The Strategic Use of Learning Technologies

The Strategic Use of Learning Technologies

The Strategic Use of Learning Technologies

The Strategic Use of Learning Technologies


This is the 88th issue of the quarterly journal"New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education,"


Christine H. Olgren

A review of learning strategies shows why it is necessary
to take a learner-centered view before thinking about

Using technology for education and training offers many challenges, but perhaps the greatest is to focus not on the technology itself but on the learner and learning. Technology invites a tools-first emphasis, but technology is only as good as our knowledge of how to use it to enhance learning.

In teaching and designing for technology-assisted learning, I continually remind myself to begin with the learner. For one, doing that keeps me grounded in the learner's shoes or what it would be like to be a learner in my course. For another, it helps me to cast a critical eye on what is likely to work and not work to foster effective outcomes.

So I share with you some thoughts from the learner's viewpoint. Adopting this view helps me to see better how people learn with technology and what strategies they use to learn. Insights gained from the learner can help answer five key questions: What is different about learning with technology? What concepts help us to understand the learning process? What kinds of learning strategies do adults use? How do we connect learning strategies with learning technologies? And what are some future directions from a learning viewpoint?

What Is Different About Learning with Technology?

Learning with technology is usually characterized by a physical separation between learner and instructor and by the use of media for communications and content resources. Those characteristics have important effects on the learner. First, learners have more autonomy and responsibility for carrying out the learning process. Second, learners must be able to use technology . . .

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