Educational Technology's Influence in Higher Education Teaching and Learning

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Technology Enhanced Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 40169

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Guest Editor
School of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
Interests: learning technology; technology-enhanced learning; blended learning; active learning; collaborative learning; hybrid learning; curriculum design; virtual learning environments; virtual simulations; online assessments; cyberpsychology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, the integration of technology into higher education and the support it provides via hybrid and/or blended learning approaches is more crucial than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many researchers have already studied how digital technology could enhance teaching and learning in higher education, it is the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced everyone to change or reconsider how technology could be used in order to overcome the isolation restrictions. The COVID-19 teaching and learning disruptions have currently led university teachers to design, develop and explore alternative and innovative teaching and pedagogical approaches integrating learning technology. 

The aim of this Special Issue is not only to present successful practice examples from before or during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to provide useful information to university teachers in order to assist them to further understand the higher education context, demands and challenges of digital education. The rapid teaching and learning change in higher education, the reshaping curriculum demands, the 21st century digital competence challenges and learning technology developments are only some of the areas that may be influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and they may be bound to stay with us. All these areas make it crucial for higher education teachers, educational researchers, and learning technologists to consider teaching and learning under the perspectives of digital education and innovation.

Dr. Maria Limniou
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Technology-enhanced learning
  • Learning approaches
  • Curriculum design
  • Digital capabilities
  • Learning evaluation
  • Higher education

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
A Framework for Developing Educational Industry 4.0 Activities and Study Materials
by Lasse Christiansen, Tommy Edvardsen Hvidsten, Jesper Hemdrup Kristensen, Jonas Gebhardt, Kashif Mahmood, Tauno Otto, Astrid Heidemann Lassen, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Casper Schou and Esben Skov Laursen
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(10), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12100659 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2658
Abstract
The advent of Industry 4.0 is changing the role of human labour towards a more supportive function in the production system, requiring new digital-, technical-, interdisciplinary-, collaborative- and communicative competencies. This challenges educational institutions to develop new teaching activities and materials to address [...] Read more.
The advent of Industry 4.0 is changing the role of human labour towards a more supportive function in the production system, requiring new digital-, technical-, interdisciplinary-, collaborative- and communicative competencies. This challenges educational institutions to develop new teaching activities and materials to address ever emerging needs. To address this, this paper presents an Educational Framework to support educators in developing new teaching activities and study material for Industry 4.0. The model distinguishes itself from other educational design models by combining an iterative approach toward problem-solving, with the concept of authentic task design, as the core elements. Based on 14 pilot cases, it is concluded that educational framework have increased the educational activities in the areas in focus. Full article
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16 pages, 3485 KiB  
Article
Digital Transformation of the University as a Means of Framing Eco-Environment for Creativity and Creative Activities to Attract and Develop Talented and Skilled Persons
by Galina Timokhova, Yury Kostyukhin, Elena Sidorova, Valery Prokudin, Olga Shipkova, Lyudmila Korshunova and Olga Aleshchenko
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12080562 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2053
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to present the results of the ongoing study of the University digital transformation on the basis of a comprehensive theoretical model. The article describes a conceptual model of the University digital transformation formed based on the comprehensive [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to present the results of the ongoing study of the University digital transformation on the basis of a comprehensive theoretical model. The article describes a conceptual model of the University digital transformation formed based on the comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of potential ecosystem participants in line with the requirements of changing external conditions. The authors list the current results of the transformation and strategic plans considering any achievements adjustment. The National University of Science and Technology “MISiS” (NUST MISiS) has been used as an experimental basis for the research. The key achievement of NUST MISiS such as a digital ecosystem is described in this article. The digital environment of NUST MISiS considers the needs of the University staff and students and contributes to achieving the strategic goals. Full article
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15 pages, 1211 KiB  
Article
Virtual Laboratories in Tertiary Education: Case Study Analysis by Learning Theories
by Jahan Hassan, Anamika Devi and Biplob Ray
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12080554 - 15 Aug 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3617
Abstract
This paper examines and evaluates Virtual Laboratories (VLabs) in consideration of technology design, educational pedagogy, and outcome in tertiary education context for ICT courses. There is a growing demand for VLabs in tertiary education to support remote, flexible, and equitable learning. Most of [...] Read more.
