Learning from a deceptively spacious policy discourse

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In this chapter, the way in which varied terms such as Networked learning, e-learning and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) have each become colonised to support a dominant, economically-based world view of educational technology is discussed. Critical social theory about technology, language and learning is brought into dialogue with examples from a corpus-based Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of UK policy texts for educational technology between1997 and 2012. Though these policy documents offer much promise for enhancement of people’s performance via technology, the human presence to enact such innovation is missing. Given that ‘academic workload’ is a ‘silent barrier’ to the implementation of TEL strategies (Gregory and Lodge, 2015), analysis further exposes, through empirical examples, that the academic labour of both staff and students appears to be unacknowledged. Global neoliberal capitalist values have strongly territorialised the contemporary university (Hayes & Jandric, 2014), utilising existing naïve, utopian arguments about what technology alone achieves. Whilst the chapter reveals how humans are easily ‘evicted’, even from discourse about their own learning (Hayes, 2015), it also challenges staff and students to seek to re-occupy the important territory of policy to subvert the established order. We can use the very political discourse that has disguised our networked learning practices, in new explicit ways, to restore our human visibility.


Publication date19 Aug 2016
Publication titleResearch, boundaries and policy in networked learning
EditorsThomas Ryberg, Christine Sinclair, Sian Bayne, Maarten de Laat
Place of PublicationCham (CH)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-31130-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-31128-9
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameResearch in Networked Learning


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