What Lies Beneath: Next Generation Digital Learning

An ALT-C 2018 research Paper reflecting on a community consultation and ethnographic research on the implications of the use of technology for teaching practices

Next Generation Digital Learning –while the past they have been discussed primarily in the context of “environments” and “platforms”, we are hoping to expand that conversation to match the reality that digital is woven through much of the teaching and learning experiences of students and teachers, in a wide range of contexts. The current ethnographic work is building on, and is a direct result of the work initial review of Next Generation Digital Learning Environments under Codesign 2016.

At ALT this year, we wanted to step back from the idea of “digital learning environments” altogether and re-center our thinking with research among people who teach in HE and FE.  Over the past year, we have been conducting a contextual inquiry, an interview-based qualitative research project, focused on the practices, paradigms, and purposes of teaching, as told to us by teachers.  We talked to biologists, geographers, graphic artists, religious studies scholars, forensic scientists, and engineers, among others. What we heard, without asking them about technology or digital, was the ways that their motivations to teach, and the priorities they had for their students (including but also beyond institutional notions of “student success”) had a profound impact on their engagement (or, frequently, lack of engagement) with the digital tools and platforms provided by their institutions.

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The final report from this work is currently in draft form and out for peer review, it will be posted here later in the academic year,

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