Keynote Speaker



"Designing Learning Environments in a
Digital Age: the Quest 
for What to Consider"

By Professor Jan Elen, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, K.U. Leuven, Belgium 


Jan Elen CELDA

Jan Elen is professor at the KU Leuven and the current vice-dean education of the Faculty Psychology and Educational Sciences. He earned his doctoral degree based on a dissertation that focused on the transition from description to prescription in the field of instructional design. His main research interest relates to the design of optimal learning environments, especially in higher education. Specific points of attention are the integration of ICT and the use by students of scaffolds. He currently acts as the senior editor of Instructional Science. He teaches introductory and advanced courses on instructional psychology and instructional technology in educational sciences programs and teacher education programs.


Designing effective and efficient learning environments remains a great challenge. In order to do so, we build on the rich instructional design tradition that proposes the variables to consider. That rich tradition is rooted in a time in which learning environments were non-digital. Interesting work was done on how to design a ‘lesson’ and at least as much research was done on the design of printed materials. While ‘lessons’ are still delivered and printed materials remain important, the presence of mostly digital environments has challenged a number of the ideas prevalent in the instructional design tradition. This challenge is not in as much the result of a change of medium as it is the result of changes that have come along with the arrival of digital learning environments: changes with respect to what is to be learned in a digital age; evolutions in our understanding of learning processes; an ever increasing number of (digital) tools to support learning.

In this contribution we will review some of these changes in view of specifying variables to consider in the design of learning environments in a digital age.



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