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Education in a digital environment


NB Language spoken is English unless only Dutch-speaking students participate


We live in fascinating times. Everything you would like to know, from quantum mechanics to chocolate cookies, is only one click away. Moreover, our rapidly evolving digital world presents opportunities to more efficiently and effectively shape the way we educate people across the lifespan. Hence, not surprisingly, numerous different digital educational programs and ICT applications have been developed over the last decade — ranging from applications to increase reading speed, to fully adaptive learning environments to radically improve children’s reading and math skills. However, while there are obvious advantages of digital education, there are some important challenges as well. For example, how do you implement a digital learning environment (or even a straightforward application) in an existing context that is not primarily digitally oriented, such as a primary school? And let’s say you have succeeded in implementing the digital learning environment of your choice, how do you evaluate its value in terms of our current knowledge and assumptions about cognitive learning mechanisms? In this course, we will address these and many other questions that are related to current (and future) digital solutions in education. We will do so by reading theoretical and empirical studies about the important themes in digital education (e.g., motivation of students and teachers, adaptive learning, big data) as well as by providing hands-on experience with implementing a digital learning environment. As such, you will gain in-depth knowledge about how to assess the challenges and opportunities of digital education in our ever-changing world.

Course objectives

  • Acquire knowledge of a variety of digital educational applications and the underlying learning-theoretical assumptions (such as, adaptive training environments, simulation environments, MOOCS, blended learning, flip-the-classroom etc.).

  • Appreciate the influence — advantages and disadvantages — of the introduction of digital educational tools across a range of contexts.

  • Acquire and practice skills in the critical analysis and evaluation of digital educational tools (knowledge, skills, engagement, motivation).

  • Critically evaluate the relevant literature about digital educational tools.

  • Receive insight in the impact of digital tools on the role of teachers.


Mode of instruction

To ensure that students will attain a thorough knowledge of this emerging field, instruction will take a variety of forms, including lectures, group discussion as well as cooperative learning activities and group assignments.

Assessment method

  • Group assignments and presentations (group-wise, but evaluated individually).

    *Student reports (individually) about specific digital educational tools: evaluation of usage in school context (impact on teaching) and literature-based scientific evidence. ### Blackboard During this course Blackboard will be used.

Reading list Study material will consist of recent book chapters as well as primary research articles from leading journals in education, psychology, and cognitive science.

Registration Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.

Courses - Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.

Exams The exam of this course is a written report. Hence, you do not have to register for an exam in uSis.

Contact information Contact and questions: dr. Dietsje Jolles) or dr. Arnout Koornneef)