Engaging with Learners: Learners’ Influence on the Use of Technology to Personalise Learning

By Carol Robinson.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper focuses on how learners’ preferences about ways of learning, in terms of their use of digital technologies, can impact on teaching and learning and influence schools’ decisions about resourcing. The paper reports on findings from a research project which aimed to find out how learners and their representatives have influenced schools’ decisions to introduce, support and grow opportunities for personalising learning through the use of digital technologies. Particular attention will be given to the extent to which learners’ voices about their preferred use of technologies can transform school-based learning and the factors which facilitate and inhibit such transformations. Research was conducted in 10 case study schools in England, comprising four primary schools, three secondary schools, one sixth form college and two special schools. The special schools comprised one secondary school with a large percentage of learners on the autistic spectrum and one hearing impaired unit attached to a secondary school. What emerged from the research was evidence of learners influencing and, to a lesser extent, leading school-based activities using digital technologies. Examples from the research will be drawn upon to highlight the facilitating and constraining factors which impacted on how learners influenced the ways in which digital technologies were used to support learners in personalising their own learning.

Keywords: Learner Voice, Learners’ Preferences, Learner Participation, Personalising Learning, Digital Technologies

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.359MB).

Dr. Carol Robinson

Senior Research Fellow, Education Research Centre, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK

I am a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Brighton, England. My research interests focus around learner voice and participation; the transfer / development of good practice within and between schools; and the professional development of teachers. I have been involved in several research projects based around learner participation and voice and have led a number of Learner Voice projects in primary, secondary and special schools, helping staff to develop ways of listening to the voices of the young people in their schools. I also led the ‘Pupils’ Voices’ strand of the University of Cambridge Primary Review of Education in England. Currently, I am working with UNICEF to evaluate their school based Rights, Respecting Schools Programme and am a principal researcher on a project investigating the ways in which head teachers develop the skills required for school leadership.


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