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The 5 Discourses of Design in e-Learning

, Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers, United States ; , , Arizona State University, United States

E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, in Las Vegas, NV, United States ISBN 978-1-939797-35-3 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), San Diego, CA


The history of educational technology is littered with cycles of hype and despair about the potential of a new technology and how it would transform education. We suggest that one reason our field has not been successful at changing education is because we have not understood the complex role design plays over different discourse contexts. We offer a framework that looks at design discourse as it plays out across different levels of the educational process. We argue design of e-learning occurs in somewhat non-overlapping discourses focusing on artifacts, processes, experiences, systems and culture. Each of these discourses has different practices, elements and tools and differ in their inherent complexity or wickedness. It is only by working across these discourses that we can develop productive ways of creating impactful e-learning environments. We offer implications of this framework for design, research, and the training of the next generation of e-learning specialists.


Mishra, P., Scragg, B. & Warr, M. (2018). The 5 Discourses of Design in e-Learning. In Proceedings of E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 1362-1365). Las Vegas, NV, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .

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