Below you will find resources associated with a talk titled “Digital Learning: It’s deja vu all over again”. The slides below are the near final set to be presented at the #dLRN15 conference (abstract available below).

Due to time constraints a slightly longer version of the slides has replaced.


The initial steps of my university teaching career commenced in the early 1990s teaching information technology courses to on-campus and distance students. For distance students the learning experience was largely print-based with little or no student-student or student-teacher interaction. Like many academics at that time the increasing availability of the Internet sparked explorations into a range of digital learning innovations designed to overcome the limitations of existing institutional teaching methods (Jones, 1996a, 1996b).

Twenty years later and three years ago – long after digital learning had become the norm in higher education – my teaching career continued at a new institution and in a new discipline. Now teaching pre-service teachers in a program proudly proclaiming itself as being amongst the only in Australia to be available entirely online. Once again I found myself teaching both on-campus and “distance” students. Further extending the sense of déjà vu the last three years have been spent exploring a range of digital learning innovations designed to overcome many of the same limitations of existing institutional teaching methods. Digital learning, it’s like déjà vu all over again.

Using this experience and the BAD/SET framework (Jones & Clark, 2014) the session will argue that the institutional implementation of learning and teaching – be it distance education or digital learning – is underpinned by the SET mindset. A mindset that places more emphasis on reuse and scale than on contextually appropriate pedagogical value and thus creates this sense of déjà vu. The session will seek to illustrate how the combination of both the BAD and SET mindsets can offer useful insights for both research and practice into how digital learning might be harnessed institutionally to achieve appropriate and practical outcomes.


Jones, D. (1996a). Computing by distance education: Problems and solutions. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 28(SI), 139–146.

Jones, D. (1996b). Solving Some Problems of University Education: A Case Study. In R. Debreceny & A. Ellis (Eds.), Proceedings of AusWeb’96 (pp. 243–252). Gold Coast, QLD: Southern Cross University Press.

Jones, D., & Clark, D. (2014). Breaking BAD to bridge the reality/rhetoric chasm. In B. Hegarty, J. McDonald, & S. Loke (Eds.), Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. Proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014 (pp. 262–272). Dunedin. Retrieved from