Academic Communities of Engagement (ACE) Framework

The Academic Communities of Engagement (ACE) framework was created to identify the factors that limit or facilitate students' ability to engage in online and blended learning environments. The ACE framework defines three interconnected dimensions of engagement: affective, behavioral, and cognitive. These dimensions are influenced by facilitators such as the personal and course environments, communities, and learner characteristics. The ACE framework was originally created to operate independently, but subsequent research has adapted it to include multiple environments and communities within a single course.

The original ACE framework grouped support actors into two communities: the personal community of support, which includes family and friends outside of the course; and the course community of support, which includes instructors and other students within the course. However, subsequent research has adapted the framework to include additional communities, such as the school/institutional community of support.

The ACE framework proposes that learner engagement can be increased with support elements such as facilitating communication, developing relationships, and instilling excitement for learning in the personal community; troubleshooting, orienting, organizing, managing, monitoring, and encouraging progress in the course community; and instructing and collaborating in the school/institutional community.

The ACE framework has been applied to various contexts, including online and blended learning environments, and has shown to be effective in identifying factors that limit or facilitate student engagement. The framework has also been used to develop measures of learner engagement and to inform the development of interventions aimed at increasing engagement.

In conclusion, the ACE framework provides a useful tool for understanding and addressing the factors that influence learner engagement in online and blended learning environments. By identifying the dimensions of engagement and the facilitators and barriers to each dimension, educators can better support students' academic success.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that enhances the real world by overlaying digital information, images, or 3D models onto it. AR has the potential to revolutionize education by providing interactive and immersive learning experiences that can motivate learners, simplify complex concepts, and cater to diverse learning needs. In this article, we will explore the concept of AR, its significance in education, and the benefits it offers in enhancing different pedagogical approaches.

AR has a rich history dating back to the 1960s, with its origins in computer graphics and virtual reality research. The term "augmented reality" was coined in 1992 by Tom Caudell, who described it as a digital display system used in aircraft assembly. However, it wasn't until the late 20th century that AR gained momentum with the development of smartphones, improved processing and rendering capabilities, and advanced computing technologies.

AR experiences are typically delivered through devices such as smartphones, tablets, or wearable devices that use cameras, haptics, and sensors to detect the user's surroundings and display relevant digital information. By bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, AR can enable learners to explore complex concepts in a hands-on manner, increasing their motivation to learn.

AR offers several benefits in education, including:

  1. Motivating learners: AR can make learning more engaging and interactive, which can increase learner motivation and participation.
  2. Simplifying complex concepts: AR can help learners understand complex concepts by visualizing them in a more tangible and relatable way.
  3. Catering to diverse learning needs: AR can provide customizable content and adaptive learning experiences, including support for students with special needs such as autism.
  4. Creating dynamic learning environments: AR can offer immersive and interactive learning experiences that actively involve students in the educational process.
  5. Enhancing different pedagogical approaches: AR can support constructivist, situated, games-based, and inquiry-based pedagogies, among others.

However, there are also challenges associated with AR in education, such as cost, content quality, privacy, ethics, and accessibility. To ensure that AR contributes to a more inclusive and effective educational landscape, it is crucial for educators and policymakers to address these challenges.

In conclusion, Augmented Reality has the potential to significantly influence education by providing more immersive, interactive, and connected learning experiences. By supporting constructivist, situated, games-based, and inquiry-based pedagogies, AR holds promise for enhancing student engagement and understanding. As AR experiences become more seamless and immersive with advancements in hardware and software, we may witness the further development of virtual classrooms, remote learning components, and collaborative AR experiences that foster increased global collaboration and cultural exchange.

Blended Teaching

Blended teaching is a strategic combination of online and in-person instruction, designed to overcome common pedagogical challenges and improve student learning. Instructors choose blended approaches for various reasons, including improved student learning, increased access and flexibility, and increased efficiency. Blended teaching involves intentional design and planning to combine the strengths of both modalities, addressing challenges such as participation, pacing, personalization, place, personal interaction, preparation, practice with feedback, and pedagogical competencies.

To overcome these challenges, instructors can use practical examples of blended teaching and learning, such as rotating students through online instructional activities, providing flexible pathways for students to progress through the curriculum, and incorporating formative assessments to gauge student understanding.

