Learning technology as contested terrain: Insights from teaching academics and learning designers in Australian higher education
Keywords:teaching academics, learning designers, learning technology, Foucauldian discourse analysis
Learning and teaching is no longer the exclusive domain of teaching academics and is increasingly reliant on third-space professionals, in particular learning designers. The sharing of the design of the learning and teaching space is underlined by the increasing collaboration between teaching academics and learning designers. This qualitative study explores how these two key stakeholders understand learning technology, which is critical to shaping the teaching and learning process in contemporary higher education. Foucauldian discourse and power were employed as the theoretical lens to analyse semi-structured interviews with 12 teaching academics and 5 learning designers at a large Australian university. Although learning designers and teaching academics share a mutual interest in improving the learning and teaching process, the findings also revealed five discourses where practice was contested: centralisation, surveillance, institutional homogenisation, responsibility, and efficiency. This article calls for a new focus on the collaborative aspect of the learning design and teaching process that is constantly (re)negotiated between these two main stakeholders.
Implications for practice or policy:
- Teaching academics and learning designers should develop practices that recognise the collaborative nature of learning technology in higher education.
- Universities should develop practices and policies that reduce tensions within the five identified discourses of learning technology to ensure a more collaborative teaching academic-learning designer relationship.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Amos Zhiqiang Tay, Henk Huijser, Sarah Dart, Abby Cathcart
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