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NESTA Decoded Learning by Mind Map: NESTA Decoded Learning
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NESTA Decoded Learning

Chapter 2: Learning from experts

Use of Tech


Traditional, Tutorial, Dialogue, Learner, Teacher, New representations e.g. augmented reality can change the context dialogue, Exposition, structuring and presentation of learning, learner need the support of teachers to interpret those ideas and to convert that information into knowledge.

Problems with evaluation and filtering

Chapter 2: Learning from others


learners developing knowledge through mutual interest and understanding., One exemplar the researchers found was BoomWriter is a free “competitive writing platform”39 that helps engage learners by combining creative writing with social media technology. Learners work together to build a story set up by the teacher. Decisions are taken through blind peer evaluation and voting., IWB Exemplar, Dialogic Lessons on IWB's Cambs, CPD resources, Video / Audio Exemplars


the way in which learners organise themselves, especially where they contact each other only intermittently (such as through an online forum).


groups of learners developing a community of knowledge through shared understanding and practice


he dissemination of the knowledge gained through learning with others., Few examples looked at the performative dimension – digital resources that might create audiences for the outputs of joint learning are somewhat neglected.

Chapter 2: Learning through making

construct their own understanding

create something they can share with others.

The success of learning through making depends on the appropriate use of digital tools in suitable environments.

A review of the use of ICT to support creative and critical thinking in formal education highlighted the key role played by teachers in successful implementation.

Chapter 2: Learning through exploring

freedom to act

need to regulate their own actions, which is itself an important skill for learning.

Digital tools

offers new and engaging ways to explore information

offer new ways to structure the environment that learners explore.

Current research in this area

technology–supported exploration is underused and undervalued

Evidence in the few examples found was of a high quality and suggests that technology does offer the potential to enhance learning through exploration.

Chapter 2: Learning through Inquiry

Inquiry-based learning is seen as one way of enabling learners to think critically and participate in evidence–based debates.

Enthusiasm for technology–supported inquiry is high.

The most highly rated innovation of all involved an online portal that engaged secondary and higher education students in creative challenges set by industry. The major appeal of this project was its ability to connect learning with real-life, industry–based demands.

CF Hyperisland

high quality examples illustrate potential of technology to support learning through inquiry in a wide variety of settings, across a range of subjects and with different types of learners.

Chapter 2: Learning through Practising

Practising their skills enables learners to build a solid foundation of knowledge that can then be used in other contexts.

use of technology to support practise is rarely seen to be innovative; but promising developments include the use of rich multimodal environments that can create challenging problems and provide appropriate feedback.

Games are often used as a means of encouraging learners to practise. However, the more highly–ranked examples with our expert panel did not simply use games to disguise an otherwise dull period of practice. They also provided learners with interesting and challenging problems; and with feedback to help learners develop new insights.

Chapter 2: Learning through Assessment

current level of research innovation in technology–supported assessment is modest; the most innovative work focusses on self-assessment through reflection rather than teacher-led assessment.

majority of examples of innovation are based upon summative assessment of traditional subjects. More work is needed to assess the potential for technology to support formative assessment or the assessment of other skills.

Combining data, captured through a variety of digital tools, with learning analytics appears to offer great promise for assessment.

Another promising area for development is e-assessment using social networks and read-write technologies such as web 2.0, which can facilitate peer, collaborative and self-guided learning.

The technologies used in the research examples were notably different from those used in the teacher–led examples.

All the teacher–led examples relied upon ‘off the shelf’ technology, including free software such as Audacity108 and Jing  THE PROOF, PROMISE AND POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL EDUCATION 41 (audio and video)109 and SurveyMonkey (questionnaire design).110 The research examples more often involved bespoke software, such as an adaptive learning environment,111 or existing technologies with added bespoke features, such as a system that automatically captures whiteboard images and makes them accessible.112

Chapter 2: Learning in and across Settings

The ‘context of learning’ has an important role to play in determining the quality of learning – learning across locations can enhance the learning experience.

Technology can help learners apply and transfer learning from one setting, such as a lesson at school, to another, such as a field trip or the home.

The variety of locations in which the technologies were used, subjects covered, and ages of the learners suggest that digital tools have the potential to enhance learning in a wide variety of settings.

Key success factors include: understanding what parents really need in order to get them involved; recognising that activities designed for school are not necessarily transferable to the home, and vice versa; providing on–going support; and ensuring that learners’ uses of technology at home are purposeful.

