Lifelong learning ecologies: contributions of ICT to teachers’ professional development

Ecologías de aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida: contribuciones de las TIC al desarrollo profesional del profesorado (ECO4LEARN)




The “Lifelong learning ecologies: contributions of ICT to teacher’s professional development” project (Eco4Learn) was approved by the Ministerio de Economía y competitividad within the Programa del Plan nacional I+D  (EDU2012-37334). The implementation period is from 2013 to 2015.

The project aims to analyze and understand the contributions of learning ecologies to facilitate the development and professional improvement of teachers of primary education. To achieve this goal, it proposes:

  1. Analyze how primary school teachers set up and use learning ecologies for their professional development and what is the role of ICT in them.
  2. Understand the perceptions of primary school teachers about the contributions of the ecologies of learning through ICT for their professional development and the improving of their teaching.
  3. Establish guidelines to facilitate the development and professional improvement of teaching through the learning ecologies.

With the general aim of the project, the research that we propose is part of a methodological paradigm that integrates two sides: the interpretive perspective and sociocritical perspective.

We contemplate the integration of quantitative methods with qualitative, forming a mixed methodology.

The research procedure includes 5 stages of development. It contemplates, in the first place, conceptualize learning ecologies for teacher training: understanding what are they and how they are configured, which are the main components, in particular those related to ICT, etc. This first step, fundamentally theoretical from the existing literature, in combination with the Delphi method in wich national and international experts in the field of teachingr training and educational use of ICT experts wil participate, will allow developing criteria for case selection: teachers whose learning ecology for vocational training ICT is a key role. In the second phase of the project will be selected between 15 and 20 cases, which will be analyzed through semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis. From this analysis it will be identified the success factors and best strategies for professional development of teachers through the use of ICT. The actions associated with phases 1 and 2 will contribute, in the third phase, to the development of a questionnaire that will be sent to a representative sample of the population of primary school teachers in Catalonia. This step will be the basis in order to obtain a radiography or status of the issue of the usual or dominant position. Subsequently, we will compare the single or ideal situation (cases), with the prevailing situation (representative population of primary school teachers). Understand the behaviors and motivations of both profiles teachers towards the use of ICT for the teaching renovation will facilitate, in the fourth phase of research, the development of strategies and transformative actions oriented to the teachers and policy makers. Finally, the fifth phase includes the development of the project conlusions and difussion of results.

Project Website


Main researcher

Dr. Albert Sangrà (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC). []

Research group

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Dra. Nati Cabrera, Pauline Ernest, Dra. Lourdes Guàrdia, Dra. Montse Guitert, Joseph Hopkins, Dr. Marcelo Maina, Dra. Maria Pérez-Mateo, Dr. Marc Romero, Dra. Teresa Romeu.

Universidade da Coruña

Dra. Mercedes González Sanmamed

Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Dr. Pablo César Muñoz Carril


Journal articles

  • Esposito, A., Sangrà, A. & Maina, M. (2013). Chronotopes in learner-generated contexts. A reflection about the interconnectedness of temporal and spatial dimensions to provide a framework for the exploration of hybrid learning ecologies of doctoral e-researchers. eLC Research Paper Series, 6, 15-28. Available at:

Books and book chapters

  • Esposito, A., Sangrà, A. & Maina, M. (en prensa). Emerging learning ecologies as a new challenge and essence for e-learning. The case of doctoral e-researchers. In M. Ally & B. Khan (Eds.). The International Handbook of E-learning. Routledge.
  • Guitert, M. (2013). Ecologías de aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida: contribuciones de las TIC al desarrollo profesional del profesorado. En Sancho, J. M. y Giró, X. (2013). Creando redes, estableciendo sinergias: la contribución de la investigación a la educación, pp. 97-101. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona. Disponible en:

Conferences and congress

  • Romero, M., Guàrdia, L., Guitert, M. & Sangrà, A. (2014). Teachers? Professional Development through Learning Ecologies: What are the Experts Views?In EDEN 2014 conference proceedings, 27-28 October, Oxford (UK)
  • Sangrà, A., Guitert, M., Maina, M., Romero, M., Guàrdia, L., Romeu, T., Cabrera, N., Pérez-Mateo, M., Hopkins, J., Ernest, P. & Esposito, A. (2013). Lifelong learning ecologies. First UOC International Research Symposium. Barcelona, 18 de diciembre. Disponible en:
  • Sangrà, A.; González-Sanmamed, M. & Guitert, M. (2013). Learning Ecologies: Informal Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers. 63th International Conference on Educational Media (ICEM). Singapore, 1-4 octubre.
  • Guitert, M. (2013). Ecologías de aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida: contribuciones de las TIC al desarrollo profesional del profesorado. I Simposio internacional REUNI+D. Barcelona, 11 de octubre.

Invitaded papers

  • Sangrà, A. (2013). Learning Ecologies for Lifelong Learning: A Roadmap for Research. TCC Worldwide Online Conference. Hawaii (USA), 16-18 April 2013.
  • Guitert, M. (2013).  Ecologies d’aprenentatge: contribucions de les TIC al desenvolupament professional del professorat (ECO4LEARN). Jornada DIM – Espiral. Barcelona, 9 abril 2013. Disponible en:
  • Guitert, M. (2013).  Ecologías de aprendizaje. Seminario Internacional Universidad de Quilmes. Argentina, 18-19 abril 2013.
  • Sangrà, A. (2012). Crear y gestionar ecologías de aprendizaje: Tendencias educativas en la sociedad que viene. Xornadas Autonómicas “A Sociedade en Rede”. Xunta de Galicia. Santiago de Compostela, 23-24 Noviembre 2012

Diffusion through media 

Diffusion during the project proposal elaboration

  • Sangrà, A., Vlachopoulos, D., Guitert, M. & Pérez-Mateo, M. (2012). Lifelong learning ecologies and professional development. En Proceedings of the EADTU 25th Anniversary Conference 2012: The role of open and flexible education in European higher education systems for 2020: new models, new markets, new media (pp. 235-243). Paphos (Chipre), 27-28 de Septiembre Disponible en:
  • Sangrà, A. (2012). Learning Ecologies for Lifelong Learning. Asia-Europe Meeting Annual Conference (ASEM). Copenhagen, 29-30 de Mayo. Ponencia invitada.