This paper examines and evaluates Virtual Laboratories (VLabs) in consideration of technology design, educational pedagogy, and outcome in tertiary education context for ICT courses. There is a growing demand for VLabs in tertiary education to support remote, flexible, and equitable learning. Most of the universities in Australia offer distance education to students who do not attend on-campus classes. On-line labs allowing access via an internet connection can offer learners the required infrastructure to complete their lab tasks without attending physical lab facilities. The onset of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 has seen further spike in demand for VLabs as accessing online lab facilities to undertake hands on activities from anywhere and anytime was imperative during lockdown periods. Despite their benefits, it is complex to choose an appropriate VLab design or type that ensures effective and improved learning process. This paper presents two case studies using commercial and custom-made VLabs that are analyzed through the lens of learning theories. The outcome of the analysis informs the readers that the teachers’ support (human mediator) and VLabs (teaching tool) are interlinked together in a dialectical way which is an important consideration to achieve successful learning outcome. This study will help educators to make an informed decision in choosing an appropriate VLab design for their teaching content to ensure effective learning outcome. Full article
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39 pages, 2314 KiB  
Article
Implementing Digital Competencies in University Science Education Seminars Following the DiKoLAN Framework
by Anna Henne, Philipp Möhrke, Lars-Jochen Thoms and Johannes Huwer
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050356 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3035
Abstract
Prospective teachers must acquire subject-specific digital competencies to design contemporary lessons and to promote digital competencies among students themselves. The DiKoLAN framework (Digital Competencies for Teaching in Science Education) describes basic digital competencies for the teaching profession in the natural sciences precisely for [...] Read more.
Prospective teachers must acquire subject-specific digital competencies to design contemporary lessons and to promote digital competencies among students themselves. The DiKoLAN framework (Digital Competencies for Teaching in Science Education) describes basic digital competencies for the teaching profession in the natural sciences precisely for this purpose. In this article, we describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of a university course based on DiKoLAN which promotes the digital competencies of science teachers. As an example, the learning module Data Processing in Science Education is presented, and its effectiveness is investigated. For this purpose, we used a questionnaire developed by the Working Group Digital Core Competencies to measure self-efficacy, which can also be used in the future to promote digital competencies among pre-service teachers. The course evaluation showed a positive increase in the students’ self-efficacy expectations. Overall, the paper thus contributes to teacher education by using the course as a best-practice example—a blueprint for designing new courses and for implementing a test instrument for a valid evaluation. Full article
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14 pages, 694 KiB  
Article
Higher Education Students’ Perception of the E-Portfolio as a Tool for Improving Their Employability: Weaknesses and Strengths
by Elba Gutiérrez-Santiuste, Sonia García-Segura, María Ángeles Olivares-García and Elena González-Alfaya
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050321 - 3 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2738
Abstract
This study analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the professional e-portfolio as a tool for preparing students in higher education to enter the labor market. It also examines students’ level of planning to enter professional employment, and the help that they receive with [...] Read more.
This study analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the professional e-portfolio as a tool for preparing students in higher education to enter the labor market. It also examines students’ level of planning to enter professional employment, and the help that they receive with this task from the university. The research is quantitative and observes the students’ opinions before and after they create their own professional e-portfolio, as a case study. We used the analysis of means to determine the trend in the aspects analyzed over time, and the Student’s t-test and Cohen’s d to determine the effect size. We also performed correlation analysis between the different categories and subcategories proposed. The results show that the e-portfolio is a tool with strengths for labor market entry, while also revealing the weaknesses that students find in it. At the very least, the e-portfolio was useful to the students in planning their entry into the workforce. The correlations show high levels among the strengths but not among the weaknesses analyzed. Full article
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14 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
Perceptions of Digital Device Use and Accompanying Digital Interruptions in Blended Learning
by Juliana Pattermann, Maria Pammer, Stephan Schlögl and Laura Gstrein
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12030215 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3334
Abstract
Using various digital devices, and being faced with digital interruptions is a given for students not only in traditional university classes but also in blended learning courses. Hence, this study (N = 201) at an Austrian university of applied sciences investigated students’ perceptions [...] Read more.