Two research-based competency frameworks are shared in the article: the Blended Teaching Readiness Framework and the Pillars of Online Pedagogy. These frameworks focus on pedagogical skills such as integrating online and in-person instruction, using digital data to inform teaching practices, enabling personalized learning experiences, facilitating online interaction, building relationships and community, incorporating active learning, leveraging learner agency, and embracing mastery learning.

By understanding these challenges and competencies, instructors can strategically design blended approaches that meet the unique needs of their students and improve overall student learning outcomes.

Cognitive Load Theory

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) was formulated by John Sweller in the 1980s. It describes how working memory processes information and includes three types: intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. Each type of cognitive load plays a crucial role in educational technology and instructional design, and by minimizing extraneous cognitive load and promoting germane cognitive load, educators can enhance learning effectiveness. CLT has become widely recognized as an influential framework in educational research, guiding instructional practices and fostering continuous improvement in designing effective and engaging learning experiences for students.

The concept of cognitive load was first presented by Sweller in relation to the effectiveness of conventional problem-solving methods for acquiring domain-specific knowledge and skills. Sweller indicated that working memory has a limited capacity, and stressed the importance of minimizing extraneous cognitive load to maximize learning. Specifically, he noted that "human short-term memory is severely limited and any problem that requires a large number of items to be stored in short-term memory may contribute to an excessive cognitive load."

Intrinsic cognitive load refers to the degree of difficulty inherent in a learning event. Extraneous cognitive load refers to elements of the educational experience that do not support the learning task, such as poorly organized instruction or irrelevant information. Germane cognitive load refers to the effort needed to transfer short-term information to long-term knowledge and understanding via schemas.

To reconcile the elements of cognitive load, educators should follow instructional strategies that reduce extraneous cognitive load while increasing germane cognitive load. This can be achieved by simplifying the presentation of information, engaging in instructional practices that promote germane cognitive load, and adapting instruction to fit learners' zone of proximal development or level of expertise.

CLT has been empirically confirmed in numerous studies and is an internationally well-known and widespread theory. It provides valuable insights for minimizing extraneous cognitive load while promoting germane cognitive load, and can help educators create more effective and engaging instruction that maximizes learners' potential for genuine understanding and knowledge construction. As CLT continues to inform educational practices, it holds the promise of contributing to the ongoing improvement of instructional design and educational effectiveness for years to come.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons is a series of open licenses that provide a simplified method for creators to license materials in a way that is more open to the public. The three-layer design simplifies the CC licenses while still providing versions that can be read and used by lawyers and computers. There are six CC licenses: CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, and CC BY-NC-ND. Other tools include CC0 and Public Domain Mark. The licenses are designed to be used on a global scale, but the stricter nature of intellectual property laws contrasts with the open nature of Creative Commons licenses. Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford law professor, helped spearhead the CC movement.

The Creative Commons license spectrum includes free cultural works, which are works that can be most readily used, shared, and remixed by others, and go furthest toward creating a commons of freely reusable materials. The two most restrictive licenses, CC BY-NC-ND, do not allow for a work to be changed or adapted; thus, they do not satisfy the Remix aspect of open content as defined by Wiley.

To apply a CC license to a creative work, select the appropriate license and indicate clearly which license is being used. Use a link or write out the URL to the deed of the license being used. More details on choosing and applying a CC license can be found here.

To provide attribution to CC licensed works, use the "title-author-source-license" method or "title-creator-source-license." This format should remain the same unless the creator reasonably states otherwise or if the work was adapted or modified. If a modification is made, mention it in the attribution.

In conclusion, Creative Commons licenses provide a simplified method for creators to license materials in a way that is more open to the public, while also giving audiences the ability to use those works without a need to contact the creator for usage permissions or a constant fear of copyright infringement. By understanding the basics of CC licenses, both creators and audiences can harness the power of open content.

Decision-based Learning

Decision-based learning is a teaching method that organizes instruction around the conditional knowledge required for experts to make decisions in a given domain. An expert breaks down their decision-making process into a series of questions and possible responses, creating an expert decision model (EDM) that can be represented visually. The EDM focuses on a single learning outcome and includes a range of problem types that share common characteristics but also have distinct characteristics. Students navigate a series of stepwise decision points, receiving just-in-time instruction on how to identify the defining conditions in a given problem. With sufficient repetition, students develop the ability to distinguish between defining and cosmetic conditions. DBL includes frequent, interleaved assessments without the aid of the EDM to prompt students to internalize their learning and develop a functional schema of the domain. As they practice, students begin to conceptualize real-world situations as instances of problem types and generate a functional schema allowing them to independently apply their learning in real-world situations. Through this framework, students also gain an understanding of the boundaries and application of underlying theories, principles, and concepts of the domain.

