What Do Students Want? Making Sense of Student Preferences in Technology-enhanced Learning

 

This article, with its focus on university students as intended recipients and users of technological innovations in education, explores student preferences across three dimensions of technology-enhanced learning: mode of instruction; communication; and educational technology tools embedded in learning and teaching activities. The article draws on results of an exploratory case study, where mixed (quantitative and qualitative) data was collected from a randomized student sample generated through the institutional learning management system. An online survey (N=66) gaged students’ engagement with educational technologies, online and blended learning and social media as a learning tool. The findings confirmed previous research arguing that students generally use educational technology in a narrow way, rarely engaging with technological tools, unless it is presented to them as integral to their learning or if they are already familiar with a particular tool and/or perceive it as useful. Despite a well-cited characteristic by proponents of ‘digital natives’ that students need constant entertainment, this study found no evidence that this was the case.