Digital Technology Evidence Library


LocationUnited Kingdom
Start date01/10/2022
End date31/01/2023
Clients Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Steve Higgins (University of Durham)


The last EEF synthesis of the evidence from meta-analyses about the impact of the use of digital technology on children’s attainment was in 2012. Since then, there has been increasing uptake of digital technologies in educational settings and for educational purposes. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed the advancement of many technologies used in education, especially for distance and blended learning approaches. 

There is a growing need to synthesise and generate rigorous evidence on digital technology and its impact on student attainment to support governments, schools, and parents to make informed decisions about where and how to invest time and resources. These decisions may include considerations around implementation cost and capacity, the pedagogical rationale, and the degree of impact on student learning.


This review sought to respond to provide an initial overview and categorisation of rigorous evidence in 117 meta-analyses – published in the year 2000 and onwards – focused on digital technologies and learning outcomes. 

The OpenDevEd worked in collaboration with EEF to create a categorisation approach to present these meta-analyses in a meaningful way to understand the key trends and gaps in the evidence. This aimed to provide a foundation for the EEF to base future funding rounds focused on digital technology synthesis work, as well as a basis for structuring a digital technology toolkit. 

Some key areas of evidence categorisations included: outcome measures, instructional domains, groups of students, moderating variables, hardware, software, pedagogical approaches and quality of research. 

The OpenDevEd team worked to produce:

  • A presentation summarising key takeaways from the evidence review. 
  • A categorised and usable digital technology evidence library – link here
  • A research brief outlining the methodological approach and findings.


Digital Technology Evidence Library