The future of higher education is spelled blended learning. At least where we are right now, making a clear distinction between what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘online’ In the future, this division will most certainly be more blurred as technology will become more integrated in our corporality. Everything will be blended, or perhaps merged, so to say.

Following this, it will be quite uninteresting what the tool used is and more important what the tool does. How it shapes the situation and affect us humans while learning. Knowing the effects of how education is design will be a central competence for all teachers. The TPACK framework suggests that teachers not only need content knowledge and pedagogical skills but also technical knowledge to be able to choose the right tool (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

And here is where I think we will struggle a bit for the next upcoming years. My own personal reflection is that teachers, brave enough to embark on the online-learning-journey, tend to overestimate digital tools. Perhaps due to a personal interest. Or maybe they feel they need to compensate for all the other teacher’s underestimation of digital tools. Anyway, the risk I imagine myself to see here is that we tend not be sufficiently long-term in our perspectives and also to miss out on the holistic nature of learning (Bronfenbrenner, 2005). I covered some short-term aspects of this in relation to learning in my last blog post. But what I want to highlight here is the more longstanding aspects that appears perhaps over a semester, a school year or even a whole program.

As teacher, we need to carefully consider both the short-term and the long-term effects of how our courses are designed. This of course includes effects on learning, time and cost-efficiency, student’s immediate needs and so on. But we also need to consider the long-term effects on learning as a holistic process including curiosity, motivation, engagement, social relations, mental well-being and so on (Deci & Ryan, 2012).

Research shows that more screen-time is associated with lower psychological health (Twenge & Campbell, 2018). It doesn’t matter how nicely digital tools are designed; they will always be used on a computer with a screen. Thus, an over-use of digital tools in education risks increase the psychological illness that’s already a pressing problem today.

And here, I think, we could potentially make use of a kind of long-term scaffolding aiming at designing blended-learning education holistically. Learning activities and examination cannot only be planned with respect to formal learning goals. They also need to consider the well-being of the learning, enable sustainable individual development.

When planning courses teachers should carefully consider what kinds of tools and modes of teaching will stimulate learning best, not only in the short run but also in the long run. Thus, seeing the learning as a whole. Perhaps it’s time to add an additional letter to the TPACK abbreviation? As teacher’s need the competence to view teaching and learning holistically, maybe it should be HTPACK=Holistic Technical Pedagogical Content Knowledge.


Bronfenbrenner, U. (2005). Making Human Beings Human. SAGE

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Motivation, personality, and development withi embedded social contexts: An overview of self-determination theory. I R. M. Ryan (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of human motivation (pp. 85–107). Oxford University Press.

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

Twenge JM, Campbell WK. Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Prev Med Rep. 2018 Oct 18;12:271-283. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.10.003. PMID: 30406005; PMCID: PMC6214874.

The future of blended learning