T. Yang, C. O'Driscoll, S.J. Delany, G. Burke, C. McDonnell

Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
In this paper we consider the categorisation of Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) systems based on learning theory and their application to learning process.

There has been discussion and argument about learning principles under various topics, such as the definition of learning, categorisation of learning, learning models, learning methods, pedagogy and andragogy. In spite of a diversity of opinions, it is generally agreed that learning leads to change in behaviour. In this behaviour-changing process, education first provides a knowledge base for learners. Then the actual application of the knowledge changes learners’ behaviour in practice. Such interpretation is typically clarified from an andragogical point of view as opposed to pedagogy. Pedagogical learning helps people build their knowledge while andragogical learning emphasises appropriate application of knowledge in practice. In this manner, learning is also formulated as an overall process for skill development consisting of two consecutive major steps, i.e., knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer. Learning is thus also considered as a flow of knowledge.

Within this context, Technology Enhanced Learning combines learning and technology to support the flow of knowledge in the learning process. Throughout its history, TEL has been driven by the evolution of technology. The effectiveness of TEL is widely reflected and validated through its application in learning. In the last few decades, a considerable amount of research has been conducted in TEL. Based on our literature review, we propose a categorisation of current popular TEL systems. At a higher level, we consider that TEL research is themed as either the application of technology in learning or the development of technology for learning.

A considerable amount of TEL work focuses on the application of technology. This has lead to numerous TEL systems which can be grouped into three categories, learning in a variety of subjects, learning for particular audience groups and learning in different scales.

Under the second theme, TEL research is based on developing or adapting underlying enabling technology for application to learning. In line with the flow of knowledge along the two major learning steps, we identify four categories under this theme including the digitisation of knowledge, the management of learning content, the delivery of learning object and the transfer of knowledge.

In the paper, we expand these categories. We believe that this categorisation provides a suitable approach to classifying current TEL systems and applications. Finally we intend to clarify the relationship between Technology Enhanced Learning and the learning process.