In Search of New Metaphors: E-learning as Hypertext

    Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferenceartikel i proceedingForskningpeer review


    People use metaphors in their daily communication to explain complicated matters and express meanings and understandings. Metaphors define our everyday realities and guide our thoughts and actions. Traditionally, specific metaphors have been related to teaching and learning: a teacher is often spoken of as a gardener, a guide, or even as a sage on the stage. Similarly, the metaphors of learning as acquisition and the learner as an almost empty vessel are very common concepts in relation to lecturing. Learning is also often understood as participation and collaboration, and these metaphors indicate that teaching and learning are seen as activities that take place when the teacher and the students are together. However, when the use of technology and access to a ubiquitous Internet become a part of everyday teaching and learning, new metaphors are needed if we are to speak adequately about this changed instructional place. Technology shapes the ways in which we teach, learn, and collaborate, and both teachers and learners now have the potential to be present in more spaces simultaneously both inside and outside the classroom. The empirics for this paper stem from a PhD project that was undertaken during a physiotherapy degree programme in Denmark, where e-learning was being introduced for the first time. Guided by a symbolic interactionist approach, one of the research questions concerned whether and how teachers and students in the programme felt that teaching and learning had been changed by e-learning technology. To answer this question, emphasis was placed on the linguistic images, concepts, and metaphors that were used in relation to the e-learning setting. Data were collected from participant observation of teaching, focus groups with the e-learning students, interviews with the teachers, and participation in e-learning design workshops. The findings showed that teaching in relation to e-learning was oftentimes understood through the metaphor of hypertext with hyperlinks leading to podcasts, videos, and other resources on the Internet, which the students accessed from home and which were referred to in the classroom. Moreover, the space of teaching was found to be widened by technology, and learning was sometimes spoken of as a constant selection of links or paths through a landscape of resources and information. This paper will discuss the use of metaphors in relation to teaching and learning generally and to e-learning specifically. On the basis of the empirical material from the PhD project, it will present and discuss the new metaphors that were used in this particular physiotherapy e-learning programme.
    TitelEuropean Conference on E-Learning Proceedings
    StatusUdgivet - 2015
    BegivenhedEC-TEL 2015 Tenth European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning: Design for Teaching and Learning in a networked World - Toleda, Spanien
    Varighed: 15 sep. 201518 sep. 2015
    Konferencens nummer: 10


    KonferenceEC-TEL 2015 Tenth European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning


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