Learning in a digital age

  • Our approach to understanding and developing the use of technology in higher education is learner centred and research informed.We have been working with the Higher Education Academy and the JISC to evaluate the experiences of learners and staff in technology rich environments. This work has included literature reviews, support and synthesis for funded projects as well as our own primary research for Oxford Brookes and other institutions. We have examined course specific cases of learning with e-portfolios and blended learning as well as more generic investigations of learners’ use of technology by students at Brookes.

    Currently our research interests and activities are centred around the following issues:

    • How do learners experience e-learning?
    • What is the process by which practitioners design for learning and how can this best be supported?
    • How do engaging and sustainable (online/blended) communities of practice emerge?
    • What are the common rationales and practices of blended learning?

    It is our ambition to develop the capacity to bid for, win and run major national research and development projects in e-Learning and to become a nationally recognised centre of excellence in e-Learning research and development.This theme has links closely with the School of Education's Childhood, Community and Citizenship research group (use of ICT in relation to literacy).

  • SLiDA, supporting learners in a digital age funded by JISC creates case studies of how institutions are supporting the development of learners for a digital age. 

    JISC Learner Experiences of e-learning Support & Synthesis project supports the research projects funded under the Learner Experiences of e-learning strand and synthesised and disseminated their work.

    ELESIG, funded by the Higher Education Academy is a Special Interest Group for those involved in investigations and evaluations of learners' experiences of e-learning founded by Oxford Brookes University and University of Bradford and University of Greenwich.

    Pathfinding for e-learning funded by the Higher Education Academy. The evaluation included development of a questionnaire to assess learners’ patterns of use of technologies and interviews and focus groups with students.

    Sharpe, R. & Benfield, G. (2012) Institutional strategies for supporting learners in a digital age. Enhancing Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences. 4 (2)

    Sharpe, R. & Benfield, G. (2012) Internet based methods, in J. Arthur, R. Coe, M. Waring and L. Hedges (eds) Research methods and methodologies in education, pp 193 – 201. Sage.

    Roberts, G. (2011). What do you do with your community IT centre? Life stories, social action and the Third Space: a biographical narrative interpretive study of adult users of a community IT centre. PhD Thesis, Southampton, UK: University of Southampton. Retrieved March 24, 2011

    Benfield, G. & De Laat, M. (2010). Collaborative knowledge building, in R. Sharpe, H. Beetham and S. de Freitas, Eds. Rethinking learning for a digital age. Abingdon, Routledge

    Sharpe, R. (2010) The impact of learner experience research on transforming institutional practices in T. Mayes (ed) Transforming Higher Education through Technology-Enhanced Learning, 178-190. Higher Education Academy, York. ISBN 978-1-907207-11-2

    Sharpe, R., Beetham, H., & deFreitas, S. (2010) (Eds) Rethinking learning for the digital age: how learners shape their experiences. RoutledgeFalmer, London.

    Benfield, G., Ramanau, R. & Sharpe, R. (2009). Student learning technology use: preferences for study and contact. Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, 2(4).

    Sharpe, R., Beetham, H., Benfield, G., DeCicco, E. and Lessner, E. (2009). "Learners Experiences of E-learning Synthesis Report: Explaining Learner Differences." Retrieved 10 June, 2009.

    Sharpe, R. and Benfield, G. (2009). ‘An Analysis of Learner Experiences of the e-Learning in JISC E-learning Capital Funded Projects’. Report to the JISC, 28 May 2009

    Deepwell, F. & Malik, S. (2008) On campus, but out of class – an investigation into students’ experiences of learning technologies in their self-directed study. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 16(1), 5-14.

    Ramanau, R., Sharpe, R. & Benfield, G. (2008) Exploring patterns of student learning technology use in their relationship to self-regulation and perceptions of learning community, Paper presented at Networked Learning Conference, May 2008, Halkidiki, Greece.

    Roberts, G. (2008) The Pathfinder Journey: Final reports for the Higher Education Academy

    Sharpe, R. (2008) Learning from the learners’ experiences. Keynote at the e-learning@Greenwich conference, in S. Walker, M. Ryan & R. Teed, Learning from the Learners’ Experience: post conference reflections, 11- 19, University of Greenwich, London

    Sharpe, R. (2007) Experiences of learning in a digital age. Keynote at the Irish Learning Technology Association conference, EdTech 2007, 24 – 26 May, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin .

    Sharpe, R., Benfield, G., Roberts, G. & Francis, R. (2006) The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice undertaken for the Higher Education Academy.

    Sharpe, R. & Benfield, G. (2005) The student experience of e-learning in higher education: a review of the literature. Brookes e-Journal of Learning and Teaching, 1 (3)