Theoretical Frameworks

by Amber Donahue, Gail Yee, Myrna Pokiak and Luis Rodríguez

This presentation focuses on three theoretical frameworks: diffusion of innovation theory, socio-cultural theory, and universal design in learning theory, and identifies how researchers have applied these frameworks to research within the field of learning and technology. Diffusion of innovation (DoI) theory explores how ideas and innovations are adopted and diffused throughout communities. Socio-cultural theory examines the importance of social interaction in the development of cognition. Universal design in learning (UDL) theory outlines principles for designing learning that is accessible for all learners.

Research guided by these three theoretical frameworks demonstrates that technology offers opportunities for accessibility, interaction, and diversity at various levels of learning and thus is a powerful tool to provide experiences that meet the various needs of learners. For example, the DoI theory may be used to examine how learners adopt an innovation by determining if it aligns with their beliefs and values. Socio-cultural theory may be used to explore how technology, by taking on the role of the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO), can move learners into the zone of proximal development. Universal design in learning (UDL) theory may be used to illustrate the potential of technology to adapt to the needs of learners by providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression. These three theoretical frameworks will continue to be relevant and useful for researchers studying the growing field of learning and technology.

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