A retrospective review of educational interventions and innovations using actor network theory. Creating learning designs that develop human capabilities by purposeful assembly of heterogenous actors
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AbstractThis thesis contributes an approach to learning design for education professionals which can be applied to reform or transform practice through a process of iterative development. The approach can be used by teachers with their class, in a subject area, by a whole institution or system wide, and by researchers as well as curriculum designers. The approach is contextualised, with each potential implementation being different as a result. The ‘retrospective’ approach taken in this thesis stems from agile product development, where a team looks back over recent practice to see how things were done , how they might be done differently in future iterations and what to stop doing. The retrospective was developed using actor network theory to engender reflexivity over the output time period. I adopt various reflexive positions within the text and interestingly, output 8 was instrumental in catalysing the retrospective in this form. My thesis therefore contributes as a model that others might find useful to analyse their practice. The thesis uncovers several positional transformations in my own practice. This includes a movement from tracing cause and effect to mapping wider systems giving insight into how networks are bounded, their borders drawn, power relationships established, and notions of absence, presence and othering are manifested. This wider view enabled a discussion of the purpose of education and the realisation that my practice is situated within both a neoliberal and global economy. The later papers consider ways of acting within this environment, by focusing on the capability approach to determine whether education systems either support or limit possibilities for human flourishing. Focusing on the notion of agency freedom, I connect the capability approach to agile work practices and self-organisation. The thesis concludes with a proposal that flips actor network theory from being an analysis tool to a potential scaffold for agentic learning design, alongside agile product development and capability approach. The scaffold and contribution to knowledge is formed through six principles that combine actor network theory, agile product development, iterative design, and self-organisation through a reflexive positioning. In this way, a purposed actor network can assemble to develop learning environments that recognise freedoms and constraints, but are closer to emancipatory than transmissive.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis by publication submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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