Educators at all levels are underpressure to produce ‘lifelong learners’. Their task is to ‘arm’ the student with knowledge and skills that will enable them to be creative and enterprising scholars. One possible way of arming the lifelong learner is through the use of learning technologies. Learning technologies can offer armament by widening access and participation and offering flexible delivery. This paper will use the results of two evaluation studies to explore the argument that learning technologies have the capacity to both arm and disarm students. Results from an evaluation of an email discussion list will be presented to highlight how the way a learning technology is used may arm a learner by giving them information but disarm them by promoting a lack of confidence and a low valuation of discussion. Results from an evaluation of a Microcosm application will be presented to highlight how the way a learning technology is used may arm a learner by helping them to apply knowledge but disarm them by placing restrictions on their self‐directed learning. These results will be discussed in order to argue that the ‘disarmament’ of students through the use of learning technologies may place obstacles in the way of lifelong learning
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