An Invitation to Look at Enhancement in Technology-Enhanced Learning

Stephanie Gauttier
School of Computer Science & Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Inmaculada Arnedillo-Sanchez
School of computer science and statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland


The Internet, e-learning and now mobile learning are seen as opportunities for individual to access information and engage in learning anytime, anywhere. However, digital devices and technologies are also perceived as detrimental for learning (Dror, 2007), memory and attention (Watson, 2015). The role that they play in learning needs questioning. Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) is the use of technologies for learning. The term appears almost systematically in research concerned with e-learning without being discussed in itself (Kirkwood & Price, 2014). To this end, there is a call for drawing more attention to the concept of enhancement, which is at the core of TEL, (Kirkwood & Price, 2014; Dror, 2008). This paper proposes a discussion of the notion of Technology-Enhanced learning. Firstly, it will examine the definition of enhancement and highlight how learners could be cognitively enhanced. Secondly, it will discuss the role of technology in learning as seen in literature, and illustrate it mainly performs an enabling function, rather than an enhancing one. The paper argues that technology appears to have a real enhancing role when the cognitive abilities of the learner are taken into account. Based on these considerations, future research directions for TEL will be proposed.

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