Transfer of learning across different settings can be difficult.

Purple Mash

Filed Trips

Chapter 3 is concerned with linking these Learning Themes

Linking learning activities

Institutional Strategic linking

Not just innovative Episodes but Innovative schools

In innovative schools the aspirations are strikingly similar

Learning should strive for depth and understanding

Learning experiences should be authentic or relevant

Learning should create and disseminate new knowledge

Assessment is important

Assessment is by far the single most unpopular learning activity. None of the cases involving assessment was ranked highly by our expert panel; particularly when assessment was used to support other learning activities. Yet much of the assessment seen in the innovations reviewed was not summative, with its (often negative) association of judgement and examination. Assessment can also be formative: that is, it can be used to monitor learner progress and provide feedback that guides and supports, rather than judges and examines. It is this broader sense of assessment that offers greater scope for innovation and perhaps deserves more recognition.

One study of 595 learners who used a course management system as part of a blended learning approach144 found that the system encouraged deeper learning and enhanced understanding by promoting constructive dialogue between learners and enabling interactive learning. The findings from the study suggest that learners gain more when they are provided with opportunities for dialogue along with the learning material.

One example of innovation in this area is the Knowledge Forum,145 in which original project work is researched, co-ordinated and shared. However, such innovations are rare.

Chapter 4 : Context is important


Chapter 2, the key to success is the care and inclusiveness with which technologies have been designed and implemented.

Whether they are inside or outside the classroom, all learning environments contain a set of formal and informal rules that shape the behaviour of teachers and learners.

Sometimes existing infrastructure may limit the use of technology. Many examples required access to electricity150 or the Internet. The introduction of faster broadband speeds gives learners greater access to multimedia resources in many areas, but this will be a gradual process. This has important implications for VLEs, where quality of experience is filtered by the speed of connection.

Several innovations promoted connections between classrooms within schools. One example involved using QR codes and mobile devices to create treasure hunts around a school.151 Technology can also support learning in outdoor areas, by, for example, guiding a tour of a floodplain.152 And it can connect learners: from across museums in Europe;153 to cities and villages across India.154 Finally, many innovations described virtual spaces that  THE PROOF, PROMISE AND POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL EDUCATION 55 could be considered a distinct type of learning environment. They include various learning management systems,155 as well as more informal gaming environments such as World of Warcraft.156

Knowledge and Skills

901 Orders (England): English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Modern Language, Drawing, PE, and Housewifery.

Research is beginning to question whether traditional conceptions of ‘knowledge’ are appropriate for contemporary society. Many commentators advocate shifting the focus away from developing subject-based knowledge to developing skills such as collaborating, problem solving, or critical thinking. Throughout this report, we have highlighted a number of examples of technology–driven innovation that support learners to acquire those skills.

Learners cannot get an A* in collaboration or inquiry-based learning; nor can learners really take a final examination on creativity. All of those involved in education recognise the importance of these skills, both in purely educational terms and in life. But such a radical change in the approach to learning requires radical change in the approach to assessment.


et approaches to training vary and have had mixed success. Our experts did not highly rate innovations designed to improve teachers’ training. Two examples that received low ratings were: providing teachers with access to videos about technology for learning; and providing new ways for teachers to record, share and reflect on their teaching with video cameras and a video tagging database tool. The latter was not rated highly because it was felt to impose significant time demands. Digital tools may reduce teachers’ workloads or improve their teaching practice in the long term; but there will inevitably be an initial cost to the teachers as they learn to use those new tools. Take-up is likely to be poor if the perceived future benefits do not outweigh the initial costs.

Wider staff in schools - wider business and other communities


But, ultimately, technological innovation is driven largely by the technology itself., Mobile devices becoming increasingly important

Open Source not mentioned Primary Pad - Etherpad - Blogs like the 100 word CHallenge and Deputy Mitchell's Quadblogging where the teacher gets to gether with a web developer not mentioned




Chapter 1


Soent a lot of money not many outcomes

Less money but more of the budget so teachers more discerning

The only answer to questions such as “Do games help learning?” is to say, “It depends.” Instead we argue that more progress comes from thinking about the types of learning activities that we know to be effective, such as practising key skills, and exploring the ways that technology can support and develop these effective learning activities in innovative ways.

