Learning Technology in Scottish Higher Education – a survey of the views of senior managers, academic staff and ‘experts


(LTDI), a survey was conducted of the views of academic staff, members of computer-assisted learning and staff development units, and senior managers in all Scottish higher education institutions (HEIs). Most respondents across all subject areas and types of institutions (including those who rated themselves as less experienced with use of C&IT in teaching than their colleagues) believed that learning technology (LT) had moderate to very high potential for improving the way in which students learn. Awareness of the various agencies which have been established to promote its use in HEIs was very high, with few staff being unaware of any of them. Senior staff largely agreed that the value of these approaches lay in the improvement or maintenance of quality rather than in creating efficiency gains. Whilst there was a mostly positive view of the value of learning technology there are still significant barriers to its uptake by staff, the most important being lack of time, infrastructure, software and training, plus a failure (perceived or actual) of institutions to value teaching. The rather pessimistic view of 'experts ' of the willingness of their less committed colleagues to make use of learning technology contrasted with the generally positive responses obtained from a broad group of 1,000 academic staff on their awareness of and attitudes to it. An analysis of the SHEFC's Teaching Quality Assessment reports during 1992-6 revealed substantial variability between and within subject assessments as to whether specific comments were made about IT provision and its use in learning and teaching.

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