Theorizing why in digital learning: Opening frontiers for inquiry and innovation with technology

Mason, Jonathan Charles (2014) Theorizing why in digital learning: Opening frontiers for inquiry and innovation with technology. In Sampson, Demetrios, Ifenthaler, Dirk, Spector, J. Michael, & Isaias, Pedro (Eds.) Digital Systems for Open Accesss to Formal and Informal Learning. Springer, Switzerland, pp. 101-118.

View at publisher


Asking why is an important foundation of inquiry and fundamental to the development of reasoning skills and learning. Despite this, and despite the relentless and often disruptive nature of innovations in information and communications technology (ICT), sophisticated tools that directly support this basic act of learning appear to be undeveloped, not yet recognized, or in the very early stages of development. Why is this so? To this question, there is no single factual answer. In response, however, plausible explanations and further questions arise, and such responses are shown to be typical consequences of why-questioning. A range of contemporary scenarios are presented to highlight the problem. Consideration of the various inputs into the evolution of digital learning is introduced to provide historical context and this serves to situate further discussion regarding innovation that supports inquiry-based learning. This theme is further contextualized by narratives on openness in education, in which openness is also shown to be an evolving construct. Explanatory and descriptive contents are differentiated in order to scope out the kinds of digital tools that might support inquiry instigated by why-questioning and which move beyond the search paradigm. Probing why from a linguistic perspective reveals versatile and ambiguous semantics. The why dimension—asking, learning, knowing, understanding, and explaining why—is introduced as a construct that highlights challenges and opportunities for ICT innovation. By linking reflective practice and dialogue with cognitive engagement, this chapter points to specific frontiers for the design and development of digital learning tools, frontiers in which inquiry may find new openings for support.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 83070
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Scaffolding ; Inquiry ; Why-questioning ; Why-dimension ; Reflection ; Cognitive engagement
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-02264-2_8
ISBN: 9783319022642
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2015 23:26
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2015 17:19

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page