Emergency Remote Teaching

In summary, Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) is a temporary shift to remote instruction due to crisis circumstances, distinct from online learning. ERT relies on technology-mediated learning and may involve various modalities beyond online learning. It differs from education in emergencies, which addresses longer-term solutions to emergencies such as refugee crises. ERT is characterized by its temporal, immediacy, and remote nature, with a focus on maintaining instructional continuity despite resource constraints. While the term ERT has gained traction in the research community, further clarification of its relationship to education in emergencies and development of theoretical frameworks are needed for smooth implementation in the future.


Makerspaces are learning environments that promote creativity, problem-solving, and hands-on learning experiences. They typically include technology such as 3D printers, cutting machines, and software design tools, as well as more traditional arts and crafts supplies. Makerspaces can be found in various settings, including educational institutions, communities, and workshops.

The concept of makerspaces has its roots in the early days of human civilization, where people learned through hands-on activities such as building and creating. In educational settings, makerspaces have become more prevalent in recent years as a way to promote learner agency, self-regulation, and product-oriented learning.

Research on makerspaces has shown that they can foster a range of affective outcomes, including increased engagement, development of maker identities, and growth mindsets. While some scholars have focused on the skills and content knowledge outcomes associated with makerspaces, many have also explored the role of these environments in promoting creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

Makerspaces can be found in a variety of settings, including school libraries, community centers, and standalone makerspaces within educational institutions. They are often designed with accessibility in mind, providing resources and opportunities for learners of all abilities to participate.

In addition to their use in educational settings, makerspaces have also been used to prepare teachers for integrating these environments into their instruction. Research has shown that makerspaces can be an effective way to promote teacher professional development and increase the adoption of innovative teaching practices.

Internationally, the maker movement has expanded globally, with research examining the design of inclusive makerspaces, establishment of maker ecosystems, and what varying cultures affirm as making, innovation, and expertise. While much makerspace research is published in education journals, there has also been a growing trend towards studying these environments in formal learning contexts.

Overall, the definition of makerspaces encompasses a range of experiential learning experiences that promote creativity, problem-solving, and hands-on learning. These environments have the potential to foster positive outcomes for learners of all ages and abilities, both within and beyond educational settings.


Microcredentials are a relatively new concept in the world of education and career development. They are small volumes of learning that are assessed against transparent and clearly defined criteria, and are recognized as proofs of meeting defined learning outcomes. The term microcredential is often used interchangeably with other terms such as nanocredentials, badges, and microdegrees, but they do not always meet the definition of a microcredential as described in this paper.

The growth of microcredentials is driven by several factors, including the need to promote lifelong learning, the rapidly changing nature of work, and the importance of providing flexible and inclusive learning opportunities. Microcredentials can be used to fill skill gaps, upskill people for employability, and provide a more personalized and unique training and educational pathway.

Microcredentials fit into the current credential ecosystem as both standalone and stackable qualifications. They have the potential to liberate learners by providing entry points to those who want to verify and accredit their qualifications and expertise without entering the traditional long-form higher education system. Employers also benefit from microcredentials, as they provide just-in-time on-the-job training and continuous professional development.

Despite the growing momentum to integrate microcredentials more fully into the credential ecosystem, there are still challenges to overcome, such as interoperability across digital credential platforms and technologies, and the need for trusted quality assurance mechanisms and accrediting bodies. Additionally, more empirical evidence is needed to demonstrate the benefits of microcredentials to learners and employers.

Related terms include digital literacies, learner agency, and lifelong learning. These concepts are important in understanding the role of microcredentials in promoting flexible and inclusive learning opportunities.

In summary, microcredentials are a new and emerging concept in education and career development that offer flexible and personalized learning pathways. They have the potential to transform the credential ecosystem by providing unbundled, stackable, and credit-bearing small volumes of learning. However, there are still challenges to overcome to fully integrate microcredentials into the current credential ecosystem.


Microlearning is a learning strategy that involves delivering short, stand-alone instructional modules with one or two knowledge or skill-based objectives through various modalities. The term microlearning has been used interchangeably with other names such as short courses, just-in-time learning, microcontent, and more. Microlearning can be used in various educational settings, including higher education, professional settings, and informal learning scenarios.

