Articles - General topics

p-Learning’s unwelcome legacy


Formal teaching of adults has evolved in a context defined, initially, by the constraints of physical boundaries. Classroom walls directly entail timetables, norms and rules of behaviour, social segregation into organized groups and, notably, the course as a fundamental unit of instruction. Our adult education systems are well adapted to provide efficient and cost-effective teaching within those boundaries. Digitally embodied boundaries are far more fluid, open, permeable, scalable, metaphorical and fuzzy.
This has helped to drive the increasing dominance of e-learning in intentional informal learning and yet methods that emerge from physical boundaries dominate institutional e-learning, though they are a poor fit with the media. This paper is an exploration of the implications of the removal of physical boundaries to online pedagogies, many of which challenge our most cherished educational foundations and assumptions.


Motivation; Boundaries; P-Learning; E-Learning; Networked Learning; Self-Directed Learning (SDL); Control; Constraints; Educational Technology; Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL);

Full Text:




Ariely, D., Gneezy, U., Loewenstein, G., & Mazar, N. (2009). Large Stakes and Big Mistakes. The Review of Economic Studies, 76(2), 451-469 doi:10.1111/j.1467-937X.2009.00534.x

Bligh, D. A. (1998). What’s the Use of Lectures?. Bristol, United Kingdom: Intellect.

Brand, S. (1997). How buildings learn. London, United Kingdom: Phoenix Illustrated.

Chao, M. M., Dehejia, R., Mukhopadhyay, A., & Visaria, S. (2015). Unintended Negative Consequences of Rewards for Student Attendance: Results from a Field Experiment in Indian Classrooms. Retrieved from https:// ChaoDehejiaMukhopadhyayVisaria_Apr2015_ nohighlights.pdf

Cilliers, P. (2001). Boundaries, hierarchies and networks in complex systems. International Journal of Innovation Management, 5(02), 135-147.

Deci, E. L., & Moller, A. C. (2005). The concept of competence: A starting place for understanding intrinsic motivation and self-determined extrinsic motivation. In A. J. Elliot & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Handbook of competence and motivation (pp. 579-597). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Selfdetermination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development and health. Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 182-185.

Deci, E. L. (1972). The effects of contingent and noncontingent rewards and controls on intrinsic motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 8(2), 217-229 doi:10.1016/0030-5073(72)90047-5

Delaney, J., Johnson, A. N., Johnson, T. D., & Treslan, D. L. (2010). Students’ perceptions of effective teaching in higher education. 26th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning. St. John’s, NL: Distance Education and Learning Technologies. Retrieved from 2010-board-of-regents-of-the-university-ofwisconsin- system.html

Dron, J. (2007). Control and Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose. Hershey, PA: Idea Group International.

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching crowds: Learning & Social Media. Athabasca, CA: AU Press. Retrieved from

Franklin, U. M. (1999). The Real World of Technology (Kindle ed.). Concord, ON: House of Anansi Press.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed (M. B. Ramos, Trans.). New York, NY: Continuum.

Frey, B. S., & Jegen, R. (2001). Motivation crowding theory: A survey of empirical evidence. Journal of Economic Surveys, 15(5), 589-611.

Gneezy, U., & Rustichini, A. (2000). Fine is a price, a. J. Legal Studies, 29(1). Abstract retrieved from papers.cfm?abstract_id=180117

Haughey, M., & Muirhead, B. (2005). Evaluating learning objects for schools. E-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology, 8(1). Retrieved from ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ ERICServlet?accno=EJ850358

Hofstadter, D. R. (2001). Analogy as the core of cognition. In D. Gentner, K.J. Holyoak, & B. N. Kokinov (Eds.), The analogical mind: Perspectives from cognitive science (pp. 499- 538). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Holland, J. H. (2012). Signals and Boundaries: Building Blocks for Complex Adaptive Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Jaynes, J. (2000). The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Jordan, K. (2014). Initial trends in enrolment and completion of massive open online courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(1).

Kauffman, S. (1995). At home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Complexity. London, United Kingdom: OUP.

Kelly, K. (2016). The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. New York, NY: Penguin Publishing Group. Retrieved from books?id=SMe3CgAAQBAJ

Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-Directed Learning: a guide for learners and teachers. Chicago, IL: Association Press.

Kohn, A. (1999). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other bribes (Kindle ed.). Boston, MA: Mariner Books.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by (Kindle ed.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Ma, Y., McCabe, D., & Liu, R. (2013). Students’ Academic Cheating in Chinese Universities: Prevalence, Influencing Factors, and Proposed Action. Journal of Academic Ethics, 11(3), 169-184. doi:10.1007/s10805-013-9186-7

McCabe, D. L., Butterfield, K. D., & Treviño, L. K. (2012). Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do about It. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Mitra, S. (2012). Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning (Kindle ed.). TED.

Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: what the Internet is hiding from you (Kindle ed.). New York, NY: Penguin.

Paulsen, M. (2008). Cooperative online education. International Journal of Media, Technology and Lifelong Learning, 4(2). Retrieved from issue-2-2008-previousissuesmeny-124/100- cooperative-online-education

Polanyi, M. (1966). The tacit dimension. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

Raghavan, V., Braun, F., & Goh, S. (2014). An Assessment of Student Learning Perceptions in Concurrent Online and Face-to-Face Education Delivery Environments. Proceedings Twentieth Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS: Vol. 4. Smart Sustainability: The Information Systems Opportunity (pp. 2874-2882) Savannah, GA, 7-9 August 2014. Atlanta, GA: AIS/ICIS.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 54-67.

Strayer, J. F. (2007). The effects of the classroom flip on the learning environment: a comparison of learning activity in a traditional classroom and a flip classroom that used an intelligent tutoring system. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.

Tamim, R. M., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Abrami, P. C., & Schmid, R. F. (2011). What Forty Years of Research Says About the Impact of Technology on Learning. Review of Educational Research, 81(1), 4-28. doi:10.3102/0034654310393361

Tichavsky, L. P., Hunt, A. N., Driscoll, A., & Jicha, K. (2015). “It’s Just Nice Having a Real Teacher”: Student Perceptions of Online versus Face-to-Face Instruction. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9:2. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.

Vaill, P. (1996). Learning as a way of being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

White, R. W. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66(5), 297-333. doi:10.1037/h0040934

Wiley, D., Bliss, T. J., & McEwen, M. (2014). Open Educational Resources: A Review of the Literature. In M. J. Spector, D. M. Merrill, J. Elen, & J. M. Bishop (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 781-789). New York, NY: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5_63

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Jon Dron

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Italian Journal of Educational Technology (IJET) | ISSN (print) 1970-061X | ISSN (online) 2499-4324