Many research studies have addressed the impact of particular technological innovations, and many meta–analytic reviews have aggregated these findings. Typically, these synthesising reviews do find some evidence of positive impact. However, there are two important complicating factors that limit the strength of the claims that can be made.

No source quoted for this assertion,

1) The evidence is drawn from a huge variety of learning contexts: the wide range of teacher experience and learner ability means that too often the impact identified is relatively modest in scale.

2) Secondly, these findings are invariably drawn from evidence about how technology supports existing teaching and learning practices, rather than transforming those practices.

How they did the Review

Problem, 1) cademic sources such as research papers, meta–analyses, systematic reviews, and clearinghouse reports offer solid evidence but risk excluding innovations that are too new to have been subjected to rigorous research, or those that seek to innovate in hitherto unexplored areas., 2)the grey literature of informal commentary, blogs, think tanks, and companies’ reports may highlight innovations that deserve serious attention, but can lack solid evidence to match their claims., Bias

Evidence, evidence from formal and informal sources,, proven and promising practice, we collected over 1,000 publications with broad geographic coverage (including Europe, America and Asia) and from multiple disciplines (including education, psychology and technology). F, we included relevant reviews and meta–reviews published in the last ten years., From this pool we identified 124 research-led example cases of innovation with sound evidence., Secondly, we reviewed an extensive range of informal literature, including personal blogs and teacher networks., 86 teacher-led example cases of innovation from an initial pool of over 300., These 210 cases form the basis of research for this report., Evidence that was anecdotal, superficial, or lacking a clear analytical scheme, was considered to be of low quality, whereas well–designed, fit for purpose analysis that would be appropriate for the highest quality scientific publication was considered high quality., In order to balance evidence with opinion, and draw upon the wisdom of the informed crowd, a representative sample of 150 innovations were selected from the total pool of 210 and scrutinised by a group of experts comprising teachers, researchers, company representatives and policymakers. In a comparative judgement exercise, the experts were asked to compare two innovations and simply decide which of them was better; each expert was asked to make approximately 30 comparisons. By seeking multiple views on these cases of innovation, we were able to develop a refined ranking of the innovations. The results from the ranking exercise were complemented by on-line correspondence, telephone conversations, and face–to–face meetings with teachers and developers. The ranking exercise provided a collective view of which innovations offer the greatest potential to advance teaching and learning, if they were to be widely adopted. Interested readers can find further details of the Adaptive Comparative Judgement (ACJ) method in Appendix 2.

Chapter 5: Research to Reality

Learning from Evidence

Improve Assessment, Dynamic formative Assessment, Further consideration should also be given to how technology can be used to enable the assessment of knowledge and skills not usually distinguished within current curricula – such as collaboration and leadership.

Learn by Making, such as coding and design. Robotic kits, authoring tools, and multimedia production tools are just some examples of the technologies that can support learning through making. To learn effectively through making, careful consideration needs to be given to how the process

Upgrade Practising, Practice is most effective when time is spent on rich, challenging problems accompanied by appropriate feedback, rather than misdirected on easy, but ultimately unrewarding, activity. Learners benefit from practice using a variety of multi-modal representations and types of interaction. Adaptive technologies that take advantage of learning analytics can be used to offer problems of appropriate difficulty and provide suitable feedback. However, there is relatively little innovation in this area.

Turn the World into a Learning Place, Learning in the wild, echnology can link learners with other learners, experiences, and settings much more easily and, often, cost effectively. C, Connecting learners to other spaces – like labs, workshops, and even the high street – can also offer access to tools and experiences currently unavailable in most school settings., echnology can enable schools to tap into the wealth of expertise that exists within their communities. Structural differences between environments must be recognised, as they influence which tools will be effective in which circumstances.

Make learning more social, Technologies that support dialogue between teachers and learners will play an important role in ensuring that online resources are used efficiently and effectively. This can be as simple as using Twitter to engage in live discussion and feedback in the classroom,165 or through more complex combinations of audio, chat and drawing applications that make personal tutorial significantly more accessible (and affordable) than ever before. Technology can facilitate conversations that can enhance learning – whether they are between teachers and learners, or among learners themselves. Investment is required in technology that enables teachers to organise participative and performative activity;

Link Industry Research and Practice

Make better use of what we've got, informal collaboration or formal professional development.

Connect Learning technologies and activities