Task 1: What are technology learning environments?


What are technology learning environments? (My initial reflection, is what isn’t..?)

As any situation or interaction with an object or being, alive or dead offers an opportunity for learning to take place in some form or another..? (doesn’t it..?)

I wanted to start by trying to categorize learning in the 21st century and the starting point has got to be me? (surely its all about me…) I was a child of generation X! Technology was around and my interest and engagement still haunts me to this very day. I felt fortunate to have this opportunity at the time I think (Sending a small robot pushed by a bbc computer to create a circle…) and in reflection now it was because I still had grandparents alive who at that point operated from a generation dinosaur context. I look to my children now and they have a completely different starting point they know not of the past… Just this morning I was woken by my son this is what he did while I slept for while… (Generation Z…)


Found my ipad>Learnt/Hacked/remembered my passcode>Started the game>Accessed Multiplayer online>Won several races

(O by the way he’s 4 and this all happened before 7am…)

So what..? You say! This is not learning / This is screen time, mindless disconnect from reality or is virtual the new reality… (Or an invading context that we must consider! Is this a fundamental part of modern existence for future generations to prospere…Hmm)


Louise Starkey quotes a really succinct definition of learning by Borko & Putnam (1996) for the digital age-

“Learning is an active, constructive process that is heavily influenced by an individuals existing knowledge and beliefs and is situated in particular contexts.”

The environment or the context are multiple and exist I feel on a range of levels which now morph between our formal and informal / professional and non professional interlinked with humans social circles.

Has the learning tracked with the environment? With more contexts or environments open to us.. Has this complicated learning or catalysed the process? (depending on the generation you come from? Starting point? or exisiting perspective…?)

Maybe its to early to measure the impact of TELEs or they are so wide and varied, changing and morphing at such an exponential rate it is difficult to pin this down..?

Some of my reading around TELEs

Technology Enhanced Learning Environments (TEL2) — https://www.diigo.com/list/kmac77/list-2013111014182464




Personal learning environments (PLEs) are environments where the learner can access and share a range of tools and services in an integrated way for supporting their own needs. These environments have evolved from the VLE and MLE developments of the past as well as building upon new tools e.g. social software. Together they offer greater opportunities for personalization. PLEs may include: social software, integrated tools and user modelled services. The learning theories used to support PLEs tend to be a blend of associative, cognitive and situative learning theories.

A ‘Virtual Learning Environment’ (VLE) or ‘Learning Management System’ [is] designed to act as a focus for students’ learning activities and their management and facilitation, along with the provision of content and resources required to help make the activities successful.’ (Stiles)

These systems allow students and tutors to interact locally or remotely. They can collaboratively share and generate knowledge in the virtual environment without having to travel out of their local setting. VLE software is currently being used across most UK institutions to support a variety of different types of learning: for example, collaborative and co-operative, blended and distance learning. A study undertaken in 2005 for the JISC indicates a high take-up of VLE in all types of institutions surveyed (including FE and HE). 86% of FE colleges, 97% of pre-1992 universities and 90% of post-1992 universities report using at least one type of VLE. However, it is worth noting that the study indicated a wide variation in subject area usage of a VLE from 16% in Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Medicine through to 82% in Business Management, Accountancy, Economics and Law.

Physical learning spaces contain many of the learning interactions and experiences of learning at college and in university. However, the wider use of new technologies and web-based services is having implications upon how the physical learning spaces are organized, leading in some cases to re-designing learning spaces accommodating for the use of PCs and mobile devices to be more easily integrated into learning practice. In this way, the work around the design and use of physical learning spaces is central to supporting new and enriched learning experiences with ICT. Some scoping work has been undertaken by the JISC to map out and provide support for those involved in rebuild projects (see: Smith, 2006).
 Physical learning spaces are the ‘container’ spaces for most traditional learning interactions and activities. With the emergence of virtual and online learning opportunities these spaces are being re-conceptualized and re-designed, partly to facilitate more effective use of flexible spaces for learning to improve the learners experience with traditional learning but also to improve the opportunities for informal and mobile learning. These spaces may include: traditional learning exchanges and uses, blended learning approaches (using mobile and virtual as well as face-to-face learning experiences). They can also include technology enhanced social spaces and libraries. Learning theories applied here tend to cover all the key associative, cognitive and situative models of learning.

Building upon the work undertaken for the JISC, the linked areas of mobile and immersive learning environments bring together more experience-based learning that often blends physical and virtual learning to support enriched blended learning experiences (e.g. Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler, 2005; de Freitas, 2006). In this context, social software is also included within the definition of this area.

In terms of the use of mobile technologies, social software, game-based learning applications and multi-user virtual environments, a range of applications and tools are becoming available to support these experiences. Increasingly problem-based, experiential and exploratory learning approaches are being used to support this kind of learning. Mobile and immersive learning environments are environments, which have mobile or immersive (e.g. 3D) components. These environments may include: integrated social software tools, mobile learning, game-based learning, simulation-based learning, producing ‘seamless’ learning experiences and often place an emphasis upon collaborative learning. These environments may be fully immersive as a 3D environment, combine virtual and real spaces or integrate mobile capabilities to engage and motivate differentiated learner groups. Game-based and simulation-based learning tools have been used most extensively to date in vocational training contexts or in industries (e.g. health) where training transfer is critical. Learning theories used include: experiential learning, exploratory learning and problem-based learning.

(JISC TECHNOLOGY ENHANCED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS (2013) Definitions: Technology enhanced learning environments areas. [online]. 5/12/2013 at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/tele/definitions.aspx)


A link to some applications and TELEs used by me in my subject area of Design & Technology Education –


The appropriatenes of the application again I feel comes back to the understanding of the problem and the context it is set in / The users involved / Prior experience/ Knowledge/ Motivation and if the outcome is known.

(Maybe the interaction/engagement is enough to achieve outcomes..? I suppose its how much learning or knowledge you want to achieve..?) 


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