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The lived experience of learners' use of new media in distance teaching and learning

Trish Andrews (The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Belinda Tynan (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Rosalind James (DEHub: Innovations in Distance Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




This paper aims to report on a recent study that investigated the distance learner's voice in relationship to their “lived experiences” of the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including new media, for teaching and learning. The study reported on here sought to understand how distance learners are using new technology for teaching and learning in a world that increasingly uses and relies on these technologies.


This qualitative study took a phenomenological approach to investigating the students' experiences with ICTs. Participants were purposively selected to represent a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as a diverse range of distance learning experiences. A number of strategies for collecting the student voice were utilised, including the Day Experience Method (DEM), Charting the Week's Activities (CWA) and focus group discussions.


The study found that learners vary widely in their use of new media. However, there is emerging evidence that distance learners of all ages are beginning to appropriate new media to support a more mobile and connected learning experience.


These findings suggest that students' learning preferences are changing. This study provides the basis for further studies in this area and the need for institutions to consider how these changing preferences might be considered in relation to policy and practice in the provision of education for distance learners.



Andrews, T., Tynan, B. and James, R. (2011), "The lived experience of learners' use of new media in distance teaching and learning", On the Horizon, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 321-330.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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