National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Occasional Paper 37 - Towards a Model for Assessment in an Information and Technology-rich 21st Century Learning Environment



Cronjé, J. (2018, December). Towards a model for assessment in an information and technology-rich 21st century learning environment (Occasional Paper 36). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).


Paper Abstract

The question driving this paper is: “What should we assess if learners can Google the answers on their mobile devices?” If Learning is defined as being able to do something afterwards that you could not do before, the problem is that technology now enables us to do many things which we were not able to do before, by simply using an app such as a GPS or Google translate. Nevertheless the actual learning is still hard to define. The person with the best technology and who can use it might fare best. It is not just the individual learners that learn, it is the whole system, including the devices that they use, and the cloud to which the device are connected, that learns. The constraint has shifted from our ability to provide learners with information to learners’ ability to process and use information. The locus of learning has shifted from the learner to the rhizome. We should shift the emphasis from evaluating learners’ collection of knowledge to evaluating their connection to the system.


Biography of the Author

Johannes Cronjé is the Dean of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Throughout his career, Dr. Cronjé has supervised or co-supervised 72 Masters and 60 Doctoral students and published more than 42 research papers. He earned his BA in Afrikaans, English, and Anthropology with honors, along with his Teachers’ diploma, from the University of Pretoria. He completed an MA in Afrikaans literature, and taught English and Afrikaans at Pretoria Boys High until 1986 when he was appointed lecturer in Language Communication at Technikon Pretoria. Dr. Cronjé obtained a Doctorate in Afrikaans Literature in 1990 and then a Masters Degree in Computer-Assisted Education from the University of Pretoria. From 1994 to 2007 he was a professor of computers in education with the University of Pretoria. He has also been visiting professor at Sudan University of Science and Technology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; the University of Joensuu, Finland, and the University of Bergen, Norway, The Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven, Belgium, The University of Namibia and the University of the Free State, South Africa.







Additional Resources:


Jankowski, N. A., & Marshall, D. W. (2017). Degrees that matter: Moving higher education to a learning systems paradigm. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing



Contact North (2018, May). Ten guiding principles for the use of technology in learning. Thunder Bay, Ontario: Contact North and


Office of Educational Technology. (2017, January). Reimagining the role of technology in higher education: A supplement to the National Education Technology Plan. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology (OET).


National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2018). Assessment related technologies. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).