Digital divide: addressing Internet skills. Educational implications in the validation of a scale

RLT Journal - 23/08/19

Recent studies indicate that Internet skills have a positive impact on academic achievement. This article presents a national study that seeks to validate an Internet skills scale that was already tested in other EU countries (the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) to understand the competence level of the population as a whole as well as across population sectors. The scale questionnaire was completed by a sample of the Italian population stratified by gender, age and geographical area. The result is globally consistent at the empirical level as well as at the cross-national level. All the five scales showed excellent internal consistency.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Joining instructions now available

#altc 2019 - 23/08/19
We look forward to welcoming you to ALT’s Annual Conference 2019. With a packed programme, ~450 participants from across the globe, we look forward to coming together as a community from across sectors. The hashtag for the event is #altc. Our Conference has taken 18 months of planning led by Conference Co-Chairs, Melissa, Keith, and […]

Learning Design Bootcamp 2019 #ldbootcampuk

#ALTC Blog - 23/08/19

A post by Dr Maria Toro-Troconis, Head of Academic Research and Quality, CEG Digital @mtorotro

On the 18th July we had the last face to face session of the Learning Design Bootcamp 2019. The Learning Design Bootcamp offered an intensive three months programme for UK Learning Technologists and academics engaging in the design and development of a 15 or 30 credit module of their choice. See more

Bootcamp UK logo

The Learning Design Bootcamp Committee consisted jointly of academics and Heads of Learning Technology from different UK universities. They were responsible for the selection of the participants as well as the general support, delivery and evaluation of the Bootcamp.

Four teams were selected from the following universities:

  • The University of Warwick
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University East London
  • Solent University

The programme started in May 2019 and ended in July 2019. The teams were supported by mentors in the design and development of their modules following the CoDesigns Learning Design Framework.

The Bootcamp started with an intensive day at in March 2019 and another intensive day at the end of the Bootcamp hosted by Dr Julie Voce – Head of Educational Technology, Learning Enhancement and Development at City, University of London. At least one member of the team (Learning Technologist or academic) had to commit to attend both days. 

There were 5 Lead Learning Technologists, 3 Learning Technologists and 2 academics present at the first face to face meeting in March 2019. The teams were asked about their motivations to engage in the Learning Design Bootcamp. The key motivaticators presented in the wordcloud below highlight professional development and collaboration as the main drivers to engage in the Bootcamp.

During the Bootcamp, the teams designed and developed their modules supported remotely by their mentors. At the last face to face meeting in July 2019, the teams presented their final designs and developments in their university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Tim Neumann, Lecturer in Education & Technology and head of the UCL Institute of Education’s Learning Technologies Unit, was invited as guest speaker. Tim delivered an inspiring lecture talking about the Learning Designer as a tool to enable sharing of and communication about designs.

Tim discussed how designs can be taken forward within an organisational context, for example in terms of QA and costs, without unnecessarily restricting the variety of teaching methods and design frameworks. A panel of experts from the Learning Design and Learning Technology sectors evaluated the final designs and developments.

The panel of expert was comprised of: Professor Manuel Frutos-Perez from CEG Digital, Dr Julie Voce from City, University of London, Tim Neumann from UCL and Laura Coutts from CEG Digital.

Tim Neumann – Lecturer in Education & Technology and head of the UCL Institute of Education’s Learning Technologies Unit


The team from Manchester Metropolitan University won the Learning Design Bootcamp 2019.

Manchester Metropolitan University winner of  the Learning Design Bootcamp 2019.

“The team showed a great level of engagement between the academics and the learning technologists and was a key strength in their presentation. The learning design aspects were clearly understood and demonstrated in the design of the module.”


The Bootcamp Organising Committee will launch the next Bootcamp Call in September 2019. The Learning Design Bootcamp 2020 will be hosted by our winning team from Manchester Metropolitan University. If you’re interested in learning more about  the Call 2020, keep an eye on the Learning Design Bootcamp page: 

The Bootcamp is free. The teams will need to cover their travelling and accommodation expenses. 


