Professional Learning and Teaching Practice (PLaTP)

  • Start date: 2010-01-04
  • End date: 2010-08-31
  • Status: complete

This is part of the Evidence-based Practice Seminar Series 2010 & Syntheses.

A team from the Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology has been commissioned by the Academy to undertake a synthesis of evidence-based practice in the use of technology to enhance professional learning and teaching practice. 

The Professional Learning and Teaching Practice (PLaTP) synthesis project.
The syntheses will incorporate several interrelated activities of work:

  1. Research evidence: Review of existing research publications, reports, seminar series papers and appropriate conference papers, drawing together the main research findings of evidence-enhanced practices for teaching and learning with technology.  This will inform Activity 3.
  2. Practitioner evidence: Evaluate a wide range of case studies and/or datasets, including outputs from ELT projects, which illustrate exemplars of evidenced-based approaches to using technology in learning and teaching.  This will synthesize current practitioner evidence.
  3. Theory-practice nexus: Investigate the evidence found in 1 and how it is related to 2.   It will examine the relationship between theoretical underpinnings and exemplars of good practice in order to explore the sustainability of previous models of practice and support for practice, as well as possibilities for new models. 
  4. Engaging with practitioners: Practitioners identified in 2 and possibly 1, will be interviewed to elaborate practitioner-driven exemplars and criteria for good practice. This will explore theoretical underpinnings that characterize exemplars.  A blog will be used for practitioners to discuss evidence-based learning and teaching practice exemplars.  Appropriate exemplars will be captured as podcasts and made available as learning and teaching resources.
  5. Collaborate with researchers engaged in other ELT syntheses: We will collaborate with other colleagues conducting the syntheses on Assessment and Feedback and Employability and Employee Learning.


The use of technology for learning and teaching brings much hope and promise, but it also challenges us to consider the best possible uses of that technology for our students. More often than not, technologies are used to support existing teaching practices, whether or not those practices actually enhance student learning appropriate for higher education in the 21st century. Concerns about using technology tend to mask more fundamental problems, namely:

  1. the omission of pedagogical considerations, i.e. why and how students and teachers might benefit from using technologies (Conole et al., 2008; Kirkwood, 2009).
  2. a lack of evidence-based practice in approaches to learning and teaching with technologies. (Price & Kirkwood, 2008).
  3. professional development programmes for using technologies have focused upon changing individual teachers, without contextualising their existing practices within departmental or institutional policies and strategies. Such contexts are important determinants of teaching practices and must be included in development plans and activities.

 As part of the project, a survey has been created by the PLaTP project team. This survey invites the Higher Education professional learning and teaching community to provide details of references they have found particularly helpful regarding technology-enhanced professional learning and teaching. If you wish to complete this survey, please visit the following link:

Latest News

The Higher Education Academy and the PLATP team will be hosting an event on 29 September 2010 to disseminate the findings of their syntheses project. To find out more information and to book onto the event please click here.


Conole, G., de Laat, M., Dillon, T. & Darby, J. (2008). ‘Disruptive technologies’, ‘pedagogical innovation’: What’s new? Findings from an in-depth study of students’ use and perception of technology. Computers and Education, 50(2), 511–524.

Price, L. & Kirkwood, A. T. (2008). Technology in the United Kingdom’s higher education context. In S. Scott and K. Dixon (Eds.), The 21st Century, globalised university:  Trends and development in teaching and learning (pp. 83–113). Perth: Black Swan.

  • Open University

Contact details