The characteristics of microlearning include being versatile, standalone, and independent of other resources. It can be delivered through various media, such as video, flashcards, games, infographics, and checklists, and should conform to research-based multimedia design principles. Microlearning can be used in traditional in-person contexts or through mobile devices, and its content can be either content-knowledge-focused or competency-skills based.

Some myths about microlearning include the idea that it has to be video-based, require technology, or be one-size-fits-all. The future of microlearning is likely to be driven by advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, which can personalize learning experiences for individual learners. Gamification techniques are also likely to play a role in shaping the future of microlearning, as more people use mobile devices to access learning content on-the-go.

Related terms to microlearning include informal learning, lifelong learning, micro-credentials or badges, mobile learning, nonformal learning, online learning, personal learning environment, social media, and knowledge bytes or bite-sized learning.

In conclusion, microlearning is a strategy that aims to reduce extraneous cognitive load by delivering short instructional modules with one or two knowledge or skill-based objectives through various modalities. It can be used in various educational settings and has the potential to be shaped by advances in technology and gamification techniques.

Online Mentoring

Online mentoring is a computer-mediated, mutually beneficial relationship between a mentor and a protege that provides learning, advising, encouraging, promoting, and modeling. Online mentoring has been available since the advent of internet access and is evolving into a transformative educational and professional development strategy.

Online mentoring offers several advantages over traditional face-to-face mentoring, including:

  1. Boundarylessness: Online mentoring transcends cultural, geographical, and physical barriers, enhancing inclusivity and fostering holistic development within an increasingly interconnected global community.
  2. Egalitarianism: Online mentoring encourages belonging and engagement and provides new opportunities for self-directed learning.
  3. Accessibility: Online mentoring advances a learning vision where mentorship transcends cultural, geographical, and physical barriers, enhances inclusivity, and fosters holistic development within an increasingly interconnected global community.
  4. Flexibility: Online mentoring provides a dynamic platform that leverages digital connectivity to foster mentor-mentee relationships, drawing on online mentors' intentional use of strategies including personal competence, availability, career planning and networking, communication, feedback, and emotional connection.
  5. Global reach: Online mentoring can help find global solutions to common challenges, develop a more diverse perspective, build global community and collaboration, especially where participants share common fields, and work together on international projects and programs.
  6. Artificial intelligence-assisted online mentoring: AI methods may also impact online mentoring by managing administrative details, providing learner analytics to improve how the mentor guides the mentee, and helping to match mentors and mentees together.

However, there are also challenges to overcome in online mentoring, such as connectivity issues, access to reliable data, visual and auditory cues that facilitate effective interpersonal interactions, and the need for vigilant attention by both mentors and mentees to ensure up-to-date technology skills and coherent dialogue.

In conclusion, online mentoring is evolving into a transformative educational and professional development strategy that offers numerous advantages over traditional face-to-face mentoring. By creating collaborative learning experiences between mentees and mentors, online mentoring advances a learning vision where mentorship transcends cultural, geographical, and physical barriers, enhances inclusivity, and fosters holistic development within an increasingly interconnected global community.

Open Educational Practices

Open educational practices (OEP) is an umbrella term that encompasses the creation, use, and reuse of open educational resources (OER), pedagogical practices that promote peer learning, collaborative knowledge creation, sharing, and empowerment of learners, and systemic and structural initiatives to support and embed openness. The underlying values of OEP align with those of open education more broadly, including enabling educational access, ensuring inclusivity, and promoting equity. Examples of OEP include using OER, collaborative annotation, Wikipedia editing, open courses, and engaging in open learning/teaching communities. Some people use the terms 'OEP' and 'open pedagogy' interchangeably, while others consider OEP to be a broader concept that includes open pedagogy as a primary focus. OEP can be implemented at various levels, including individual artifacts, modules, or programs, as well as systemically across institutional structures. Recent research emphasizes the importance of critical and social justice approaches in OEP, acknowledging the significance of context and power relations and promoting diverse, inclusive, and equitable practices. Openness has a long history as a core value in higher education, and the term 'open educational practices' was first used in 2007 to describe practices that incorporate openness in teaching and learning.

