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Holistic Approach to Technology Enhanced Learning (HOTEL)

With this 1 million euros EU Support Action, focussing on adult learners and the design, testing and validation of a new innovation working method for TEL, the concept map of Learning Theory(with linked explanation for each theory) was built by Richard Millwood.(his blog: The Design of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education, licensed under CC BY-SA)

Holistic Approach to Technology Enhanced Learning


Many studies on the role of ICT as a catalyst to change learning scenarios have failed to grasp relevant developments because they were working on the ground of a given set of technology options and codified learning models. If the areas of implicit, tacit and informal learning are not taken into consideration there is little chance to discover fundamentally new forms of learning through ICT.

The HOTEL Support Action aims to contribute to more effective, holistic and faster innovation cycles in European TEL, by increasing quality at the level of the cycle itself and of the different phases foreseen, that can be replicated in the future. Taking inspiration from the “Deming Cycle” model (Plan/Do/Check/Act) the HOTEL project focuses on the design, testing and validation of a new innovation working method for TEL (the HOTEL Innovation Cycle).

The most important element of impact of the HOTEL project will be:

  • to establish a sustainable and replicable working paradigm (the HOTEL Innovation Cycle) to identify new models of learning through ICT, analyse the specific elements of innovation, assess the potential impact at the micro (technology-learning), meso (organizational-learning) and macro-level (policy); present results of the analysis and assessment to a community of innovators, researchers, decision makers; collect the results of field-test and in-depth contextualized proof-of-concept activities;
  • set up three Learning Exploratorium Labs (one in higher education, one in a corporate setting, one within an international professional network focused on eLearning quality) where the Innovation Cycle can be tested and validated and that will represent a contribution to the European Innovation Partnership for TEL.

The focus of the support action is on adult learners and the ways they use or might use ICT to learn as a structured and fully organized activity, but also as a side effect of work and personal development in many fields.

How can technology enhance learning?

The literature research confirmed that technology is as old as humankind. The foundations of technology resides in our imaginative capabilities as toolmakers. Humankind has always used tools, and recently technologies, as extensions of itself. Tools and technological evolution have been constant companions to the evolution of humankind. (Owers 2001, abstract)

Published as a poster in June 2012, “How can technology enhance learning?” (Millwood 2012) provides a framework for decision making when comparing technologies for their likely effectiveness in learning situations.

How can technology enhance learning- infographic

Iterative instructional design

Millwood said: “Educational designs I have engaged with have been complex and iterative, and in a research context could be considered as design studies as described by Shavelson et al:

Design studies have been characterized, with varying emphasis depending on the study, as iterative, process focused, interventionist, collaborative, multileveled, utility oriented, and theory driven. (Shavelson et al. 2003)

The iterative view of design (the verb) is not opposed to a design process base on architectural/engineering specification, where well known and predictive calculations can be made to find the exact dimensions and materials to create a building or bridge. Instead, the iterative view recognises the unpredictability of the design of education where people, their diversity, complexity and culture are part of the design space, not simply users of an end product. It is not enough to design a computer program which performs to specification, tests correctly and is viewed as satisfactory – in education such software is subject to the richness of human discourse, re-interpretation and creativity. In the process of iterative design, such issues can be explored and the design improved with the evidence gathered to make the most effective educational outcome in a dynamic context.”

Because of the iterative nature of better learning design, we would add the emphasis on the importance of data tracking at the end of this article. Without the feedback of data, the iteration cycles won’t be possible. Iterative nature isn’t only true for the process of instructional design, but also true for the process of learning. Both can only converge to their aims through data feedback and many iterations.

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