Information and Communication Technologies, and Learning Theories: Putting Pedagogy into Practice

  • Vanessa P. DennenEmail author
  • Kerry J. Burner
  • Michelle L. Cates
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter explores how learning theory relates to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the K-12 classroom. Teachers need both pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge, along with content knowledge, in order to support effective learning experiences for their students. Learning theories guide this pedagogical knowledge, providing support for which instructional strategies teachers might use. The three historically dominant learning theories – behaviorism, cognitivist, and constructivism – are briefly presented through vignettes that explore student and teacher ICT use. Basic tenets of each theory are briefly discussed along with examples of instructional strategies that reflect each theoretical approach to ICT use. A fourth theory, connectivism, which has yet to be fully accepted or embraced as a major learning theory but nonetheless represents a theoretical approach to learning via ICT-based networks, also is explored. With these theories in mind, this chapter notes that ICT are not always used in a manner that reflects sound or thoughtful pedagogical decisions; a teacher’s pedagogical choices may also be system-driven or technology-driven. As the chapter concludes, we share implications both for using ICT in a manner that is consistent with and fully supports learner development and for supporting teacher development of knowledge about learning theory along with the intersection of pedagogy and technology.


Behaviorism Cognitivisim Constructivism Connectivism Learning theory Pedagogy ICT 


