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An investigation of implementation, adoption and use of technology for enhancing students’ CoreLife Skills in a vocational institute: A Case Study informed by Actor-Network Theory

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Seema Pillai
Publication date2017
Number of pages248
Awarding Institution
Award date20/07/2017
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


With the increasing emphasis on developing graduate employability skills, termed as CoreLife Skills in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and growing use of technology in education; this research investigates the assemblage of CoreLife Skills through technological innovation in a vocational education and training (VET) institute in the UAE. Further, the research explores the influence of teachers and students' technology adoption on the technological innovation.
Using a case study research strategy, the project draws on the concepts of the sociology of translation from Actor-Network Theory as both a methodological and analytical tool to inform multiple data collection methods: interviews, observation, review of documents and technological artefact. The research unfolds the socio-material assemblages using existing frameworks: Levels of Teaching Innovation (LoTi), HEAT (higher order thinking, engaged learning, authentic learning and technology use), and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT).

The research stirred the development of technology enhanced learning and CoreLife Skills development (TEL-CSD) framework for effective integration of technology to enhance students’ CoreLife Skills. Cases of technological innovation underpinned by the TEL-CSD framework suggest that technology integration at LoTi Level 3 or above resulting in the generation of HEAT at the corresponding level, did enhance students’ CoreLife Skills. Based on the findings, two conclusions were drawn: CoreLife Skills cannot be developed independently of general learning and cognitive skills, and technology alone cannot promote CoreLife Skills.

The findings suggest that teachers and students’ technology adoption influenced mobilisation of allies and sustainability of the actor-network. This also provides tools for critiquing the proposed universality of the UTAUT as a technology adoption model, since influences such as power dynamics, personal characteristics, technical limitations and glitches are absent in the UTAUT. This research thereby demonstrates the usefulness of actor-network approaches in reconsidering and revising existing models in the field of education.