The Alliance for Excellent Education defines digital learning as “any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience.” Essentially, digital learning is the use of digital technology to support learning.
According to the GA Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, digital learning requires a combination of technology, digital content, and instruction. “Technology is the mechanism that delivers the digital content; because instructors are no longer directly responsible for presenting the content, they are able to spend more time providing instruction in the form of personalized guidance and assistance to make sure that students learn and stay on track.
In a blended learning environment, therefore, digital technology enables instructors to act as more of a ‘guide on the side’ rather than as the traditional ‘sage on the stage’, freeing up class time for more engaging and effective active learning exercises. This is the area in which digital learning can probably have the most significant impact on student learning.
Digital technology can obviously be used in many other ways, of course; the key to using technology successfully in your classes is to choose the technology that will best support your learning objectives. Never use technology simply for the sake of using the technology (no matter how cool it is). If your students are paying more attention to (or spending more time on) the technology than the content, you probably need to find a different solution.