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are copyrightable works that can be used for educational purposes and are either in the public domain or under a copyright license that provides free and perpetual permission to retain, revise, remix, reuse, and redistribute. The term "Open Educational Resources" was coined at a 2002 Forum on Open Courseware organized by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO). OER can include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, videos, tests, and any other copyrightable physical or digital tools or materials used to support access to knowledge. The most commonly used legal schema for granting an open license is provided by Creative Commons. Instructional techniques that utilize or rely on OER are generally classified as Open Educational Pedagogy, Open Educational Practices, or OER-Enabled Pedagogy.

The concept of OER exists only in the legal context of copyright law, where creators can grant permissions to users through a license. The most commonly accepted set of permissions is the 5R Activities, which include permission to retain, revise, remix, reuse, and redistribute copyrightable works. Creators often reserve some rights and requirements on the use of their works that are less than full copyright but more than no rights reserved. The six Creative Commons copyright licenses are used in the legal creation of OER, as they allow for all of the 5R Activities.

OER is the subject of much academic research, with varying goals and approaches. A large corpus of research is built on the COUP Framework, which explores the impact of OER through the lenses of Cost, Outcomes, Uses, and Perceptions. Several meta-analyses of OER research have been published, exploring the overall impact of OER across various metrics and in various contexts. Policy related to OER has been implemented throughout the world at many different levels of governance, incentivizing the adoption and use of OER by educators. In 2019, UNESCO adopted a Recommendation on OER that requires member states to monitor policies and mechanisms related to OER using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Related terms include Open Pedagogy, Open Education, Open Educational Practices, Open Licensing, Open Pedagogy, Open Textbooks. Community artifacts are also related to OER, as they can be used to support access to knowledge.

Open Pedagogy

Open pedagogy is a teaching approach that incorporates student involvement in the development of course content through renewable assignments or the creation/adaptation of open educational resources (OER). This approach is built on the foundation of the open education community's shared values, including student agency, sharing, diversity and inclusion, peer learning, co-creation/collaboration, and active/experiential learning. While there is no consensus on a definition of open pedagogy, it generally refers to student participation in the development of course content. Open pedagogy may overlap with OER-enabled pedagogy and open educational practices.

The term "open pedagogy" has evolved over time, with some scholars labeling it as "undefinable." Initially defined by Wiley (2007), open pedagogy involves students and faculty taking advantage of the "5 Rs" of openly licensed content to expand learning opportunities in the classroom. Other researchers define open pedagogy as an approach that allows students to join the academic conversation on a topic by creating or adapting openly licensed course materials. This may involve creating assignments that are renewable, meaning they have utility beyond the classroom.

Open pedagogy is closely related to theoretical teaching approaches such as experiential learning, peer learning, and student-centered learning. It also has a connection to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Examples of open pedagogical practices can be found in the Open Pedagogy Notebook and Project Roadmap.

Because of the variation in the use of the term "open pedagogy," it is important to provide a broad and flexible definition. Open pedagogy involves involving students in the creation, adaptation, or dissemination of openly licensed content, with a focus on shared values such as global community engagement, sharing, diversity, inclusion, student agency, and experiential learning.

Open pedagogy assignments can create an environment for student-centered learning by allowing individual learners to shape their own learning experiences. Experiential learning occurs when students are involved in open pedagogical activities such as building an open textbook. Student agency is a core value of open pedagogy, and instructors must consider potential power differentials with students when designing course curriculum with open pedagogical projects. Students should not be coerced or mandated into identifying themselves in openly licensed materials or required to openly license their assignments for course credit or a grade.

In addition, the sharing and licensing of traditional knowledge related to Indigenous communities should be honored. When working on projects related to cultural or Indigenous topics, students should respect the autonomy and authority of said peoples and defer to their resources by seeing what has already been shared and cited.

Related terms include OER-enabled pedagogy, open educational practices, diversity, equity, and inclusion, experiential learning, student agency, and openly licensed content. Additional resources can be found in the references below.

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is an educational strategy that tailors instruction to each learner's unique needs, abilities, and interests. This approach has gained popularity in recent years due to advancements in technology and the recognition of the importance of individualized learning.

The definition of personalized learning varies among educators and researchers, but it generally includes the following components:

  1. Customized curriculum: Learners have access to a tailored curriculum that meets their individual needs and learning goals.
  2. Learning activities: Instruction is designed to be engaging and relevant to learners' interests, with opportunities for self-directed learning.
  3. Time, place, pace, and/or path of learning: Learners have flexibility in when, where, how fast, or how far they progress through their learning materials.
  4. Goals: Personalized learning is focused on achieving specific learning objectives tailored to each learner's needs.
  5. Data-informed personalization: Learning is informed by data on learners' performance, activity, and profile data.

