Enhance the digital experience for all learners
Topic Authors: Helen Beetham and Ellen Lessner
In this theme you will think about how learners’ expectations of the digital learning environment are changing due to their experiences in school and their use of technologies in their personal life. You will also consider how learners differ in their use of digital technologies and in what they need to succeed.
In general, learners expect to be able to use their personal devices and social media wherever they are, and for organisational facilities which support this. They increasingly expect learning services and resources to be available away from campus and to access them alongside their other services, though not necessarily to merge them. Despite this, learners continue to expect the learning organisation to provide access to all the hardware and software they need to succeed in their course of study.
Learners’ confidence in using technology and their satisfaction with its use are both strongly determined by the confidence of their teachers. While not expecting every course of study to use digital tools in the same way, learners are unhappy if they see core systems such as the VLE being used inconsistently.
Learners differ in their previous experiences of technology and in their attitudes towards it. Not all are digital natives, and even those that are digitally proficient can struggle to use those skills for learning. Some of these differences are summarised in early findings from the Jisc Digital Student (FE and Skills) project.
Students with different physical, sensory and educational requirements also need different tools. Digital content is generally more accessible to students who use assistive technologies, but there are many ways content and learning activities can be designed to support them better, and these also have benefits for other students.