University student learning and the impact of technology on their learning

  • Darren Pullen University of Tasmania


Australian universities are increasingly turning to the use of information technology to assist in the teaching and delivery of course materials and assessments. New and improved information technologies provide a mechanism for universities to deliver to more diverse student learning needs and to students who cannot for various reasons attend traditional on-campus studies. Recognising these facets many universities have incorporated the use of learning management systems, also called content management systems, as an integral component of their teaching delivery platforms. However, very little is known about how online teaching tools directly and indirectly come to influence university student learning.  This paper reports on a cohort of teacher education students’ (N = 203) use of a course learning management system and their subsequent results in one compulsory undergraduate unit of study. Results revealed that students study mode (online or on-campus) did not affect end of unit results, but students who attended tutorials (either on-campus or online) and reviewed lecture content more than once, performed better than those who did not regardless of their study mode.

Author Biography

Darren Pullen, University of Tasmania
Dr Darren Pullen is a lecturer in Health Science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania, Australia. His background is that of a Research Fellow and clinician in the health care and research sectors; ICT consultant and educator. Darren's research interests are in the role that STS (Science, Technology and Society) and ISR (Information Systems Research) play in contributing to our use and understanding of ICT and organisational change.


Australian Bureau of Statics [ABS]. (2013). Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13. Canberra: ABS. Retrieved from

Australian Learning and Teaching Council. (2013). About the Office for Learning and Teaching. Canberra: OLT. Retrieved from

Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for quality learning at university. OUP: Buckingham.

Boud. D., & Prosser, M. (2002). Key principles for high quality student learning in higher education: A framework for evaluation. Educational Media International, 39, , 237-245.

Bradley, D. (2008). Review of Australian Higher Education: Final Report. Canberra: AGPS. Retrieved from

Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H. & Scales, B. (2008). Review of Australian Higher Education. Canberra: Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations.

Burbules, N. & Callister, T. (2000). Universities in transition: The promise and the challenge of new technologies. The Teachers College Record, 102, 271-293.

Center for World-Class Universities. (2013). Academic Ranking of World Universities. Shanghai: Centre for world-class universities. Retrieved from

Colbeck, D. (2014). MyLO Manager. Personal Communication. Launceston: UTAS.

Cooper, J. (2006) The digital divide: the special case of gender. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22, 320–334.

Cullen, J., Hadjivassiliou, K., Hamilton, E., Kelleher, J., Sommerlad, E. & Stern, E. (2002). Review of current pedagogic research and practice in the fields of post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. The Tavistock Institute.

De Boer, D. & Collis, B. (2005). Becoming more systematic about flexible learning: beyond time and distance. ALT-Journal of Research in Learning Technology, 13, 33–48.

Jankowska, M. & Atlay, M. (2008). Use of creative space in enhancing students’ engagement. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45, 271-279.

J-F, Author, D. & Carroll, A. (Eds). (2013). Adolescent Wellbeing: Trends, Issues and Prospects. Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies, Hobart, Tasmania.

Kennedy, G., Judd, T., Gray, K. & Krause, L. (2008). First years students’ experiences with technology: are they digital natives? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122.

King, C. & James, R. (2013). Creating a demand-driven system in Marginson, S. (Ed). Tertiary policy education in Australia. Centre for the study of Higher Education. Victoria: University of Melbourne.

Lindberg, J. & Olofsson, A. (2006). Individual and flexible: working conditions in the practice of Swedish distance-based teacher education. International Education Journal, 7, 699–708.

Normand, C., Littlejohn, A. & Falconer, I. (2008). A model for effective implementation of flexible programme delivery. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45 (1), 25–36.

Oliver, R. (2006). Exploring a technology-facilitated solution to cater for advanced students in large undergraduate classes. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22, 1-12.

Pilkington R. (2008) Measuring the impact of IT on students’ learning. In International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (eds J. Voogt & G. Knezek), pp. 1003–1018. Springer, NewYork.

Author, D. (2013). Doctors online: learning using an internet based content management system. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 9 (1), 50-63.

Pyne, C. (2014). University deregulation. Retrieved from

Ramsden, P. (1992). Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge.

Robins, K. & Webster, F. (1989). The technical fix: Education, computers and industry. Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Roblyer, M., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student use and perceptions of social networking sites. The Internet and Higher Education, 13 (3), 134-140.

Schroeder A., Minocha S. & Schneider C. (2010) The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of using social software in higher and further education teaching and learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26, 159–174.

Smith, D. & Hardaker, G. (2000). e-Learning innovation through the implementation of an Internet supported learning environment. Educational Technology and Society, 3, 1–16.

So, H. & Brush, T. (2008). Student perceptions of collaborative learning, social presence and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: relationships and critical factors. Computers & Education, 51 (1), 318–336.

Tsai, C. (2010). Do students need teacher’s initiation in online collaborative learning? Computers & Education, 54 (4), 1137–1144.

University of Tasmania. (2013). About us. Hobart: UTAS. Retrieved from

University of Tasmania. (2014a). eValuate. Hobart: UTAS. Retrieved from

University of Tasmania. (2014b). Understanding dementia. Hobart: UTAS. Retrieved from

Wiesenberg, F. & Stacey, E. (2008). Teaching philosophy: Moving from face-to-face to online classrooms. Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education, 34 (1), 63–69.

Willems, J. (2005). Flexible learning: implications of ‘when-ever’, ‘where-ever’ and ‘what-ever’. Distance Education, 26 (3), 429–435.

How to Cite
Pullen, D. (2015). University student learning and the impact of technology on their learning. Australian Educational Computing, 30(1). Retrieved from
Research Articles (Refereed/Reviewed)