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Folk pedagogies and pseudo-theories: how lecturers rationalise their digital teaching

Drumm, Louise



The gap in knowledge about how learning theories relate to everyday digital teaching practices in universities inhibits scholarly and practical developments in this area. This article reports on part of a qualitative research project which identified patterns across teaching modes, descriptions and accompanying rationales. It found that learning theories played a minor role in educators’ rationales, even though many of their teaching practices could be described as pedagogically ‘sound’. Although social constructivist approaches were strongly represented in the data, the most widespread rationales for technology uses were folk pedagogies and pseudo-educational theories. This contradicts much of what scholarship and ‘edtech’ culture espouses as pedagogically led technology use. Such educational technology orthodoxies hinder the progress of theory use in this area and fail to address the realities of how lecturers use digital technologies. While it may come as no surprise that educators did not articulate their practices referencing learning theories, the dominance of pseudo-theories in this research represents a threat to the criticality of scholarship and practice in this area. This article recommends that critical and scholarly approaches to digital teaching are encouraged, and that folk and pseudo-theories are acknowledged and leveraged in the support and development of digital teaching.


Drumm, L. (2019). Folk pedagogies and pseudo-theories: how lecturers rationalise their digital teaching. Research in Learning Technology, 27,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 12, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 13, 2019
Publication Date Feb 13, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 24, 2019
Journal Research in Learning Technology
Print ISSN 2156-7069
Publisher Co-Action Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Public URL


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