Technological and Social Environments for Interactive Learning
Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is a very broad and increasingly mature research field. It encompasses a wide variety of research topics, ranging from the study of different pedagogical approaches and teaching/learning strategies and techniques, to the application of advanced technologies in educational settings such as the use of different kinds of mobile devices, sensors and sensor networks to provide the technical foundation for context-aware, ubiquitous learning. The TEL community has also been exploring the use of artificial intelligence tools and techniques for the development of intelligent learning environments capable of adapting to learners’ needs and preferences and providing learners with personalized learning experience. Recognizing the potential of online social networks, social media, and web-based social software tools as learning platforms for online education, the TEL community has devoted significant time and effort into researching how these popular technologies could be combined with appropriate peda-gogical approaches to make learning experience more engaging, satisfying, and successful. Among the most important results of these research endeavors are personal learning environments that allow learners to create mash-ups of diverse social software tools based on their own needs and preferences as well as to create and maintain their online learning networks. Undeniably, technological advancement is making education more accessible to an increasing number of people worldwide. To fully exploit the huge benefit the technology is offering, the TEL community is exploring effective approaches for adapting learning resources to address language, generation, and cultural specificities. Aiming to make learning accessible to all, the community has also focused on the development of solutions for learners with special needs. Finally, it should be noted that all the above mentioned research efforts of the TEL community are finding their applications in different learning contexts and domains, including formal education and informal learning, as well as workplace learning in small, medium, and large organizations. Since the scope of TEL research is constantly evolving, the above given overview of the current research efforts does not aim to be exhaustive by any means. Instead, its purpose is to give some insights into the breadth of research topics and challenges that this edited book aims to cover. The book comprises 14 chapters, which are topically organized into several sections. However, this division of chapters into sections is not strictly definitive as each of the chapters itself presents a comprehensive research work that often spans across diverse TEL areas and thus could be categorized into more than one section of the book.
The high speed of development in the field of Information Technology and the fact that information and knowledge are regularly and quickly becoming obsolete have led to the situation where Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) is becoming an intrinsic part of one’s life-long learning strategy. In fact, SRL has been increasingly recognized as a core educational process. It is generally seen as one’s ability to plan, control and self-assess his/her learning progress towards personal learning goals. To be successful, SRL requires special cognitive and metacognitive skills.
In higher education, students have to study in a self-regulated manner most of the time. Quite often, however, they are not instructed on how to work effectively and efficiently in this regard. Moreover, research on SRL proves that only few students naturally develop skills required for successful SRL (Zimmerman, 2008).
Widely available ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) tools are often incorporated into the educational process and have become the platform to host self-study courses. However, even though numerous studies have shown the benefits of incorporating web-based tools into learning (Bartolome & Steffens, 2011), some students feel stressed and discouraged when using these tools; they find themselves lost and neglected compared to the traditional classroom-based instructions and study conditions. As a result, instead of the expected good results, poor academic performance and lack of motivation can become the key outcomes of ICT-supported SRL (Zimmerman, 2008).