Technology and Theories of Learning

Rosamund Sutherland, Charles Crook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

6 Citations (Scopus)


Within this chapter we provide an overview of the range of theories of learning that have been harnessed within the design and development of TEL environments. We start by aligning the history of TEL with the history of learning theory, from behaviourism to information processing, to the rise of constructivism, to a turn to the social and the cultural. We discuss the behaviourist, cognitivist, constructivist and socio-cultural perspectives as “grand theories”, but argue that such theories do not do full justice to the diversity of theoretical thinking within TEL research. We suggest that these mainstream theoretical traditions are specialising and diversifying into what could be called “subsidiary theories” in order to respond to the particular context of TEL design. We review some of these subsisidiary theories in order to indicate the direction of evolution that the overarching frameworks are inspiring. We end the chapter with a brief reflection on the interdisciplinary challenge of theorising learning when it is situated within social institutions such as schools, and the need in these contexts to pay attention to the sociological and political aspects of learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology Enhanced Learning
Subtitle of host publicationResearch Themes
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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