The activities and experiences of the teams have been followed by the Bootcamp research committee members and documented. The research carried out during the Bootcamp 2019 focused on the use of the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) as a method to identify the capabilities, opportunities and motivations of Learning Technologists and academics when engaging in the design of online/blended learning activities.  The BCW model has proved to be an effective method in the context of Learning Design to analyse the behaviour of both academics designing online and blended solutions in Higher Education and Learning Technologists working with them, providing support and guidance as part of intervention design.

The initial findings from this research will be presented at ALT-C 2019.

Dr Maria Toro-Troconis – Head of Academic Research and Quality – Cambridge Education Group Digital – 

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

FHEDAWG webinar series - recordings now available

ALT News - 22/08/19

Our webinar series, in collaboration with the Further Higher Education Digital Accessbility Working Group (FHEDAWG), continued on Thursay with a special guest webinar. Greg Gay, IT Accessibility Specialist at Ryerson University, hosted 'Digital Accessbility as a right', a project he shared from the Creative Commons Global Summit.

Categories: ALT, News

Putting your best foot forward with #altc

#altc 2019 - 22/08/19
What to expect from the ALT Conference’s social media channels and how to get involved. By Lorna M. Campbell, @lornamcampbell, University of Edinburgh The ALT Conference is almost upon as and we’re looking forward to welcoming delegates to the city and University of Edinburgh.  Edinburgh is a wonderful city to visit at any time of […]

IMPORTANT AGM 2019 Information for all Members

ALT Announce - 21/08/19
Dear Members of ALT

The next Annual General Meeting will take place at 16.30 on Wednesday, 4
September 2019, during the ALT Annual Conference at the University of
Edinburgh, UK.

This is an important moment for our Members each year and the agenda
includes the Annual Accounts and Report, presented by the Honorary
Treasurer, the results of this year's Trustee Elections and the appointment
of ALT's next Vice-Chair as well as the award of Honorary Life Membership
of ALT. The AGM will close with the CMALT Ceremony, celebrating all Members
who have achieved or updated their professional accreditation in the [...]
Categories: ALT, Announcement

Guest Post: Virtual Participation at ALTC19 by Frances Bell

#altc 2019 - 20/08/19
  You can participate in ALTC 2019, without being in Edinburgh. At ALTC 2019, hundreds of delegates will attend in person: for the whole conference or just for one day; and as presenters, organisers, session chairs, exhibitors, sponsors  or in other roles. As there are 7 streams at ALTC 2019, even delegates attending in person […]

An update on the creation of the ALT Awards 2019

#altc 2019 - 20/08/19
  Lisa Mclaughlin is a 2019 graduate from the B.A.(Hons) Textile Design course at Hereford College of Arts. This year, she was selected to design and make the ALT awards, for the Learning Technologist of the Year Awards ceremony. If you missed last month’s update, have a look here to see the progress that has […]

ALT Assembly Meeting

ALT Events - 19/08/19

The ALT Assembly meets monthly online, with two annual face-to-face meetings in February and September.

This meeting will take place during the ALT Annual Conference 2019, at the University of Edinburgh. You can also follow the session online: 

ALT Assembly Terms of Reference 2019
Agenda and Notes for the meeting (shared open doc)
Link to join the session

The Assembly is the overarching Member committee advising the ALT Board of Trustees. The Assembly is chaired by the President of ALT, Martin Weller, and provides greater representation for Members and in particular Member groups, in the governance of the Association. 

This meeting is open to all Members of ALT who are Members of the ALT Assembly, including:

  • Editors of the blog and journal
  • Members of the Editorial Board
  • Members representing Conference Committees
  • Members representing Member Groups
  • Members representing Special Interest Groups
  • Honorary Life Members
  • CMALT Lead Assessors
  • Members involved in CMALT development
  • Trustees
Categories: ALT, Events

Guest Post: Virtually attending ALT-C as a Members Group by Clare Thomson

#altc 2019 - 19/08/19
  Many of us working within the educational technology community are unable to get to large national conferences such as ALT-C due to restrictions of time, funding or both. So as a new group looking to grow a new community across Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland member group committee came up with the idea of […]

ALT Conference from the Executive Education Point of View

#ALTC Blog - 19/08/19

A post by Dr. Gennadii Miroshnikov, Technology Manager, Executive Education, London Business School.