Personalized learning can be implemented in various settings, including schools, universities, and corporate environments. Technology has made it possible for learners to have access to tailored instruction, but there is a need for pedagogical knowledge to understand the importance of personalized learning and increase learners' self-efficacy.

Researchers have identified five dimensions of personalized learning: learner profiles, previous knowledge, personalized learning paths, flexible self-paced learning environments, and dynamic learning analytics. These dimensions can empower learners to take ownership of their learning and increase their learning self-efficacy.

In conclusion, personalized learning is a tailored approach to instruction that considers each learner's unique needs, abilities, and interests. While there is no single definition of personalized learning, it generally includes customized curriculum, engaging learning activities, flexibility in time, place, pace, or path, goals-based learning, and data-informed personalization. As technology continues to evolve, personalized learning has the potential to provide tailored, individualized instruction that can increase learners' self-efficacy and promote lifelong learning.


Phenomenology is a philosophical framework and methodological approach that seeks to understand the subjective experience of individuals in their everyday lives. It emphasizes the importance of intentionality, or the meaningful connections between things in the lifeworld, and encourages a more attentive and contemplative examination of lived experiences. In educational technology, phenomenology can inform pedagogy and learning design by paying attention to the experience of learning with technology and considering how to support learners' needs. Researchers using phenomenological methodologies must be informed by and draw upon phenomenological philosophy to ensure rigor and integrity. Phenomenological research resists a rigid structure and prescriptive strategies, instead employing iterative, emergent, and reflexive methods of data collection and analysis. Findings from phenomenological research are often written in an evocative manner to evoke a sensed understanding of the phenomenon. There are several different approaches to phenomenology, including transcendental or descriptive, hermeneutic or interpretive, and critical or postmodern.

In summary, phenomenology is a philosophical framework and methodological approach that seeks to understand the subjective experience of individuals in their everyday lives. It emphasizes the importance of intentionality and encourages a more attentive and contemplative examination of lived experiences. In educational technology, phenomenology can inform pedagogy and learning design by paying attention to the experience of learning with technology and considering how to support learners' needs. Researchers using phenomenological methodologies must be informed by and draw upon phenomenological philosophy to ensure rigor and integrity.

Professional Learning Networks

A professional learning network (PLN) is a dynamic and personalized ecosystem of people, spaces, and tools that support an educator's ongoing career-based learning. PLNs are not limited to a single platform or modality, but rather encompass multiple spaces and modalities, such as conferences, workshops, webinars, Twitter chats, unconferences, Reddit forums, and massive open online courses (MOOCs). The people within a PLN provide career-based feedback, advice, ideas, emotional support, and mentoring, while the spaces and tools offer opportunities for professional knowledge building with and from others.

The concept of PLNs has evolved over time, with Tobin (2000) being one of the first to highlight the importance of building a "personal learning network." However, the terms "personal learning network" and "professional learning network" are often used interchangeably, with the latter preferred when referring to career-based learning.

PLNs offer several benefits, including informal, self-directed, and interest-driven learning experiences that can happen anytime and from anywhere. Educators can choose which people, spaces, and tools support their unique needs, interests, and goals, and they can shift and evolve their PLNs over time based on changing professional needs, interests, goals, and broader contexts.

While PLNs offer numerous benefits, there are also challenges associated with their use, such as the potential for miseducation, distraction, and echo chambers. Educators must critically reflect upon their PLNs, the information exchanged, and the way their PLNs influence them. Tools such as the PLN Enrichment Framework can support this reflection process by providing a heuristic for interrogating the people, spaces, and tools within a PLN.

Related terms include personal learning network, informal learning, personal learning environment, self-directed learning, and MOOCs. Community artifacts, such as watch parties on YouTube, can also be used to support PLNs.


PIC RAT is a technology integration model for teacher education that assists teachers in improving their classroom practices. It has two parts: PIC and RAT. The PIC part responds to the question "What is the student's relationship to the technology?" with one of three responses: Passive, Interactive, or Creative. The RAT part responds to the question "How is the use of technology influencing the teacher's existing practice?" with one of three responses: Replacement, Amplification, or Transformation.