  1. Anderson, R. C. (1984). Some reflections on the acquisition of knowledge. Educational Researcher, 13(9), 5–10. Scholar
  2. Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2011). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(3), 80–97. Scholar
  3. Archambault, L. M., & Barnett, J. H. (2010). Revisiting technological pedagogical content knowledge: Exploring the TPACK framework. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1656–1662. Scholar
  4. Ausubel, D. P. (1978). In defense of advance organizers: A reply to the critics. Review of Educational Research, 48(2), 251–257. Scholar
  5. Bartlett, F. (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bell, F. (2011). Connectivism: Its place in theory-informed research and innovation in technology-enabled learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed. Learning, 12(3), 21. Scholar
  7. Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1967). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  8. Bottino, R. M. (2004). The evolution of ICT-based learning environments: Which perspectives for the school of the future? British Journal of Educational Technology, 35, 553–567. Scholar
  9. Bruner, J. S. (1964). The course of cognitive growth. American Psychologist, 19(1), 1–15. Scholar
  10. Crompton, H., Burke, D., & Gregory, K. H. (2017). The use of mobile learning in PK-12 education: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 110, 51–63. Scholar
  11. Dede, C. (2008). A seismic shift in epistemology. Educause Review, 43(3), 80–81.Google Scholar
  12. Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction. Boston, MA: Pearson.Google Scholar
  13. Edens, K. M. (2008). The interaction of pedagogical approach, gender, self-regulation, and goal orientation using student response system technology. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(2), 161–177. Scholar
  14. Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T. (2010). Teacher technology change. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255–284. Scholar
  15. Flavell, J. H. (1992). Cognitive development: Past, present, and future. Developmental Psychology, 28(6), 998–1005. Scholar
  16. Fu, J. S. (2013). ICT in education: A critical literature review and its implications. Journal of Education and Development Using Information and Communication. Technology, 9(1), 112–125.Google Scholar
  17. Gagné, R. M. (1985). Instructional technology: The research field. Journal of Instructional Development, 8(3), 7–14. Scholar
  18. Graham, C. R. (2011). Theoretical considerations for understanding technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). Computers & Education, 57(3), 1953–1960. Scholar
  19. Green, S., & Gredler, M. (2002). A review and analysis of constructivism for school-based practice. School Psychology Review, 31(1), 53–70.Google Scholar
  20. Kebritchi, M., & Hirumi, A. C. (2008). Examining the pedagogical foundations of modern educational computer games. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1729–1743. Scholar
  21. Kirschner, P. A., & Erkens, G. (2013). Toward a framework for CSCL research. Educational Psychologist, 48(1), 1–8. Scholar
  22. Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 9(3).
  23. Koschmann, T. (2001). Revisiting the paradigms of instructional technology. In G. Kennedy, M. Keppell, C. McNaught, & T. Petrovic (Eds.), Meeting at the crossroads: 18th annual conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (pp. 15–22). Melbourne: University of Melbourne.Google Scholar
  24. Koschmann, T., Kelson, A. C., Feltovich, P. J., & Barrows, H. S. (1996). Paradigm shifts and instructional technology: An introduction. In T. Koschmann (Ed.), CSCL: Theory and practice of an emerging paradigm (pp. 1–23). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  25. Krach, S. K., & McCreery, M. P. (2015). Technology and positive behavioral interventions and support: Evaluation, selection, and implementation of computer-based socioemotional training. In S. Y. Tettegah & D. L. Espelage (Eds.), Emotions, technology, and behaviors (pp. 159–177). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kuiper, E., & de Pater-Sneep, M. (2014). Student perceptions of drill-and-practice mathematics software in primary education. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 26(2), 215–236. Scholar
  27. Liu, C., Chen, S., Chi, C., Chien, K. -P., Liu, Y., & Chou, T. -L. (2016). The effects of clickers with different teaching strategies. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 55(5), 603–628.
  28. MacLean-Blevins, A. O. (2013). Class DoJo: Supporting the art of student self-regulation. Rising Tide, 6, 1–20.Google Scholar
  29. Martindale, T., Pearson, C., Curda, L. K. & Plicher, J. (2005). Effects of an online instructional application on reading and mathematics standardized test scores. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 37(4), 349–360.Google Scholar
  30. Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McDonald, J. K., Yanchar, S. C., & Osguthorpe, R. T. (2005). Learning from programmed instruction: Examining implications for modern instructional technology. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(2), 84–98. Scholar
  32. Miller, G. A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2), 81–97. Scholar
  33. Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., & Sharples, M. (2004). ‘Mobile technologies and learning’ in futurelab literature review series. Report No. 11, Futurelab.Google Scholar
  35. Piaget, J. (1960). The general problems of the psychobiological development of the child. In J. M. Tanner & B. Inhelder (Eds.), Discussions on child development: Proceedings of the fourth meeting of the World Health Organization study group on the psychological development of the child (Vol. 4). London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  36. Rice, K. (2014). Research and history of policies in K-12 online and blended learning. In R. E. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 51–81). Pittsburgh: ETC Press.Google Scholar
  37. Roberts-Mahoney, H., Means, A. J., & Garrison, M. J. (2016). Netflixing human capital development: Personalized learning technology and the corporatization of K-12 education. Journal of Education Policy, 31(4), 405–420. Scholar
  38. Roschelle, J. (2013). Special issue on CSCL: Discussion. Educational Psychologist, 48(1), 67–70. Scholar
  39. Rotherham, A. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2010). “21st-century” skills. American Educator, 17, 17–20.Google Scholar
  40. Schmidt, D. A., Baran, E., Thompson, A. D., Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., & Shin, T. S. (2009). Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): The development and validation of an assessment instrument for preservice teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(2), 123–149. Scholar
  41. Schoen, L., & Fusarelli, L. D. (2008). Innovation, NCLB, and the fear factor. Educational Policy, 22(1), 181–203. Scholar
  42. Scott, V. (2014). Clicking in the classroom: Using a student response system in an elementary classroom. New Horizons for Learning, 11(1). Retrieved from
  43. Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, 2(1). Retrieved from
  44. Siemens, G. (2008). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. ITFORUM for Discussion, 1–26.Google Scholar
  45. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. Cambridge, MA: BF Skinner Foundation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Skinner, B. F. (1958). Teaching machines. Science, 128, 969–977. Scholar
  47. Stahl, G., Koschmann, T., & Suthers, D. (2006). Computer-supported collaborative learning: An historical perspective. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 409–426). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Swan, K. (2016). Learning analytics and the shape of things to come. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 17(3), 5–12.Google Scholar
  49. Sweller, J. (2010). Element interactivity and intrinsic, extraneous, and germane cognitive load. Educational Psychology Review, 22(2), 123–138. Scholar
  50. Taylor, R. (1980). The computer in the school: Tutor, tutee, and tool. New York: Teacher College Press.Google Scholar
  51. Tondeur, J., Braak, J. v., Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2016). Understanding the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and technology use in education: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. Educational Technology Research & Development., 65(3), 555–575. Scholar
  52. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa P. Dennen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kerry J. Burner
    • 1
  • Michelle L. Cates
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kwok-Wing Lai
    • 1
  • Keryn Pratt
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Otago College of EducationDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of Otago College of EducationNorth DunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations