Technologies for Distance Education and the Development of Technological Competence: a Case Study in an Institution of Higher Education



The introduction of new technologies to the educational process, especially virtual learning systems used through the web, is enabling Distance Learning (DL) to become more interactive, bringing a new way of thinking and analyzing and continuously improving the quality of education. This study aims to understand the development of technological competence in DL from the perspective of technology as a practice (Orlikowski, 2000, 2007) and of competence as a practice (Sandberg, 2000; Orlikowski, 2002). It is assumed that the development of technological competence in DL is a recurring and iterative process, in which competence is developed through interaction between agents and artifacts. The analyzed case is a publicly held Brazilian Institution of Higher Education (HEI) with approximately 145,000 students in distance education centers throughout Brazil. Interviews were conducted with DL managers, developers, teachers and tutors to capture their varied views about the process of technology use and the development of technological competence. The research shows that the dynamics of introducing this new type of education has promoted changes in the competence of both the institution and the professors.

Palabras clave

Technological Competence, Distance Education, Technology in Practice, Competence in Practice, Institution of Higher Education.

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