Executive Education comes in various shapes and forms, from one-day programs and workshops to multi-modular pathways, and from open programs available to anyone who meets the entrance requirements to tailored custom programs that use the joint forces of an Executive Education (EE) provider and the client’s L&D department. The range of EE providers is also wide, ranging from traditional universities and business schools to consultancy firms and online learning platforms.

This post takes a look at the topics of the ALT conference from the perspective of EE learning technologists. It collates the themes of the conference and the main current problems in the field, which could help to create an agenda for EE and management education professionals, as well as for Further Education professionals and learning technologists supporting corporate L&D departments.

Digital technologies have a significant and diverse impact on EE, from offering new content to many management training programs and allowing managers to cope with disruptive technologies and digitalization to enhancing the training and learning experience.

A survey conducted by CarringtonCrisp shows that the top priority when considering an EE provider is ‘learning that enables staff to have an impact at work’. Thus, measuring the impact after the training has been conducted is one of the most important tasks of EE providers, and a solution to  maintain high market positions. Data management, including the collection, processing, and analysis of training and performance data, is the main tool to measure the impact and effectiveness of EE training.

This year’s conference focused on both data management and Learning Technology for wider impact, which makes it particularly important from the point of view of EE professionals. Of particular interest were issues related to comprehensive data analysis and correlations between the results of training and data from external systems—such as the financial performance of a student’s company, or the results of implementing a particular strategy or initiative. Often, companies acquire EE programs during organizational changes to better support these changes, so the data and its analysis should answer the question of how effectively the training was able to contribute to this activity. From the point of view of L&D professionals, it is very important to identify and understand the interdependence between corporate indicators and the results of these programs, which allow companies to determine the ROI and to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and provider, as well as to justify the L&D budget. Many EE programs use existing external digital systems such as Belbin, 360, and personality tests; hence, these integration issues remain relevant to provide a holistic analysis of data to measure the change impact on the company. Collecting and analyzing student data from various sources including survey platforms, Customer Relationship Management systems, and impact assessment tools that improve program design is another example of the important challenges facing EE providers.

As coaching is one of the main building blocks of many EE programs, the issue of collecting and analyzing data from coaching sessions is also important for understanding the holistic picture. It’s clear that EE providers already use various digital systems to deliver their programs, but often these are separate external systems, the data from which are not always compared. Thus the integration of these systems is an urgent task, the solution to which will significantly improve impact measurement and will provide feedback to help companies make corrections to the design of their programs.

Creativity, which was another main theme of the conference, exists in the framework of EE programs in such forms as personalization and matching the branding of the client company to better reflect the link between the mission and strategy of the company and the EE program. EE providers often adapt the visual component of the program in accordance with the requirements of the client’s branding policy using existing VLEs. However, such problems pose additional costs in graphic design and restrictions and limitations of VLEs, and the branding policies of the customer and the EE provider can sometimes be at odds. Thus, the fast graphical adaptation of EE programs, usually on both web and mobile versions, to client requirements while preserving quality and compliance with the branding requirements of the EE provider is extremely relevant.

Another problem related to creativity is the lack of a single VLE to fit all programs. A poorly-selected VLE can become an obstacle to creativity, program development, and delivery of the main objectives. In addition, a large number of patches, add-ons, and external subsystems affect the complexity of the maintenance, support, and development of such systems. EE providers are increasingly diversifying their digital delivery system portfolios, shifting from a single VLE to a few systems that are better suited to the goals and objectives of each program. Technologies are considered by EE providers as an ‘opener’, especially now that the industry has seen a shift from traditional face-to-face delivery to blended learning models with digital modules complementing and sometimes completely replacing face-to-face sessions. Technologies are carefully considered to erase the boundaries between the classroom and online learning, create an engaging learning environment while adding the additional value of personalizing the learning experience and taking into account the individual characteristics of each student. Examples of technology engagement are quizzes and polls, face-to-face sessions, online modules, and reflections.

