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Literature Review

Technology Use for Learner Centered Environment

Nicole S. Lang

EDTL 6320

Bowling Green University

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There has been much research done on learner centered environments and most

researchers are in agreement that in a learner centered environment students are much more

likely to take on the learning themselves. This is because they are engaged in the learning

process and not just sitting there getting the information from the teacher. With so many different

students in a classroom that have many different needs it can be difficult to create an effective

learner centered environment. Technology seems to be a popular way for teachers to meet all the

demands of the students and to create a successful learner centered environment into their

classrooms. Is using technology to create a learner centered environment really the best way for

teachers to set up their lessons?


For years and years classrooms have been set up in a way that had the teacher as the star

of the show. Students sat in rows taking notes while the teacher stood up front lecturing. This

method of teaching “does not take into account students’ varying needs, which lead to

dissatisfaction and demotivation” (An & Reigeluth, 2012). With this kind of teaching one type of

learning style is being taught to and the teachers are doing all of the work for the students. A

learner centered environment on the other hand “encourages students to become independent

learners and ultimately to be in charge of their own education” (Bogdan, 2011). When a student

is in charge of their own education they are fulling participating in the experience and it is not

just one or two students that are participating but all students are participating. All of this can be

done without the use of technology but with there being so many different students at so many

different levels it can be tricky to provide student centered learning to all of them. Using
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technology allows there to be different activities happening and different ways of learning taking

place all in the same classroom.

Research Findings

Researches seem to be in agreement that learner centered environments are what is best

for students and that technology can be a great way to support a learner centered environment.

One reason that researchers believe that technology is an answer to help teachers have a learner

centered environment is because technology allows for personalized learning (ISTE, 2017). Each

student is able to work at his or her own level because different programs adapt to the student

using the program. It meets that student at their level to get them to the required level and


Studies have shown that when technology is used academic performances on

standardized testing increases. In one study in Missouri students who used technology scored 10

to 13 points higher on their state test than students who did not use technology. Another study

showed that by using laptops students at Brewster Academy scored an average of 92 points

higher on the SATs than those that did not use technology. (Apple, 2002)

Not only is there improved academic achievement when using technology but research

has also shown that engagement and motivation is also increased. Using technology in a learner

centered environment allows students to have a choice in their assignment, giving the assignment

more meaning to student increasing the engagement that the student has in the project.

(Pritchard, 2014)

Pritchard also discusses other positive impacts that using technology in the classroom can

have. There have also been studies on the impact of using technology on students’ self-esteem.

When compared with students who did not use any technology in the classroom students who did
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use technology to enhance their learning experience had great improvements in self-esteem and

self-confidence. Studies have also shown that attendance and graduation rates have increased

with the use of technology because they have taken ownership of their own learning and they

realize that they are in control of it and want to be there to fulfill their responsibility. (2014)

It seems that the research is pretty conclusive that learner centered environments are

important for students to learn material to their fullest potential and technology helps students to

take on that responsibility. When using technology students are more willing to take on the

learning and are thoroughly engaged.


After reviewing the literature about using technology to help create a learner centered

environment, there are many different benefits to using technology.

 Student Empowerment – Students feel like they are in charge of their learning.

They have to make appropriate choices in doing the activity and in presenting the

information that they have found. Technology gives them many different ways of

doing this. (Dispo, 2017)

 Quick Evaluation – Students are working on the computers or other technology

can take quizzes or play games that award prizes and badges that show students

understanding of the topic and they do not have to wait on the teacher to grade the

assignment, they can know right away of they are right or wrong. (Bart, 2011)

 Learners responsible for learning – Students are figuring out the path that they

want to take using the technology to meet the learning outcomes. They build

connections to the material and learn how they get to know information the best

way and can choose to learn in the method that best serves them. (Bart, 2011)
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 Communication – Students and teachers have more time for deeper discussions.

Teachers are able to maneuver around the room not leading the direction of the

lesson but helping students dig deeper. Students can use the technology to really

understand the topic to its fullest and then not only have conversations about it

with peers sitting in the classroom next to them but also with peers in online

formats. (Dispo, 2017)

 Attendance – Students are more willing to come to school because they feel

responsible for their own learning, since a teacher is not doing it for them and

they are engaged at all times. School is more engaging and they are learning in the

way that best fits them. (Pritchard, 2014)

 Self-Confidence/Self-Esteem – Students are able to learn in the ways that they

learn best as well as show what they learn in ways that they are comfortable. This

allows students to succeed more than they would otherwise and this causes their

self-confidence and self-esteem to rise. (Pritchard, 2014)

Challenges and Limitations

While most of the research has shown that using technology to form a learner centered

environment is beneficial for students and teachers alike, there are also some drawbacks as well.

 Control - The biggest challenge is that teachers do not always want to let go of control in

their classrooms, and they feel that will happen when they introduce students to

technology use in a learner centered environment. Teachers are used to being in front of

the class and when a classroom has a learner centered environment students are making

the choices and they are the star of the show, not the teachers. (Bart, 2011)
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 Time – It can take a lot of time initially for teachers to get the right technology for the

right lessons. It can also take time for students to figure out how to smoothly work in a

learner centered environment. (Bart, 2011)

A big limitation to using technology to support a learner centered environment is that

teachers do not feel comfortable with the technology themselves or are unsure how to use it

in a learner centered environment. Most teachers say that they know they need to be using

technology to support learner centered activities but many of them are not putting that into

practices according to An and Reigeluth. Teachers need to be given more professional

development in order to feel more comfortable. Teachers were not trained to teach in this

way, yet the research says it is a proven method of teaching so why not provide appropriate

professional development for teachers that want to take on teaching with technology in a

learner centered environment.


The research seems to conclude that technology is beneficial for a learner centered

environment. It allows students to take on the learning themselves and to become fully engaged

with the material. As well as get feedback and results quickly throughout the process, instead

of just when the teacher is able to pass back a paper or assignment. Dispo, I think sums it up

quite nicely when she says,

“Teachers in a learner-centered classroom tend to be open to their students’ exploration

and growth. Stemming from constructivist learning theory, learner-centered instruction

calls for teachers to take a role as coach or facilitator and learning to be constructed
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through experience and experimentation. This educational trend becomes even more

interactive and dynamic with technology on the rise.”

While there are some great benefits to teaching with technology in a learner centered

environment it appears that there is still a need for teachers to be trained better in this area so that

they feel more comfortable with the whole process. Teachers and researches agree that learner

centered environments are the way of the future in education the teachers just need to be given

the tools to get there.

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An, Y., & Reigeluth, C. (2012). Creating Technology-Enhanced, Learner-Centered Classrooms:

K–12 Teachers’ Beliefs, Perceptions, Barriers, and Support Needs [Abstract]. Journal of

Digital Learning in Teacher Education,28(2), 54-62. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from

Apple. (2002). The Impact of Technology on Student Achievement A Summary of Research

Findings on Technology’s Impact in the Classroom. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from



Bart, M. (2011, December 05). How Technology Can Improve Learner-Centered Teaching.

Retrieved June 10, 2017, from


Bogdan, P. (2011, March 29). Student-Centered Learning Environments: How and Why.

Retrieved June 10, 2017, from


Dispo, E. J. (2017). The Impact of Technology on the Learner-Centered Classroom. Retrieved

June 10, 2017, from


ISTE. (2017). Essential Conditions. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from

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Pritchard, S. O. (2014, April 30). What is the Impact of Technology on Learning? Retrieved June

10, 2017, from