Expanding evidence approaches for learning in a digital world

28 Feb 2013

Executive Summary: Relatively low-cost digital technology is ubiquitous in daily life and work. The Web is a vast source of information, communication, and connection opportunities available to anyone with Internet access. Most professionals and many students have a mobile device in their pocket with more computing power than early supercomputers. These technological advances hold great potential for improving educational outcomes, but by themselves hardware and networks will not improve learning. Decades of research show that high-quality learning resources and sound implementations are needed as well.

The learning sciences have found that today’s technologies offer powerful capabilities for creating high-quality learning resources, such as capabilities for visualization, simulation, games, interactivity, intelligent tutoring, collaboration, assessment, and feedback. Further, digital learning resources enable rapid cycles of iterative improvement, and improvements to resources can be instantly distributed over the Internet. In addition, digital technologies are attracting exciting new talent, both from other industries and from the teacher workforce itself, into the production of digital learning resources. Yet even with so many reasons to expect dramatic progress, something more—better use of evidence— is needed to support the creation, implementation, and continuous enhancement of high-quality learning resources in ways that improve student outcomes.

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