Since the design of many custom programs takes into account the realities of a particular company and a direct connection with its operation, and as it may include proposing or implementing changes or projects in a given organization, the ability of technologies to build a bridge between theory and the real corporate environment and to create real-world problem-solving is especially valuable. One example would be companies that use the opportunities offered by social learning with a focus on problem-solving to organize discussions and gain feedback from peers, managers, and other stakeholders. The VLEs that are traditionally used by HE providers can be insufficiently flexible and intuitive for HE students, faculty, and coaches, which leads to lack of engagement. Therefore, the possibility of effective selection and the quick and streamlined VLE implementation of the option that is most suitable for each EE program is also extremely relevant. Findings in these areas will be very valuable for EE providers.

Because EE programs are designed for global coverage and often include students from different countries, multilingual support is another requirement for effective program delivery. The ability to include subtitles, download transcripts, view instructions in different languages, change video speed, and access the platform and all its components from anywhere in the world is also one of the industry’s current challenges. One example is the complete or partial restriction of Google services, YouTube, and Vimeo in China, despite that it is one of the most promising destinations for delivering EE programs.

The ideas, research, experience, and best practices proposed and developed by the learning technology community in these areas are of considerable interest to Executive Education professionals, and this conference is a great example of how an evidence-based approach can be used in the field.


  1. Bronfman, S. V., Pelegrín, O. A.2018, The digital revolution in management education, Global Focus, accessed 10 July 2019, <>
  2. CarringtonCrisp 2018, Executive Education Futures: what next for business schools, learners and employers, CarringtonCrisp Limited, accessed 1 July 2019, <>.

Dr. Gennadii Miroshnikov, CMALT MIET, Technology Manager, Executive Education, London Business School,

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Maren Deepwell in conversation with Sheila MacNeill

#ALTC Blog - 16/08/19

This is a very special interview as I (@marendeepwell) am joined by the Chair of ALT, Sheila MacNeill, FRSA, FHEA (@sheilmcn) who recently published ‘Conceptualising the Digital University: the intersection of policy, pedagogy and practice‘ and this time we talk not ‘just’ about Learning Technology, but also #femedtech and shoe tweets!

Maren: Tell us about what you are currently working on?

Sheila: I’ve recently changed my work life balance and set up my own consultancy business.  Just now I’m working with the University of Edinburgh on their Distance Learning at Scale (DLAS) project, developing an online course for staff new to teaching online.  I’m also working with the University of Durham around the development of their digital capabilities framework. My role as Chair of ALT also takes up a bit of my time. In that capacity I am involved a variety of activities from chairing meetings, to developing and implementing strategy. When I’m not doing that I am using my time for more artistic pursuits in such as  creating landscape paintings in a variety of mediums.

Maren: What influences your work? 

Sheila: Many things and people influence my work. But generally it is based on my own experience, the people I am working with and my PLN. My context if you like.  I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration. So I try and read a variety of blogs, keep an eye on twitter and linkedin. I also find that the ALT mailing list is a great way to find out what colleagues are doing in the sector.  I think when our world is in such a state of flux it is important to ensure that ethics and developing criticality are at the heart of education. We need to be questioning the validity and basis of everything just now.

Maren: Current recommended reading?  

Sheila: One the best books I’ve read this year is Invisible Women; exploring data bias in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado Perez. How 50% of the population have and continue to be ignored in everyday decision making is staggering. It also explains most of the everyday things that really irritate me.  I think everyone should  read it.

Maren: How do you make your to-do lists.. analogue or digital or both? 

Sheila: A bit of both. I have tried various apps but I tend to use them when I have big lists of things and then sort of forget about them. I try to keep my to do list quite short and often have a daily one. I still finding using a pen to score items off a list very satisfying.

Maren: On work travel, you are never without..? 

Sheila: My phone and charger, notepad and pen in case I forget the charger, tissues and  a packet of mints. 

Maren: Which learning technology makes the biggest difference to your work (and why)? 

Sheila: Now I am an independent consultant it is slightly different, but I think eduroam is pretty fantastic if you can access it. In terms of specific learning technology, I guess it is any collaborative space, from a VLE to a shared google/word doc. Connectivity is also key – I really need to be online for the majority of my work.

Maren: Who are your learning technology heroes?

