This paper shows that the techno-centric approach to Distance Learning (DL) systems reduces the opportunities to design and understand these systems in terms of the ongoing co-construction of technological tools and educational projects. Another aspect of the techno-centric approach to DL - the bold assumption that distance may be cancelled by the electronic communication tools - is challenged on the basis of a careful examination of the evidence coming by recent field research. Finally, a cultural approach to DL is presented, centred on the concepts of "mediation" (which is essential to understand processes involving Computer Mediated Communication) and "artifacts" which are considered as embodied social projects. Within the cultural approach "interaction" - a key concept in DL studies - is given a new and radical sense at three levels: first as interaction between technological tools and educational projects, second as interaction between the learner and the "material" to be learned, third (and most important) as interaction among participants to electronic "environments" as members of virtual "communities of practice".

Distance learning: Evaluting tools or constructing communities ofpractice?

Cottone P.
;
Valentini E.;Mantovani G.
2002

Abstract

This paper shows that the techno-centric approach to Distance Learning (DL) systems reduces the opportunities to design and understand these systems in terms of the ongoing co-construction of technological tools and educational projects. Another aspect of the techno-centric approach to DL - the bold assumption that distance may be cancelled by the electronic communication tools - is challenged on the basis of a careful examination of the evidence coming by recent field research. Finally, a cultural approach to DL is presented, centred on the concepts of "mediation" (which is essential to understand processes involving Computer Mediated Communication) and "artifacts" which are considered as embodied social projects. Within the cultural approach "interaction" - a key concept in DL studies - is given a new and radical sense at three levels: first as interaction between technological tools and educational projects, second as interaction between the learner and the "material" to be learned, third (and most important) as interaction among participants to electronic "environments" as members of virtual "communities of practice".
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3318487
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