Technology-Mediated Learning (cc 2.0) (cc 2.0)

Research Question: How do students learn in technology-mediated environments?

Abstract: Technology-mediated learning refers to an environment in which the learner’s interactions with learning materials, peers, and/or instructors are mediated through information technologies (Alavi and Leidner, 2001). The objective of this paper is to review current research on technology-mediated learning using a theoretical framework derived from the existing literature. The framework presents three dimensions (primary participant, instructional design, and information technology) that influence students’ psychological learning processes, and eventually lead to different learning outcomes. The literature review reveals that certain relationships identified by this framework have received significant attention (e.g., the influence of a technology feature on learning outcomes), while others have been ignored (e.g., the influence of IT on psychological processes). Research questions that can help advance our understanding of technology-mediated learning are discussed.


Findings: This paper provides an integrated framework that explicates relationships among technology, primary participant and instructional design dimensions, psychological learning processes, and learning outcomes. While our literature review offers a significant response to Alavi and Leidner’s fascinating research commentary that appeared five years ago, it also reveals that knowledge on this topic remains limited and underdeveloped.

Implications: Our analysis highlights five areas of research opportunity in the technology mediated learning domain: (1) using different (non-student) research subjects; (2) exploring the social nature of learning; (3) examining IT infrastructure and its various roles; (4) investigating the applicability and efficacy of new learning models (e.g., cognitive information processing, socioculturalist); (5) explicating learning processes and how they are facilitated by IT.

Citation: Wan, Z., Fang, Y., Neufeld, D.J. (2007). The role of information technology in technology-mediated learning: A review of the past for the future. Journal of Information Systems Education 18(2), pp. 183-192. [link]