Engaging with learners: learners' influence on the use of technology to personalise learning

Carol Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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. It reports on findings from a research project to investigate 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 is 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 are 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalThe International Journal of Learning
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • learner voice, learners' preferences, learner participation, personalising learning, digital technologies


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