Designing for ownership in technology-enhanced learning (TEL): a core element for learners’ SRL and agency

Guest Editors


• Ilona Buchem, Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany

• Gemma Tur, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

• Jesús María Salinas Ibáñez, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain



Important dates


• Deadline: April 30, 2020 -> May 31, 2020 (extended)
• Notification to the authors:  July 01, 2020
• Camera ready paper: July 20, 2020
• Publication of the special issue: mid August, 2020




Psychological ownership is a concept describing a relationship between a person and an object in which the object is experienced as “connected with the self” (Wilpert, 1991) and/or becomes a part of an “extended self' (Dittmar, 1992). Psychological ownership in context of learning and education is rooted in Self-Regulated Learning, SRL (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2001) and has been viewed as an essential component in the development of metacognitive and critical thinking skills (Honebein, Duffy & Fishman, 1993). Psychological ownership has received increased attention in different fields of research, including organisational development and leadership, education and consumer behaviour (Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004; Jeswani & Dave, 2011). A number of authors have addressed the links between psychological ownership and self-identity, self-adjustment, accountability, sense of belonging and citizenship (Pierce, Kostova & Dirks, 2001; Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004). Psychological ownership has been viewed as a positive resource for attitudes (e.g. higher commitment, responsibility), self-esteem, self-efficacy, motivation, accountability, performance and self-identity (Avey, et al., 2009; Pierce, Kostova & Dirks, 2001; Pierce, Kostova & Dirks, 2003; Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004). The theory of psychological ownership considers ownership as a multi-dimensional construct encompassing (1) sense of responsibility, (2) sense of identity, (3) sense of accountability, (4) sense of self-efficacy and (5) sense of belongingness (Pierce Kostova & Dirks, 2001).

Psychological ownership has been studied in relation to physical entities, e. g. house, and non-physical entities, e. g. ideas (Pierce, Kostova & Dirks, 2003) and in relation to tangible elements of a learning environment, e. g. technology, and intangible elements, e. g. data (Buchem, 2012). Studies on psychological ownership have been focused on understanding the nature of psychological ownership and related concepts such as control, accountability and identity, and the effects of psychological ownership on learning and performance in online learning (Barak, 2007; Buchem, Tur & Hölterhof, 2014).

The concept of ownership in context of learning and education has been studied in relation to physical learning environments (Voltz & Damiano-Lantz, 1993), individualized education programs (Lovitt, Cushing & Stump, 1994), student-directed planning of learning processes (Platz, 1994), professional communities of teachers (Seglem et al., 2009), service learning (Abernathy & Obenchain, 2001), teacher education (Rainer & Matthews, 2002), group projects and effective leadership in groups (Wood, 2003), collaborative writing (Bau & Caspi, 2009) and perceived learning (Caspi & Blau, 2011), formative assessment (Brookhart, Moss & Long, 2009), learning contracts (Abdullah, Rahmat & Aziz, 2012), academic readiness (Conley & French, 2014), formative assessment (Chan et al., 2014a), formative instructional practices (Chan et al., 2014b), laboratory courses (Dounas-Frazer, Stanley, & Lewandowski, 2017), often in relation to student engagement and student performance. 

Ownership has a close relationship with other related themes such as self-regulated learning and agency, both of which have received a growing interest in recent years. In particular, self-efficacy is a particular common element in all three -see for example, the models of SRL by Zimmerman (2002) and higher education students’ agency by Jääskelä, Poikkeus, Vasalampi, Valleala and Rasku-Pustonen (2016).  

The question of ownership and control has been also explored in the field of technology enhanced learning, especially in learner-centered approaches to learning designs. The shift towards greater learner control and ownership has been especially discussed in relation to Personal Learning Environments and the changes in ownership and control in comparison to previous educational approaches to the use of technologies for learning (Attwell, 2007;  Schaffert & Hilzensauer, 2008; Buchem, Attwell & Torres, 2011) and diverse aspects related to ownership such as ownership and control (Buchem, 2012), ownership and culture (Buchem, Tur & Hölterhof, 2014), and ownership and privacy (Ivanova et al., 2017) in Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). Ownership in technology-enhanced learning has been also discussed in relation to ownership and access in online learning environments (McIsaac & Rowe, 1997), Blended Learning Environments (Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003), personalised support in the use of the Learning Management System (LMS) (Doherty & Honey, 2006), learning with electronic texts and navigation aids (Armitage, Wilson & Sharp, 2004), mobile learning (Sharples et al., 2009), personalised learning in Web 2.0 (McLoughlin & Lee, 2010),  e-portfolio and social learning (Garrett, 2011), use of iPad for active reading in academic setting (Culén et al., 2011), digital logs of teachers (Ketelaar et al. 2013) and Computer-Assisted Language Learning (Oz, Demirezena & Pourfeiz, 2015).

