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Durham University

Durham Centre for Academic Development

Digital Learning


Digital learning refers to any type of learning where students and/or staff are using information technology effectively.

Good examples are using digital to:


  • Allow people to collaborate on documents in real-time on a range of devices
  • See and talk to people remotely – whether that is students on placements or experts from industry
  • Contribute anonymously in real-time to class discussions
  • Experience new things via games, simulations or augmented realities
  • Demonstrate understanding by creating short videos that convey the key arguments of a discipline in a concise manner
  • Present a talk with live captions appearing automatically as you speak
  • Search vast information stores from across the world
  • Analyse complex data sets to quickly find patterns using AI-informed search tools.

Digital provides choice - where, when and how people learn and are assessed.

Digital is flexible - text in digital documents can be quickly searched and automatically translated or read out to you. Page layouts can be altered to provide higher contrast, or to display better on the small screen of a mobile phone. Recorded content can be replayed multiple times, speeded up or slowed down to suit your needs.

Digital enables re-use - digital content is easier to search and copy, and can be combined to make something new that can then itself be shared.

Digital provides insight - accessing content digitally makes it easy to collect information about how learners interact with it, which can be used to test our understanding of how students learn and how to teach effectively.

Developments in pedagogy, consumer devices, network speeds and coverage, data storage, online services, artificial intelligence, geographical information systems, drones and virtual reality are all expanding the possibility of what can be done digitally.