OECD Work on Technology and Education: innovative learning environments as an integrating framework


  • David Istance,

  • Marco Kools

David Istance, CERI, OECD, 2 Rue André Pascal 75016 Paris, France, david.istance@oecd.org

Marco Kools, OECD, 2 Rue André Pascal 75016 Paris, France, marco.kools@oecd.org


This article presents in summary a selection of the work conducted by OECD in the field of technology and education, which has been an on-going focus of OECD work since the 1980s. Recently, much of this has been under the heading of ‘New Millennium Learners’, but it has also included the widening of student achievement surveys towards digital literacy; reviews of e-learning in higher education, surveys on Open Education Resources (OER); technology as a source of innovation; and analyses of the digital resources market and educational technology patents. The article proposes the more holistic focus on ‘learning environments’ through which to analyse the very diverse ways in which technology can be integrated into education and as a design framework. This is drawn from a report of the OECD Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) project to be published in 2013, itself based on 40 case studies from different countries and regions. It suggests that contemporary learning environments should be: i) Innovating the ‘pedagogical core’; ii) Engaging the ‘Design/Redesign Leadership Circle’; iii) Widening connections and capacity through partnerships; and iv) Promoting 21st century effectiveness (based on the principles derived from the 2010 ILE learning research review). The article then applies this framework to show how technology shapes learning environments in many different ways. The article questions over-reliance on individuals navigating successfully to access non-formal learning opportunities and rejects the argument that learning institutions should simply adapt more adequately to available technologies. Instead, technology should be fully exploited in well-designed learning environments.