However, despite existing literature, empirical research on ownership in content of technology enhanced learning is very scarce and current state of research provides little clarity about how ownership in technology-enhanced learning and in consequence the quality of learning outcomes can be fostered through learning design. Perceiving oneself as owning learning is a challenging aim that may support and be supported by self-regulation beliefs and one’s own agency whether at an individual, relational or contextual level (Jääskelä et al., 2016) and more research is needed to support such a statement and the implications for learning in technology enhanced environments. The literature is also very scarce when it comes to measures and scales for psychological ownership in technology-enhanced learning. There is a need for validated research instruments which can be applied in further studies. Moreover, a comprehensive overview of the diverse theories and models of ownership which can be applied to the study of ownership in technology enhanced learning has been missing, making the landscape of research in this field scattered and obscure. 



Topics of Interest


An indicative list of themes includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Empirical studies on ownership in technology-enhanced learning 
  • Learning designs for ownership in technology-enhanced learning
  • Research designs for ownership in technology-enhanced learning
  • Measures and scales for ownership in technology-enhanced learning
  • Technologies and tools for enhancing ownership
  • Literature reviews that demonstrate critical perspectives on the highly related concepts with ownership such as SRL and students’ agency
  • Ethical, cultural, sociological and philosophical issues related to psychological ownership in TEL 



Abdullah, R. A.; Rahmat O. K. & Aziz, N. A. (2012) Stimulating Learning Ownership to Engineering Students via Learning Contract. Asian Social Science, 8 (16). pp. 57-64.

Abernathy, T. V., & Obenchain, K. M. (2001). Student Ownership of Service-Learning Projects: Including Ourselves in Our Community. Intervention in School and Clinic, 37(2), pp. 86–95. 

Armitage, U.; Wilson, S.; Sharp, H. (2004). Navigation and Ownership for Learning in Electronic Texts: An Experimental Study. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 2 (1), pp. 19-30.

Attwell, G. (2007). The Personal Learning Environments - the future of eLearning? In: eLearning Papers, 2/1.

Avey, J. B., Avolio, B. J., Crossley, C. D., Luthans, F. (2009). Psychological ownership: theoretical extensions, measurement and relation to work outcomes. Journal of Organizational Behavior 30, pp.173-191. 

Barak, A. (2007). Phantom emotions: Psychological determinants of emotional experiences on the Internet. In A. Joinson, K. Y. A. McKenna, T. Postmes, & U. D. Reips (Eds.), Oxford handbook of Internet psychology, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 303-329. 

Blau, I.; Caspi, A. (2009). What Type of Collaboration Helps? Psychological Ownership, Perceived Learning and Outcome Quality of Collaboration Using Google Docs. Proceedings of the Chais conference on instructional technologies research 2009: Learning in the technological era Y. Eshet-Alkalai, A. Caspi, S. Eden, N. Geri, Y. Yair (Eds.), Raanana: The Open University of Israel.

Brookhart, S., Moss, C., & Long, B. (2009). Promoting Student Ownership of Learning Through High-Impact Formative Assessment Practices. Journal Of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 6(12), pp. 52-67.

Buchem, I., Attwell, G., Torres, R. (2011). Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. pp. 1-33. Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10-12 July 2011, Southampton, UK.

Buchem, I. (2012). Psychological Ownership and Personal Learning Environments. Do possession and control really matter? Proceedings of the PLE Conference 2012, 12 July 2012, Aveiro, Portugal, ISSN: 2182-8229.

Buchem, I., Tur, G.,  Hölterhof, T. (2014). The Role of Ownership and Control in Personal Learning Environments: A Cross-Cultural Study. Proceedings of the 4th International PLE Conference 2013 Berlin/Melbourne. 

Caspi, A. & Blau, I. (2011). Collaboration and psychological ownership: how does the tension between the two influence perceived learning? Social Psychology of Education, 14(2), pp. 283–298.

Chan, P. E., Graham-Day, K. J., Ressa, V. A., Peters, M. T., & Konrad, M. (2014a). Beyond Involvement: Promoting Student Ownership of Learning in Classrooms. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(2), pp. 105–113.  

Chan, P. E., Konrad, M., Gonzalez, V., Peters, M. T., & Ressa, V. A. (2014b). The Critical Role of Feedback in Formative Instructional Practices. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(2), 96–104. 

Conley, D. T., & French, E. M. (2014). Student Ownership of Learning as a Key Component of College Readiness. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(8), 1018–1034. 

