The aim of TEL research is to improve the quality of formal and informal learning, and to make...
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9 March 2010
The aim of TEL research is to improve the quality of formal and informal learning, and to make accessible forms of knowledge that were simply inaccessible before. But research does not translate easily into practice, at school, in higher education or in the workplace. The forms of pedagogy that characterise learning in these settings have remained more or less invariant even when radical technologies have been introduced.
Education is now coming to terms with the importance of supporting individuals in developing the capability to produce their own knowledge, rather than merely consume the knowledge of others. There is a nascent attempt to develop learners’ skills of enquiry, analysis, synthesis, knowledge construction and collaboration. These kinds of learning - and these kinds of new knowledge - are difficult, and sometimes impossible to address broadly with traditional technologies. Only in informal settings are such novel strategies and knowledge commonplace, risking a widening of the gap between what is actually required by citizens and employees, and what formal educational systems offer. Technology, suitably designed and deployed, can help to close that gap. This is the key challenge of TEL research.