Using various digital devices, and being faced with digital interruptions is a given for students not only in traditional university classes but also in blended learning courses. Hence, this study (N = 201) at an Austrian university of applied sciences investigated students’ perceptions of digital device use and the digital interruptions that they face during webinars and on-campus sessions. Results show that students primarily use the same types of digital devices during webinars and on-campus sessions, i.e., computers for course-related (CR) activities, and smartphones for non-course-related (NCR) activities. Results further indicate that while the majority of students are aware of the interruptive impact that NCR activities have on their learning, the effect on others seems to be a blind spot. The reasons for NCR activities are manifold. Moreover, results suggest that students have difficulties in assessing the actual time spent on NCR activities during webinars. Full article
18 pages, 4658 KiB  
Article
Comparison of In-Person and Virtual Labs/Tutorials for Engineering Students Using Blended Learning Principles
by Maren Schnieder, Sheryl Williams and Sourav Ghosh
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12030153 - 23 Feb 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3968
Abstract
The paper compares the effectiveness of in-person and virtual engineering laboratory sessions. The in-person and virtual laboratory sessions reported here comprise six experiments combined with short tutorials. The virtual lab combined enquiry-based learning and gamification principles. The integration of the virtual labs with [...] Read more.
The paper compares the effectiveness of in-person and virtual engineering laboratory sessions. The in-person and virtual laboratory sessions reported here comprise six experiments combined with short tutorials. The virtual lab combined enquiry-based learning and gamification principles. The integration of the virtual labs with in-person teaching created a blended learning environment. The effectiveness of this approach was assessed based on (i) the student feedback (i.e., a questionnaire with open-ended questions and Likert scale feedback), (ii) the students’ engagement with the virtual lab, and (iii) the impact on the academic performance (i.e., class test results). The students reported greater confidence in the understanding of theory in the virtual lab than the in-person lab. This is interesting given that the instruction for the virtual lab and the in-person lab of one experiment is identical (i.e., same instructor, same enquiry-based learning techniques, and same explanations). The students also appreciated the ability to complete the virtual lab anytime, anywhere, for as long as they needed, and highlighted the benefits of the interactivity. The median class test scores of the students who completed some or all the virtual lab experiments was higher than those who did not (83–89% vs. 67%). Full article
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19 pages, 34204 KiB  
Article
Investigating Student Engagement and Making Science Real during a Pandemic: Bioskills at Home, a Case Study
by Sarah Rayment, Karin Garrie, Ishwinder Kaur, Gareth McVicker, Emma Storey, Jody Winter, Luigi A. De Girolamo, Callum Rimmer, David Negus, Carl Nelson, Jonathan Thomas, Michael Loughlin and Jess Dale
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12020106 - 3 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3112
Abstract
Development of key practical skills is fundamental to bioscience courses in higher education. With limitations on access to laboratory time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “Bioskills at home” kit was developed to create opportunities for first year undergraduate students to develop these [...] Read more.
Development of key practical skills is fundamental to bioscience courses in higher education. With limitations on access to laboratory time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “Bioskills at home” kit was developed to create opportunities for first year undergraduate students to develop these skills using online support resources to guide their activities and build communities of learning. Equipment and activities in this kit enabled students to practice key skills such as pipetting, data handling, experimental design and microscopy, as well as build an online peer learning community through the use of discussion boards and microscopy competitions that encouraged students to explore their local environment. Students who engaged with these activities reported increased confidence in key practical skills. Practical assessment of skills showed that that there was no reduction in the proportion of students who succeeded in achieving the pipetting learning objective compared to previous years, despite a significantly reduced on-campus provision. Although the celebration event to choose the microscopy competition winners was well attended, there was limited use of the discussion boards by students to build a community of learning during the term. Refinement of this initiative will focus on providing greater scaffolding to encourage greater engagement with activities and enhance community building. Full article
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18 pages, 1595 KiB  
Article
Examining Technology Acceptance in Learning and Teaching at a Historically Disadvantaged University in South Africa through the Technology Acceptance Model
by Clever Ndebele and Munienge Mbodila
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12010054 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3803
Abstract
The exponential growth in the use of technology for learning and teaching in the higher education sector has imposed pressure on academics to embrace technology in their teaching. The present study sought to examine factors underlying technology acceptance in learning and teaching at [...] Read more.