Culén, A. L.; Engen, B. K.; Gasparini, A. & Herstad, J. (2011). The Use of iPad in Academic Setting: Ownership Issues in Relation to Technology (Non)Adoption. Old Meets New: Media in Education – Proceedings of the 61st International Council for Educational Media and the XIII International Symposium on Computers in Education (ICEM&SIIE'2011) Joint Conference, pp. 555-563.

Dittmar, H. (1992). The social psychology of material possessions: To have is to be. New York: St. Martin’s Press.  

Doherty, I. & Honey, M. (2006). Taking ownership of technology: Lecturers as LMS learners. Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Ascilite Conference: Who’s learning? Whose technology?, v. 1, pp. 213-216.

Dounas-Frazer, D. R. Stanley, J. T. & Lewandowski, H. J. (2017). Student ownership of projects in an upper-division optics laboratory course: A multiple case study of successful experiences. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 13 (2).

Garrett, N. (2011). An e-portfolio Design Supporting Ownership, Social Learning, and Ease of Use. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 14(1), pp. 187-202. 

Honebein, P. C., Duffy, T. M., & Fishman, B. J. (1993). Constructivism and the design of learning environments: Context and authentic activities for learning. In T. M. Duffy, J. Lowyck & D. H. Jonassen (Eds.), Designing environments for constructive learning, pp. 87-108. Berlin; New York: Springer-Verlag.

Ivanova, M.; Marín, V. I.; Tur, G.; Buchem, I.. (2017). Towards Privacy Issues in Personal Learning Environments. A Conceptual Model of PLE Privacy, Conference Proceedings of the 26th EDEN Annual Conference.

Jääskelä, P., Poikkeus, A. M., Vasalampi, K., Valleala, U. M., & Rasku-Puttonen, H. (2017). Assessing agency of university students: validation of the AUS Scale. Studies in Higher Education, 42(11), 2061-2079. doi:  10.1080/03075079.2015.1130693

Jeswani, S. & Dave. S. (2011). Conceptual Framework on Psychological Ownership as Predictor of Turnover Intentions. KKIMRC, IJRFA, 1 (1).

Ketelaar, E.; Koopman, M.; Den Brok,P. J.; Beijaard D. & Boshuizen, H. P. A. (2013). Teachers’ learning experiences in relation to their ownership, sense-making and agency, Teachers and Teaching, 20(3) pp. 314-337.

Lovitt, T. C., Cushing, S. S., & Stump, C. S. (1994). High School Students Rate Their IEPs: Low Opinions and Lack of Ownership. Intervention in School and Clinic, 30(1), 34–37. 

McIsaac, M.S. & Rowe, J. (1997). Ownership and Access: Copyright and Intellectual Property in the On-Line Environment. New Directions for Community Colleges, 99, pp. 83-92.

McLoughlin, C.  & Lee, M. J. W.  (2010). Personalised and self regulated learning in the Web 2.0 era: International exemplars of innovative pedagogy using social software. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 26(1), pp. 28-43.

Osguthorpe, R.T. & Graham, C.R. (2003). Blended Learning Environments: Definitions and Directions. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(3), 227.

Oz, H.; Demirezena, M. & Pourfeiz, J. (2015). Digital Device Ownership, Computer Literacy, And Attitudes Toward Foreign And Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Proceedings of 5th World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership, pp. 359-366.

Pierce, J. L.; Kostova, T., Dirks, K. (2001). Toward a theory of psychological ownership in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 26, pp. 298–310.

Pierce, J. L.; Kostova, T., Dirks, K. T. (2003). The state of psychological ownership: integrating and extending a century of research. Review of General Psychology, 7, pp. 84–107. 

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Schaffert, S. & Hilzensauer, W. (2008). On the way towards Personal Learning Environments: Seven crucial aspects. eLearning Papers, 9, July 2008. 

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Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(2), 64-70. DOI: 10.1207/s15430421tip4102_2  




Zimmerman, B.J., & Schunk, D.H. (Eds.). (2001). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum



Submission procedure 


All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication.

The manuscripts should be submitted anonymized either in .doc or in .rtf format. 
All papers will be blindly peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. Perspective participants are invited to submit a 8-20 pages paper (including authors' information, abstract, all tables, figures, references, etc.). 
The paper should be written according to the IxD&A authors' guidelines .

Submission page -> link
(when submitting the paper please choose the section: 'SI: Designing for ownership in technology-enhanced learning')

For scientific advices and for any query please contact the guest-editor:


• buchem [at] beuth-hochschule [dot] de

• jesus [dot] salinas [at] uib [dot] es

• gemma [dot] tur [at] uib [dot] es



marking the subject as: 'IxD&A special issue on Designing for ownership in technology-enhanced learning'.