Accumulating knowledge in researching technology-enhanced learning: going with the flow

Authors: Patel, U., Solomon, N. and Solkin, L.

Editors: Field, J., Gallacher, J. and Ingram, R.

Publisher: Routledge

Place of Publication: London, New York

ISBN: 9780415495981

DOI: 10.4324/9780203875179


This rhetoric invokes the language of ‘value for money’, ‘results for investments’ and ‘evidence-based’ practice, drawing attention to the current focus on the economic benefits of education. In response, the public face of the TEL Programme foregrounds the values of ‘authentic interdisciplinarity’ and equal ‘engagement of users, stakeholders and potential benefi ciaries’ (Understanding, Creating, and Exploiting Digital Technologies for Learning 2006: 5, 6). However, at the same time, there is an implicit construction of ‘cumulation’ as hierarchical, incremental, additive and progressive; and ‘knowledge’ as a commodity with fixed quantifiable characteristics. The form and content of the outcomes are pre defined. We suggest that there is a risk that the TEL vision will be undermined if the requirement for demonstrating ‘knowledge cumulation’ is regarded as unproblematic rather than as a construct that for the time being does rhetorical work for reconfiguring TEL research. What follows is a discussion of our use of a particular theoretical frame to explore the workings of our TEL research project. We use actor-network theory as it allows us to explore the complexities that we describe as a messy landscape of interdisciplinary research practices. Exploring our research in this way challenges the more idealised accounts of knowledge cumulation practices.

Source: Manual