This presentation is about how the world’s top universities view technology and technology enhanced learning, as expressed through their strategy documents.
The research on which the presentation is based is a follow-up study to Flavin and Quintero (2018), which analysed 44 technology-enhanced learning strategies from UK Higher Education Institutions (Research in Learning Technology, vol. 26).
The new research uses the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings ( a globally-recognised league table) to identify the world’s leading universities, and to analyse if the findings undertaken at a national level were replicated in a wider context. The research identified 85 relevant strategy documents, ranging from Stanford (number 2 in the rankings) to the University of Reading (195 in the rankings).
The research uses Disruptive Innovation theory as a critical frame of reference through which to examine the strategy documents. This theory is used because of its prevalence both in Education and in other disciplines, the theory having arisen in Business Studies in the 1990s. The presentation reviews and critiques Disruptive Innovation theory before applying it to a number of case studies from leading HEIs internationally. In common with the earlier study, it argues that strategy documents for technology and technology enhanced learning are often conservative. They voice a commitment to innovation but, in practice, what is proposed relates to the incremental enhancement of existing provision, or the more efficient usage of existing technologies. There is very little, notable innovation in the strategy documents sampled.
The presentation encourages reflection on the gap between policy and practice. Usage of technologies by staff and students is often innovative, using non-institutional technologies to accomplish learning and teaching goals, and appropriating technologies to do specific jobs. Participants will be encouraged to evaluate their own institutional strategies for technology enhanced learning, in relation to actual practices with technologies at their institutions, and to consider how they might leverage their ground-level innovation and influence to shape strategies.
The presentation argues that Disruptive Innovation theory is a valuable, critical frame of reference with which to address digital education, because its core tenets of simplicity, convenience and cost can comprise reliable predictors of an emerging technology’s success.
Flavin, M. & Quintero, V. (2018). UK higher education institutions’ technology-enhanced learning strategies from the perspective of disruptive innovation, Research in Learning Technology, 26, DOI: https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.1987