Autopoiesis in Digital Learning Design: Theoretical Implications in Education
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Today’s mobile and smart technologies have a key role to play in the transformative potential of educational practice. However, technology-enhanced learning processes are embedded within an inherent and unpredictable complexity, not only in the design and development of educational experiences, but also within the socio-cultural and technological contexts where users and learners reside. This represents a limitation with current mainstream digital educational practice, as digital experiences tend to be designed and developed as ‘one solution fits all’ products, and/or as ‘one-off’ events, failing to address ongoing socio-technological complexity, therefore tending to decay in meaningfulness and effectiveness over time. One ambitious solution is to confer the processes associated with the design and development of digital learning experiences with similar autopoietic properties found within living systems, in particular adaptability and self-organisation. The underpinning rationale is that, by conferring such properties to digital learning experiences, intelligent digital interventions responding to unpredictable and ever-changing socio-cultural conditions can be created, promoting meaningful learning over-time. Such an epistemological view of digital learning aims to ultimately promote a more efficient type of design and development of digital learning experiences in education.