Accessibility options
inspiring learning through technology

New Literature Review

On the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching



In developing the new Digital Learning strategy for Scotland, published last week, the Scottish Government commissioned a full literature survey to explore how the use of digital technology for learning and teaching can support teachers, parents, children and young people in improving outcomes and achieving their ambitions for education in Scotland.

The review also aimed to identify the conditions that lead to its successful implementation and any differences between primary and secondary settings. In particular it focuses on how digital technologies can support and contribute to five specific educational priorities: raising attainment, tackling inequalities and promoting inclusion, improving transitions into employment, enhancing parental engagement, and improving the efficiency of the education system.

The review reported in November 2015 and was conducted by ICF Consulting Services. Altogether nearly 1,000 items of literature were considered and the full report can be accessed here: New Literature Review. The review found overall that, as long as certain criteria were in place, that there was “strong evidence that use of digital technologies can aid learning and teaching, as well as enhance the ability of some children to learn effectively.”  In particular the review found that there is:

  • Conclusive evidence: that digital technologies can support educational attainment in general;
  • Indicative evidence: that it can support educational attainment in literacy and help close the gap in attainment between groups of learners;
  • Promising evidence: that digital technologies can provide assistance to overcoming the challenges faced by some learners; improvements in employability skills and knowledge of career pathways; improved communications with parents; and time efficiencies for teachers.

The review also identifies factors that bring about more effective implementation of digital learning and teaching:

  • Training and support – not only to use equipment but to exploit digital tools and resources for teaching;
  • Overcoming teachers’ anxieties about digital teaching, not just about the use of the technology but also the use of different learner-centred pedagogies;
  • Allowing teachers to experiment with technology;
  • Networking with other teachers and schools;
  • Maintaining and upgrading equipment and using tools that are compatible across many systems.