield.

Will all my details be kept confidential?

All information which is collected will be strictly confidential and anonymised before the data is presented in the Dissertation, in compliance with the Data Protection Act and ethical research guidelines and principles.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The results of this research will be written up in a Dissertation and presented for assessment in July 2016. If you would like a copy please contact the researcher.

Who has reviewed and approved the study, and who can be contacted for further information?

Liz Bennett
01484 478121

The research supervisor is Liz Bennett. They can be contacted at the University of Huddersfield.

Name & Contact Details of Researcher:

Daniel Scott
01226 216276