Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme: Beyond Prototypes
The Beyond Prototypes report provides an in-depth examination of the processes of innovation in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and sets out what can be done to improve the process of moving from academic research and innovative prototypes to effective and sustainable products and practices.
The Beyond Prototypes report provides an in-depth examination of the processes of innovation in technology-enhanced learning (TEL). It sets out what can be done to improve the process of moving from research and prototypes to sustainable products and practices. Lasting TEL innovation requires long-term shifts in practice. These shifts require alterations to many different elements of the education system. To make these shifts, groups need to work creatively together over time, so policymakers and funders should plan for engagement with teams able to initiate, implement, scale and sustain long-term innovation.
An expert multidisciplinary team carried out the research underpinning the report. Initial analysis of the field was used to select key examples of TEL innovation for detailed study. Innovation was taken to be the practical implementation of new ideas and technologies with the intention of having an observable impact on teaching and/or learning.
The project produced four key insights:
- Key insight 1: The TEL Complex
Technology-enhanced learning is a complex system, including communities, technologies and practices informed by pedagogy. These elements must all be taken into account as an innovation is designed, developed and embedded. At the heart of the TEL Complex is a vision of how learning may be enhanced by the use of technology.
- Key Insight 2: Persistent intent
The diverse nature of the TEL Complex means success in TEL is associated with ‘persistent intent’ – efforts to develop inspirational ideas and turn them into products and practices over an extended period of time. This requires both long-term commitment and focused action.
- Key insight 3: Bricolage
The work involved in successful TEL innovation can be characterised as ‘bricolage’. This is a productive and creative innovation process that involves bringing together and adapting technologies and pedagogies, experimentation to generate further insights and a willingness to engage with local communities and practices.
- Key insight 4: Evidence
Development and implementation of new approaches to teaching and learning must be trialled and tested so that widespread adoption of TEL innovation is based on evidence and not on theory alone.
The role of IET
An expert multidisciplinary team, led by IET, carried out the research underpinning this report. Initial analysis of the field of TEL research, development and policy was carried out within IET and was used to select key examples of TEL innovation for detailed study. Innovation was taken to be the practical implementation of new ideas and technologies with the intention of having an observable impact on teaching and/or learning. The initial phase, carried out within IET, included systematic analysis of data collected from in-depth interviews with key figures from research and industry.
Each member of the research team brought substantial personal expertise to the research process, enabling them to set the findings within a broader context. This was a strength of the study, allowing team members to link their analysis not only to the field of educational technology but also to understandings developed in the fields of organisation behaviour and innovation dynamics.
These insights were brought together by the team in IET who led on analysis of data, writing the final report, and identification of the project’s key insights.
Mark Fenton O’Creevy