Sheila: I don’t think there’s enough space to share all the names. But everyone I have every worked with, tweeted, mentioned in blog, spoke to a conference, they’re all my heroes. I feel so lucky that I have been able to work with so many talented people and  that there are so many great people out there who share so much. I sometimes feel that I have my very own, always growing band, of learning technology Avengers. Except my learning technology heroes have better shoes and less anger management issues. 

Maren: If you had learning technology superpowers for a day, what would you change? 

Sheila: To make everything work, for one day all day. So no loss of connections just as a webinar goes live, no 404 errors, no forgetting of passwords, no buffering … .

Maren: What are your favourite hashtags?  

Sheila: Just now #femedtech is a great and growing network (full of heroes), #altc, #lthechat.  Also if there are conferences that I can’t get to but am interested in then I tend to follow the conference hashtag for the duration. Also #shoes #shoetweets are always good for a bit of distraction -they are often combined with conference hashtag tweets too.

Maren: What’s the best way for someone to learn more about what you do?  

Sheila: Look at my blog ( and follow me on twitter (  for learning technology stuff and instagram ( for the art stuff. 

Maren: Fantastic, thank you #altc :)

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member.

Categories: #ALTC Blog, ALT

Last chance to vote in the ALT Trustee Elections 2019

ALT News - 16/08/19

Dear Members of ALT

Categories: ALT, News

FHEDAWG webinar series continues on 22 August

ALT News - 15/08/19
  Digital Accessibility as a right 

Join us on Thursday 22 August 2019 for a special guest webinar, the next in our series of webinars with the Further Higher Education Digital Accessibility Working Group (FHEDAWG). This time we are joined by Greg Gay, as he hosts his webinar 'Digital Accessibility as a right'. Greg Gay is IT Accessibility Specialist at Ryerson University and shares this project from the Creative Commons Global Summit. 

Categories: ALT, News

Preparing for the ALT Annual Conference 2019

#altc 2019 - 15/08/19
The ALT Annual Conference 2019 is now less than three weeks away, so excitement is building and final preparations are well under way. We look forward to welcoming you to the Conference in Edinburgh, 3-5 September. If you haven’t yet secured your place, remember that registration closes tomorrow at midnight (Friday 16 August). With over […]

The impact of innovative learning environments on social competences of youth

RLT Journal - 14/08/19

The exponential development of learning environments supported by information and communication technology (ICT), coupled with new insights from the fields of cognitive and neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI), is a huge challenge for both the educational system and youths and their social competences. This article defines the impact of an effective use of contemporary education technologies on young people’s engagement and their interest in collaborating with their peers and teachers on the level of interpersonal relationships. It investigates the teachers’ and parents’ perspective on youth and their cooperation when using ICT in the pedagogical process. The study confirms that innovative didactic approaches to teaching, supported by ICT, exert a positive influence on the collaboration between students, as well as between students and their teachers, and that youths, teachers and parents are all equally aware of that. Parents and teachers have a unified position in support of the idea that an effective use of ICT makes a positive contribution to collaboration between students, and thereby directly affects an increase in their social competences. ICT is becoming one of the important variables that affect the development of young people’s social competences. The 2-year study was conducted in the framework of a national project.

Categories: ALT, Publication

Guest Post: Looking ahead to ALT-C 2019: Data dialogue and doing by Sarah Knight

#altc 2019 - 14/08/19
  “Image credit: Jisc and Matt Lincoln”   In my role as head of change for student experience at Jisc, ALT-C is one of conferences I look forward to the most each year. The conference offers a valuable opportunity to find out about current practice in universities and colleges, and to learn about some of […]

Annual Conference 2019 social programme announced

#altc 2019 - 14/08/19
We are delighted to announce the ALT Annual Conference social programme for 2019. As well as a packed programme of sessions at the Conference, we are also looking forward to offering you an array of social events throughout the Conference week. The pre-conference events start on Monday, with the ‘Launching the European Maturity Model for […]

Guest Post: Looking for critical frameworks by Helen Beetham

#altc 2019 - 13/08/19
  This year we’ve been challenged by ALT’s conference chairs to consider: ‘What are the theoretical frames of reference that can support further critical research and reflection, and inform more critically grounded digital education practices going forward?’ 1. Critique ‘Critical’ appears in many guises in the ALT Conference programme, swelling the mood music of recent […]


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