Learning environments are ubiquitous. Schools, universities, workplaces, professional organizations, community groups, families, religious groups, museums, after-school programs, and peer groups are environments that provide opportunities for learning and socialization. As digital technologies saturate our lives and participation in online environments soars, both the number and the variety of digital learning environments are growing exponentially. Video games, social networking sites, open courses, and a variety of social and networked technologies provide individuals with opportunities to learn content and competencies, and adopt new behavior patterns. Growing numbers of learners are taking courses online (Allen and Seaman 2013) and governments, elected officials, and interest groups are encouraging the development of digital learning opportunities (e.g., European Commission 2013).
Digital learning environments are central to endeavors to design, develop, and deliver learning opportunities. While Learning Management Systems or LMS (e.g., Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, Instructure Canvas) are often used in such initiatives, a number of other digital learning environments have been adopted (e.g., blogging platforms, social media, and other standalone digital environments).
The notion of the learning environment is associated with the constructivist movement (Wilson 1995, 27), as emphasis has moved from the individual ...