‘Why Can’t I Just Google It?’ What Disruptive Innovation Means for Higher Education

  • Michael Flavin
Part of the Digital Education and Learning book series (DEAL)


This chapter analyses the impact of Disruptive Innovation on higher education. Activity Theory is used as the framework, enabling exploration of how students and lecturers interact with technologies. The original research on Activity Theory is surveyed, which argues that purposeful human activity is mediated by tools. Second generation Activity Theory as devised by Yrgo Engeström is also analysed and is especially useful because of its inclusion of social factors.

The chapter argues that Disruptive Innovation, viewed through an Activity Theory lens, impacts most significantly on learning, teaching, assessment and the division of labour in higher education.


Activity Theory Expansive learning Technology enhanced learning Higher education Engeström, Yrgo Vygotsky, Lev 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Flavin
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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