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digital learning tool lecturer landscape pedagogical innovation teaching identity virtual learning environment

The Effect of a Change in Virtual Learning Environment on Innovative Digital Teaching Practice: A Case Study of Academic Staff in an Irish University

Ellen Kampinga , Christine O’Connor , Martin J. Goedhart , Barry J. Ryan

This mixed-methods, investigative case study explores the experience of a virtual learning environment (VLE) change and its effect on the use of digit.


This mixed-methods, investigative case study explores the experience of a virtual learning environment (VLE) change and its effect on the use of digital learning tools specifically, and teaching practice more generally, for chemistry lecturers at TU Dublin (Ireland) prior to pandemic of the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Initially, a questionnaire examined the different teaching identities the participating lecturers might have and how they relate to the literature. These identities were examined under the following themes: sense of achievement, motivational factors for innovation, innovation positioning, as well as social and organizational factors influencing the decision making. A visual approach of representing the questionnaire data, termed ‘Lecturer Landscapes’, was developed which uncovered new trends based on the biographical descriptors of the research population. Subsequent interviews led to a more detailed investigation of the themes noted in the questionnaire and the Lecturer Landscapes to more holistically capture the professional identity of each respondent. The lens of experience during a VLE change was used to frame each respondent’s professional identity in context. Overall, a VLE change does not have to effect teaching practice and can be experienced as a positive change in teaching and learning. It was also noted that innovation can only occur when specific, and individual, needs and problems are addressed and when personal development is promoted by intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivational factors.

Keywords: Digital learning tool, lecturer landscape, pedagogical innovation, teaching identity, virtual learning environment.

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