The PICRAT matrix organizes answers to these two questions into a 3x3 visual matrix. Practices are interpreted hierarchically, with more active, effective, and justified classroom technology practices occurring at the top-right of the matrix. The PIC part of the matrix loosely aligns with Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives for the cognitive domain, where passive learning activities might favor lower-level cognitive objectives like remembering, interactive activities might favor mid-level objectives like applying, and creative activities might favor higher-level objectives.

The RAT part of the matrix suggests that teacher practices with technologies exhibit differing levels of relative advantage to a teacher's pedagogy, with some practices being more pedagogically beneficial than others. The PICRAT matrix can be particularly useful when teachers reflect upon their practice by analyzing existing or proposed learning activities according to the framework.

One key insight of PICRAT is that any technology might be used in a variety of ways, with some practices being more educationally valuable than others. The more difficult parts of PICRAT for educators to understand and master in practice often include the Creative and Transformative levels.

In addition, one common concern with PICRAT is that its hierarchical structure might be viewed as delegitimizing some technology practices that are educationally valuable. However, rather than interpreting this to mean that teachers should never show YouTube videos to students, PICRAT should be used to consider whether there are additional ways to have students engage in the learning process beyond watching the video, whether some videos might be better than others, and whether practices near the bottom-left are being done for their educational merit or due to lack of planning and reflection.

Overall, PICRAT is a framework to help teachers and teacher education students engage in reflective practice and improve their classroom technology integration practices.

Q Methodology

Q Methodology is a research approach that focuses on studying subjective perspectives by combining both quantitative and qualitative measures in data collection and analysis. Developed by Stephenson in response to reductionism in psychological and social sciences, Q methodology prioritizes the individual's unique perspective rather than generalized characteristics seen across large populations. The Q method involves a forced-sort process, where participants are asked to rank statements or questions based on their level of agreement or disagreement. This data is then analyzed using statistical methods and qualitative exploration to provide a nuanced understanding of the subject's viewpoint.

Q Methodology is used in various fields such as health sciences, psychology, journalism, education, and environmental policy. There are two main design paradigms: single-participant design and multiple-participant design. Single-participant design delves deeply into individual self-perspectives, while multiple-participant design explores shared viewpoints among different groups.

The Q methodology features a unique lexicon that includes terms such as Concourse, Q set, and P set. These terms underscore the comprehensive approach to studying subjectivity. The Q analysis process combines statistical analysis with qualitative techniques to reveal subjective structures, attitudes, and perspectives from the perspective of the person or persons being observed.

Q Methodology is appropriate for study conditions that seek to rank participant perspectives about qualitative statements. It is often used in research studies that seek to reveal subjectivity, particularly in the social sciences. The role of mathematics in Q methodology is subdued, serving primarily to prepare the data to reveal their structure. Even within the statistical processes, Q methodology supports the use of judgmental and theoretical exploration of the data to develop a more accurate and robust picture of the whole.

In conclusion, Q Methodology is a unique approach to research that combines both quantitative and qualitative measures in data collection and analysis to study subjective perspectives. Its ability to reveal subjective structures, attitudes, and perspectives from the perspective of the person or persons being observed makes it an appropriate tool for studying subjectivity while retaining the depth, diversity, and individuality of a more humanistic approach.


The Replacement, Amplification, Transformation (RAT) framework is a technology integration model that helps instructors assess how their technology use serves their students and themselves. The RAT model was developed by Dr. Joan Hughes in 1998 to study how teachers integrated technology into their teaching practices. The framework identifies three primary purposes for technology integration: replacing existing practices, amplifying existing practices, and transforming teaching and learning through digital practices.

The RAT framework is organized around three themes and dimensions: instructional methods, student learning, and curriculum goals. Each of these themes has sub-dimensions that provide a more detailed understanding of how technology can impact teaching and learning. For example, under the instructional methods theme, there are dimensions for creating and organizing digital content, using technology to facilitate communication and collaboration, and leveraging technology to support student engagement and motivation.

The RAT framework provides a useful lens for evaluating the impact of technology on teaching and learning. By understanding the purposes behind technology integration, instructors can make more intentional decisions about how they use technology to support their students' learning. The framework also acknowledges that technology integration is not always transformative, and it is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of technology use.

In summary, the RAT framework provides a structured approach to understanding the impact of technology on teaching and learning. By identifying the purposes behind technology integration, instructors can make more intentional decisions about how they use technology to support their students' learning.


Self-efficacy is a crucial concept in education, as it affects students' and educators' motivation to learn and adopt new teaching strategies. According to Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory, self-efficacy is the belief that one can successfully learn and apply new knowledge or skills. It is grounded on two variables: the belief in one's ability to learn and the belief in the positive outcome of learning.

