Examining educational technology and research impact: the two roles of e-learning and related terms in the 2014 REF impact case studies
The need to demonstrate the impact of research has become an important issue in the Higher Education sector in the UK. This has been taken care of through the introduction of ‘impact case studies’ as part of the research excellence framework (REF). The aim of the study presented in this paper was to understand the role that educational technology (and related terms) played in the 2014 REF impact case studies, using the public online database of case studies as a data source. Searches for 11 educational technology-related terms yielded a sample of 125 unique case studies. Although this represents only 1.9% of the total case studies, educational technology is clearly playing a role. The cases comprised two major subgroups: those where educational technology was the focus of the research (mainly associated with cases in education and computer science), and those where educational technology was used as a route to achieving impact (mainly in health-related subjects). The findings have implications for the contributions that educational technology and educational technologists can make in enhancing and supporting this important issue within their institutions.
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