Learning, Technology, and Technique


  • Jon Dron




learning, technology, education, complex adaptive systems


To be human is to be a user, a creator, a participant, and a co-participant in a richly entangled tapestry of technologies – from computers to pedagogical methods - that make us who we are as much as our genes. The uses we make of technologies are themselves, nearly always, also technologies, techniques we add to the entangled mix to create new assemblies. The technology of greatest interest is thus not any of the technologies that form that assembly, but the assembly itself. Designated teachers are never alone in creating the assembly that teaches. The technology of learning almost always involves the co-participation of countless others, notably learners themselves but also the creators of systems, artifacts, tools, and environments with and in which it occurs. Using these foundations, this paper presents a framework for understanding the technological nature of learning and teaching, through which it is possible to explain and predict a wide range of phenomena, from the value of one-to-one tutorials, to the inadequacy of learning style theories as a basis for teaching, and to see education not as a machine made of methods, tools, and systems but as a complex, creative, emergent collective unfolding that both makes us, and is made of us.

Author Biography

Jon Dron

Jon Dron is a full professor and former Chair of the School of Computing & Information Systems at Athabasca University, Canada, and an Honorary Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Learning & Teaching at the University of Brighton, UK. He is a UK National Teaching Fellow, and author of Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media (2014, with Terry Anderson), and Control & Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose (2007).


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