Research has shown that self-efficacy levels are critical in determining student achievement. Hickman, DeMoulin, and Ashton found a strong correlation between self-efficacy and student achievement. For faculty, self-efficacy is related to openness in acquiring new strategies, adopting technological innovations, avoiding burnout, and remaining current in their fields.

To raise self-efficacy levels, there are four primary strategies: enactive mastery, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Enactive mastery involves providing opportunities for students and educators to perform tasks and experience success, which lays a foundation for attempting additional skills. Vicarious experiences involve observing peers successfully complete the desired change or task, allowing the observer to internalize the belief that they too can succeed. Verbal persuasion involves offering encouragement and support to help learners believe in their ability to succeed. Physiological states involve creating a non-stressful learning environment to prevent physiological cues of anxiety from hindering learning.

By understanding and applying these strategies, educators can help students and faculty overcome self-efficacy barriers and achieve maximum learning potential.


Technocentrism is the tendency to view technology as a central component for addressing complex social issues and driving transformative changes in education. This perspective prioritizes the adoption of technological tools, platforms, and digital resources to enhance educational outcomes without adequately considering the broader educational context. Technocentric thinking separates digital technologies from their social and cultural context and suggests a one-way influence of technology on educational policies and practices.

The term technocentrism was first introduced by Seymour Papert in 1987, who contrasted it with his preferred approach, "computer criticism," which placed computers in socio-cultural perspective. Papert criticized the question, "What is THE effect of THE computer on cognitive development?" for ignoring factors such as skill, design, social structure, and cultural integration.

Hamilton and Friesen describe an essentialist approach to educational technology that maps closely to technocentrism, expecting technical functionality to lead to the realization of associated human potential once the technology is in place. However, instrumental approaches, which frame technology as a tool operating according to human goals, can also oversimplify the relationship between technology and social, cultural, economic, and other factors in education.

Another approach to countering technocentrism draws on sociomaterial and posthumanist theory, engaging with materials from a relational perspective and accounting for unintended consequences and range of practices and outcomes associated with digital education. Entangled pedagogy emphasizes the intertwined nature of technology and pedagogy, mutually shaping and influencing each other in complex ways.

While technocentric thinking is prevalent in digital education research and practice, it is generally a term applied critically to others' work rather than a description of an established position. Nevertheless, technocentrism continues to be observable in both practical and theoretical forms, and ongoing efforts to work against forms of technocentrism have led to new insights and alternative perspectives in the field of educational technology.


The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework is a model that outlines the different types of knowledge required for effective technology integration in teaching. The framework was first introduced by Mishra and Koelher in 2005, and it builds upon Shulman's Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) framework. TPACK proposes that effective technology integration requires a balance between the affordances of technology, the content being taught, and the pedagogical approaches used in a particular educational context.

The TPACK framework consists of four interconnected circles: Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, Technological Knowledge, and Contextual Knowledge. Each circle represents a different type of knowledge that teachers need to possess in order to integrate technology effectively into their teaching practices.

Content Knowledge refers to the knowledge of the subject matter being taught, including the content specific to the curriculum and a deeper understanding of disciplinary concepts and practices. Pedagogical Knowledge concerns the methods and practices of teaching and learning, including the overall goals of education, how students learn, assessment practices, and classroom management. Technological Knowledge describes the ability to use technologies productively for various learning or organizational tasks, and it is a fluid and evolving knowledge as technologies continually develop over time. Finally, Contextual Knowledge refers to the knowledge teachers possess of the broader context within which their teaching functions, including knowledge of state standards and policies, as well as the culture of the school or district.

The TPACK framework emphasizes the interaction between its knowledge domains, and it includes understanding how to represent concepts through technology, how to use technology to teach content, common misconceptions in curricular areas, and how technologies affect students' epistemologies. Teachers with effective TPACK can adapt to new technological tools, new concepts in content, and innovative pedagogical approaches, and they can use the affordances and constraints of technologies to improve teaching and learning in their particular educational context.

The TPACK framework has been widely adopted and has had a significant impact on practice, with schools and colleges of education incorporating it into teacher professional development and teacher education. According to the text, there have been 1418 articles, 318 chapters in books, 28 books, and 438 dissertations that have used TPACK as a conceptual framework, and it has had an impact on practice with schools and colleges of education across the world.