Foregrounding knowledge in e-learning design: An illustration in a museum setting


  • Lucila Carvalho Faculty of Education and Social Work The University of Sydney
  • Andy Dong Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies The University of Sydney
  • Karl Maton Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences The University of Sydney



e-learning, instructional design, Legitimation Code Theory


The nature of knowledge, and the various forms knowledge may take, is a neglected aspect of the development of e-learning environments. This paper uses Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) to conceptualise the organising principles of knowledge practices. As we will illustrate, when it comes to the design of e-learning, the organising principles of the knowledge comprising the subject area, matters as much as the content. Drawing on one dimension of LCT, Specialisation, we show how to identify and apply organising principles of knowledge, in two successive stages, through an example of our own recent work developing an e-learning environment called Design Studio. First, an analytic stage explored knowledge practices within four design disciplines, engineering, architecture, digital media, and fashion design, in terms of their organising principles. Second, a generative stage involved the creation of content for the Design Studio software as well as its look and feel, and interaction design elements, all of which were designed to be consistent with the output from the analytic stage. Design Studio was then pilot-tested by 14 high school students. The paper concludes with some general observations about how LCT can improve the creation of other e-learning environments.


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How to Cite

Carvalho, L., Dong, A., & Maton, K. (2015). Foregrounding knowledge in e-learning design: An illustration in a museum setting. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(3).