Learning Technologist

"Questions" by Tim O'Brien. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA
“Questions” by Tim O’Brien. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-SA

My own learning technologist “story” began, proper, in August 2006 when I rejoined Canterbury Christ Church University after a seven year absence away from the Higher Education (HE) sector for the “cut and thrust” of the private sector. During 1999 to 2006, I was gainfully employed as a senior web developer where I was working on, amongst other things, web-based e-portfolio tools for Primary and Secondary Education. Prior to that, in 1996, I became an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Development Officer in a newly-formed educational development unit (EDU) at Canterbury Christ Church University College (as it was known then). This new unit sat within Computing Services before becoming an entity in its own right in 2000. Looking back at those three years that I spent in this ICT Development Officer role, I can now see that this ambiguous and all-encompassing role had all the “hallmarks” of a learning technologist and an educational developer – though such phrases were not part of my vocabulary back in 1996.

So, according to the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), learning technology can be defined as:

…the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment. (ALT, 2015)

Following on from ALT’s line of thought, a learning technologist is, therefore, someone:

…who [is] actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology. (ALT, 2015)

You will not be surprised to learn that a lot has been written about learning technologists. Indeed, a number of learning technologists, themselves, have blogged their own ideas, experiences and reflections as to what they think a learning technologist is, people like David Hopkins, Sheila MacNeill, Peter Reed, Sarah Horrigan, Santanu Vasant, Sarah Ney, and a recent report by Browne & Beetham (2010) have lent their voices to this ongoing, fascinating and highly contested discourse. Below are links to my own humble contribution to that discourse:


ALT. (2015). What is Learning Technology. Oxford, England: Association for Learning Technology (ALT). Available at: https://www.alt.ac.uk/about-alt/what-learning-technology [Accessed 24.3.2015].

Browne, T. & Beetham, H. (2010). The positioning of educational technologists in enhancing the student experience. Report funded by The Higher Education Academy under their Call4: Enhancing Learning and Teaching through the use of Technology. Oxford, England: Association for Learning Technology (ALT) and The Higher Education Academy (HEA). Available at: https://repository.alt.ac.uk/831/ [Accessed 24.3.2015].

Rushby, N. & Surry, D.W. (Eds.). (2016). The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.