The exponential growth in the use of technology for learning and teaching in the higher education sector has imposed pressure on academics to embrace technology in their teaching. The present study sought to examine factors underlying technology acceptance in learning and teaching at a historically disadvantaged university in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Premised on the mixed methods approach and undergirded by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), both a pre-coded and an open-ended questionnaire were used to collect data. Data from the pre-coded questionnaire were analysed through the descriptive statistical approach. The qualitative data from the open-ended questionnaire were analysed through content analysis. The study found that most academic staff believe and see the value that ICTs bring in their teaching and learning practices. In addition, they are aware that technology use in education improves learning and teaching, and they are willing to embrace the use of technology to improve their practices. Based on the findings, we recommend intensification of lecturer training in the use of technology for teaching and learning to enable them to embrace it in their teaching practice. Furthermore, the institution needs to put in place support systems for academic staff to empower them to have continuous access to devices and internet connection for technology integration in teaching and learning. We recommend establishment of e-learning communities of practise in the university that will allow lecturers to assist each other as well as share best practices in the use of technology for teaching and learning. Full article
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25 pages, 1025 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Relationship between Saber Pro Test Outcomes and Student Teacher Characteristics in Colombia: Recommendations for Improving Bachelor’s Degree Education
by Paola Sáenz-Castro, Dimitrios Vlachopoulos and Sergi Fàbregues
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11090507 - 6 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4123
Abstract
This explanatory sequential mixed methods study explores the perceptions of academic and administrative managers responsible for teacher training at a public university in Colombia, as well as their views on improving such training after learning about the performance of teachers student teachers in [...] Read more.
This explanatory sequential mixed methods study explores the perceptions of academic and administrative managers responsible for teacher training at a public university in Colombia, as well as their views on improving such training after learning about the performance of teachers student teachers in the 2019 Saber Pro test, the differences in their test scores, and the relationships and statistical correlations between these outcomes and the students’ personal, family, socioeconomic and academic characteristics. Our findings show significant differences in the student teachers’ mean scores and performance when data are grouped according to personal, socioeconomic and academic conditions; a significant relationship between performance and student teacher characteristics; and correlations between critical reading scores and the other competencies assessed. Our data also highlight the lack of knowledge among academic and administrative managers about students’ life circumstances and the diversity of factors that may impact their performance; the importance of correlational data; the difference between expected and true outcomes; the inequity under which students seem to pursue their education; the limitations in access to resources; the training required for teachers to be able to analyze quantitative data and use specific software; the impact of teachers’ critical reading skills on student outcomes; the importance of data-driven decision-making; and the need for teachers to engage in quantitative research practices. Full article
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16 pages, 981 KiB  
Concept Paper
Disrupting the Disruption: A Digital Learning HeXie Ecology Model
by Na Li, Henk Huijser, Youmin Xi, Maria Limniou, Xiaojun Zhang and Megan Yih Chyn A. Kek
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12020063 - 18 Jan 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5447
Abstract
Broad societal disruptions (i.e., the industrial revolution, digitalisation, and globalisation) have created a need for an increasingly adaptive higher education system in recent decades. However, the response to these disruptions by universities has generally been slow. Most recently, online learning environments have had [...] Read more.
Broad societal disruptions (i.e., the industrial revolution, digitalisation, and globalisation) have created a need for an increasingly adaptive higher education system in recent decades. However, the response to these disruptions by universities has generally been slow. Most recently, online learning environments have had to be leveraged by universities to overcome the difficulties in teaching and learning due to COVID-19 restrictions. Thus, universities have had to explore and adopt all potential digital learning opportunities that are able to keep students and teachers engaged in a short period. This paper proposes a digital learning HeXie ecology model, which conceptualises elements and relationships pertaining to the societal need for a more agile and digitally resilient higher education system that is better placed to confront disruptive events (such as pandemics) and that is able to produce graduates who are well-equipped to deal with disruption and uncertainty more broadly. Specifically, we propose a digital learning ecology that emphasises the role of self-directed learning and its dynamic interaction between formal, informal, and lifelong learning across a five-level ecosystem: the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. This study contributes to the theoretical literature related to flexible learning ecologies by adopting and incorporating the Chinese HeXie concept into such ecologies. Full article
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