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Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries to Improve Technology-Rich Learning Environments


by Susanne P. Lajoie & Eric Poitras — 2017

Background: The capacity of instructional technologies to personalize instruction has progressively improved over the last decade, in conjunction with changes in learning theories that dictate what, when, and how to support learners.

Focus of Study: This paper reviews several technology-rich learning environments that are investigated by members of the Learning Environments Across Disciplines partnership, including Newton’s Playground, the War of 1812 iHistory tours, Crystal Island, BioWorld, and MetaTutor. The adaptive capabilities of these systems are discussed in terms of the metaphors of using computers as cognitive, metacognitive, and affective tools.

Research Design: Researchers rely on convergent methodologies to collect data via multiple modalities to gain a better understanding of what learners know, feel, and understand. The design guidelines of these learning environments are used to situate this understanding as a means to generalize best practices in personalizing instruction.

Conclusions: The findings of these investigations have significant implications for the metaphor of using technology as a tool to augment our thinking. The challenge is now to broaden learning theories while taking into consideration the social and emotional perspective of learning, as well as to leverage recent advances in learning analytics and data-mining techniques to iteratively improve the design of technology-rich learning environments.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 3, 2017, p. 1-30
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21770, Date Accessed: 5/30/2017 9:03:05 AM

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About the Author
  • Susanne Lajoie
    McGill University
    E-mail Author
    SUSANNE P. LAJOIE is a Professor and Canadian Research Chair Tier 1 in Advanced Technologies for Learning in Authentic Settings in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University and a member of the Centre for Medical Education. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. Dr. Lajoie explores how theories of learning and affect can be used to guide the design of advanced technology-rich learning environments in different domains, such as medicine, mathematics, and history.
  • Eric Poitras
    University of Utah
    E-mail Author
    ERIC POITRAS is an Assistant Professor for Instructional Design and Educational Technology in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah. He graduated from McGill University, where he earned a graduate degree in the Learning Sciences and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Learning Environments Across Disciplines research partnership. His research aims to improve the adaptive capabilities of instructional systems and technologies designed as cognitive and metacognitive tools as a means to foster self-regulated learning. In particular, his work focuses on the capabilities of intelligent tutoring systems and augmented reality applications to capture and analyze learner behaviors in order to deliver the most suitable instructional content in domain areas such as medical diagnostic reasoning, historical thinking, and teacher professional development.
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