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First things first


‘Don't ask what the technology can do for you, rather what the pedagogy needs.'


Gilly Salmon, Professor of e-Learning and Learning Technologies, University of Leicester




The challenge for using technologies in academic work, particularly teaching has more to do with how to make meaningful use of technologies than with getting to grips with how the tools actually work. This section will assist you in using technologies purposefully in your teaching.

A starting point

A learning environment is typically made up of:

  • Learning objectives
  • Learning tasks
  • Learning resources
  • Learning supports
  • Assessment(s)

Students usually work toward assessment by completing particular tasks, drawing on relevant resources, with a variety of types of support. Meaningful learning or a sense of purpose comes about when there is a coherent connection between these elements - we call this constructive alignment.

When you plan to use a particular technology in your teaching think about facilitating or enhancing some aspect or all of these elements.

The question you want to keep in mind is : 

"How will any change I make to my teaching enable my students to achieve the learning objectives for the course or topic?" 

The diagram below shows the connections between the above elements and may help you begin to see where you might make changes to your teaching/learning environment - and possibly use technology to facilitate that change. 

Learning resources?Learning activities?Learning supports?Assessment?


Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does. 2nd Edition. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education: Open University Press

Oliver, R. & Herrington, J. (2003). Exploring technology-mediated learning from a pedagogical perspective. Journal of Interactive Learning Environments, 11 (2), 111-126.

Planning guide

A typical learning or educational design process would take you through a series of questions based around the framework presented in the previous tab.

You may find the following list of questions useful to help you think about the way you might make changes to your teaching - possibly using technology.

If you would like to get some feedback about your plan you can complete a form online here  LTU Assist Form and submit it to us at the LTU for feedback or further consultation. 


What is the teaching and learning problem or opportunity I have?

Key questions

What is it that needs to change, be elaborated on or improved?

What is it that is/is not currently working well?

What are the points at which difficulties in learning are evident eg consistently bad scores on an assessment?

Are you having to reconsider your mode of teaching - eg needing to reach students who are off campus?

Do your course resources need updating?

How do I focus in on what I'd like to achieve?

Key questions

What is your teaching approach or philosophy?

What have others done to resolve a similar problem or issue?

What is most likely to work for my particular situation?

What is the vision you want to work toward?

How will I evaluate the changes I have made?

It is actually a very good idea to write down a few sentences or a paragraph stating what it is you would like to achieve - as a solution to the problem you have identified above. This will help you to hone your thinking.

Who are your students and what are their learning needs?

Key questions

Do you need to consider special issues your students may have: access; language; cultural; workload; disabilities; availability?

How do I want my students to engage with the course content?

How do I want students to interact with me and with each other? - what is my teaching approach/philosophy?

What constraints do I face? Do I also have to work in with other staff who are less receptive to potential changes?


What are the learning objectives?

Key questions

What should learners be able to do once they have completed the course or using your resource?

What attributes should they have once they have completed the course or use of the resource ("graduate profile")?

Can students contribute or negotiate the objectives themselves or are you going to give these to students?

How will students' achievement of the learning objectives be assessed?

Key questions

What is the assessment going to be?

What sort of learning does the assessment strategy imply/engender?

What marking allocation will you provide ? - and what message does that send about emphasis on learning, participation and contribution?

What will you include in a marking rubric so learners are clear about standards and expectations?

What tasks or activities will your students need to DO in order to prepare for the assessment?

Key questions

What tasks will engage and direct your students to construct/acquire the understanding they need?

What 'real-world' or 'authentic' tasks can be completed that will make the learning experience relevant and useful?

How can you link or integrate the completion of the tasks/activities to the assessment?

What resources will they need to use to undertake the above activities?

Key questions

What resources already exist that you can use? - why spend hours creating new materials if you can point your students to perfectly good resources that already exist?

That said, what resources do I need to create because they don't exist - or are not to a standard I want?

Am I providing my students with a variety of resources, offering multiple roles and perspectives?

Are the resources I am offering providing 'real-world' examples?

Are my resources up to date ?

Do I need to provide students with everything or should they be searching for resources themselves and sharing them?

Am I offering access to expertise and modelled examples?

What support will they need?

Key questions

How can you ensure students are getting adequate guidance and feedback throughout their learning process?

Can you facilitate a process whereby students can support or provide feedback to each other?

What communication channels will I set up for providing guidance and feedback?

Have I made expectations clear?

Is collaborative learning going to be appropriate?

Are you providing enough opportunities for students to express/articulate learning and gain feedback so they can improve and refine their understandin?

How might technology support what I want to achieve?

Key questions

What technologies exist to support development or change to my teaching resources, supports, student activities or assessment?

Can technologies help me to improve or change the way I: 

  • Present or structure information? 
  • Encourage interaction, discussion and collaboration?
  • Manage student activity?
  • Support assessment?
  • Evaluate and collect feedback?
  • Teach or reach students in multiple locations?

LTU assistance

Request for assistance from the Learning Technology Unit

Staff at the Learning Technology Unit may be able to help you work through your specific teaching and learning issue. If you would like some assistance, tell us about the problem you are interested in solving by completing the following online form and submitting it to us:

  LTU Assist Form

Or just  Get in touch with us by email to perhaps set up a discussion with one of our learning designers. 

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