Technology-Mediated Individual Learning


Educational Technology


Integrating emergent technologies into individuals’ formal educations

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … rapidly expanding space of the possible
  • Knowing is … scope of personal competence
  • Learner is … a technology-enhanced agent
  • Learning is … expanding possibilities
  • Teaching is … facilitating; supporting




Discussions of Technology-Mediated Individual Learning position emergent technologies as integral aspects of current existence – that is, not as tools that one might use, but as elements of one’s being. These discourses are thus focused on seamlessly incorporating such technologies into formal learning experiences, and associated discourses thus tend to perceive themselves as blending hardware, software, and educational theory. This a goal can entail profound challenges to traditional curriculum content and pedagogical strategies.


Formal education has not demonstrated itself to be especially flexible and adaptive. For that reason, discussions of Technology-Mediated Individual Learning often come across more as criticisms of schooling than the possibility-seeking discourses they are intended to be. It’s impossible to engage with them meaningfully without being open to the possibility that current versions of schooling might be entirely out of synch with a rapidly changing world. Subdiscourses that have emerged to describe and inform the incorporation of new technologies include the following:
  • Diffusion of Innovation Theory (E.M. Rogers, 1960s) – descriptive model of how perceived innovations – including ideas, actions, or artefacts – are adopted by and diffuse through a population. It distinguishes types of adoptors, stages of innovation, and principal factors that influence adoption .
  • Technology Adoption Lifecycle (E.M. Rogers, 1960s) – an element of Diffusion of Innovation Theory, this model offers profiles of different sorts of adoptors of an innovation. It distinguishes among innovators, early adoptors, early majority adoptors, late majority adoptors, and laggards/phobics, asserting a normal distribution across types and offering demographic and psychological characteristics that are prevalent across groups.
  • Theory of Reasoned Action - (Martin Fishbein, Icek Ajzen, 1960s) – a theory of human action the focuses on the relationship between pre-existing attitudes and behavioral intentions.
  • Theory of Planned Behavior - (Icek Ajzen, 1980s) – based on the Theory of Reasoned Action, this theory interprets one’s actions by looking across attitude, subjective norms, intentions, and perceived behavioral control.
  • Domestication Theory (Roger Silverstone, 1990s) – a four-step model describing the appropriation of technology by users, involving (1) adaptation of new technology everyday practices; (2) adaptation of user and environment to technology; (3) iterative loops of development, prompted by feedback of those adaptations; and (4) conversion, involving both integration of technology and transformation of previous habits. 
  • Technology Acceptance Model (Fred Davis, 1990s) – models how users come to embrace a new technology by assessing the influence of relevant factors, such as: behavioral intention, attitude, perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use, and social influence.
  • Lazy User Model (Franck Tetart & Mikael Collan, 2000s) – closely related to the Technology Acceptance Model, this model seeks to explain how one chooses a solution from a set of alternatives by managing the trade-offs of effort (aiming for the least) and effect (aiming for the greatest). 
  • SAMR Model (Ruben Puentedura, 2000s) – interprets the adoption of educational technology as a four-step progression, involving Substitution (new technology replaces previous one with no functional change), Augmentation (still no functional change, but benefits and possibilities of new technology are noticed and exploited), Modification (new technology is utilized to enhance and transform learning experiences), and Redefinition (previously unthinkable learning tasks are designed and engaged).
  • Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (Viswanath Venkatesh, 2000s) – an effort to combine most of the above models, The UTAUT focuses of four core elements: (1) performance expectancy, (2) effort expectancy, (3) social influence, and (4) facilitating conditions.


  • Diffusion of Innovation Theory
  • Domestication Theory
  • Lazy User Model
  • SAMR Model
  • Technology Acceptance Model
  • Technology Adoption Lifecycle
  • Theory of Planned Behavior
  • Theory of Reasoned Action
  • Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology

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Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Technology-Mediated Individual Learning” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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