According to Dabbah et al. (2018), the three interdependent components of online learning are instructional strategies, learning activities, and learning technologies. These components make up the “pedagogical ecology” or learning environment. Two of the three components have always existed: instructional strategies and learning activities. They can be used together or independently. It is only when combined with learning technologies and the learning environment moves into the online space that they become interdependent.
The technology we refer to when discussing “learning technologies” is frequently a computer application. Computer applications have advanced greatly since the first educational programs were trialed in the early 1960’s (Molnar, 1997). Early use of the world-wide web brought what is now referred to as web 1.0 (Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 with Their Difference - Geeksforgeeks, 2018) which basically allowed one to share photos, documents, and video. Web 1.0 was strictly consumption based. Web 2.0 evolved from Web 1.0, and brought interactive websites. No longer were people only consuming media, they were creating and participating in it from social media to blogs and podcasts. These interactive sites were gobbled up by teachers and students, eager to try new things.
We are now looking at Web 3.0 (Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 with Their Difference - Geeksforgeeks, 2018), the next level of using the internets, particularly for education. Web 3.0 uses everything that came before and raises the level to include artificial intelligence (AI), 3-D modeling, and the connectivity and ubiquity that mean you can access almost anything from anywhere and on any device.
The mere availability of Web activities opens up a world of opportunity for educators and instructional designers. However, it is still important to be guided by the curriculum. A classroom teacher should not teach only the textbook – they should teach the curriculum. The same is true now that so many technology components are available. The technology must fit the curriculum. The technology has to fit the instructional strategies in order to provide flexible learning as well as differentiated instruction. Attempting to fit an instructional strategy to a technology (rather than vice versa) is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
I’ll close with my usual tagline: Technology is a tool used by teachers to build better students.
Dabbagh, N., Marra, R. M., & Howland, J. L. (2018). Meaningful online learning: Integrating strategies, activities, and learning technologies for effective designs (1st ed.). Routledge.
Molnar, A. (1997). Computers in education: A brief history -- the journal. THE Journal. https://thejournal.com/Articles/1997/06/01/Computers-in-Education-A-Brief-History.aspx?m=1
Web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0 with their difference - geeksforgeeks. (2018). GeeksforGeeks. https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/web-1-0-web-2-0-and-web-3-0-with-their-difference/