Digital technologies can enhance and improve teaching and learning strategies in many ways. However, whatever pedagogic strategy or approach is chosen, the educator’s specific digital competence lies in effectively orchestrating the use of digital technologies in the different phases and settings of the learning process.
Shahadat Hossain Khan (2016) identifies two strategies with five main orientations to ICT-enhanced teaching distributed along a continuum from teacher-focused approaches: comprising information-oriented, feedback-oriented and practice-oriented to student-focused approaches: consisting of activity-oriented and industry-oriented teaching.
A study by the European Training Foundation on Digital and Online Learning in Vocational Education and training in Serbia has examined how the introduction of Digital and Online Learning changes teachers’ practice? They say: “From the narratives of the teachers interviewed, those who believe they have integrated DOL into their own practice acknowledged that working in the DOL environment does effectively mean ‘turning everything upside down’. They have to change the way they observe the learning process, and how they observe the students’ role and their own role in it.” The report says that this indicates that they are prepared to become much more reflective practitioners beyond their normal subject material. “The amount of literature that teachers need to assimilate increases, and some of them recognise that they will be on a continuous learning pathway following the introduction of DOL. This changes how they prepare their own lessons and how they conceptualise the whole teaching and learning process.” All the teachers interviewed perceived that the use of DOL makes them more available for students and enables them to reach those who are not in school regularly.”
Jane Hart (2019) has developed what she calls a Framework for 2019 for learning in the workplace.
The pedagogical approach at the University of Northampton in the UK is characterised as ABL – active, blended learning.
They define Active Learning as “a learning & teaching approach that strives to more directly involve students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities designed to help them use and make sense of new knowledge (rather than just reading it or listening to it). There are lots of ways that this can happen: through application exercises, through collaborative or peer learning (discussion, debate, team-based learning), through project, case or problem-based learning etc.”
Blended approaches are seen as supporting “learning across multiple modes of delivery, combining classroom activity with independent study, and using technology where appropriate to support learning both in and out of the classroom. This might include: online discussions or debates, online activities (often referred to as ‘e-tivities’): tests, quizzes, preparation or extension activities and resources, online labs or virtual classrooms etc. Sometimes this includes ‘flipping the classroom’ where lecture content might appear online before the class to help students prepare for activities in the classroom.”
A recent report for the UK government (Ali Zaidi, Shane Beadle and Arthur Hannah, 2018) found that Further Education and Higher Education providers “do not generally regard online learning as a priority and few planned to expand their online learning offer to reach a wider geographical area. Most provision was developed organically to meet a local need rather than as part of a coordinated strategy. However, there are a wide range of private providers and MOOCs that specialise in online learning and have plans for expanding their market share.”
They report also found that “ a lack of teacher skills in using online learning authoring tools and understanding effective online pedagogies was inhibiting their ability to expand their online offer. Some providers also reported that teachers had limited time to develop new courses which slowed developments in some subject areas.”