The “Learning” Space


  • (…) any space became a learning space because of the social practices being performed, informed by a variety of cultural norms and expectations, in fact it was made of these two [Harrison, 2018]
  • it is not a container in which the world proceeds, but it is a co-product of these proceedings [Thrift, 2003]
  • dynamic relationship between social norms, how material and social structures influence these norms and how they are then embodied by individuals/ it is a set of relations between individuals [Kuntz & Berger, 2011]
  • space is constructed through orderings or operations of objects and social relations (regional: where object/relations are clustered within boundaries, network: where the distances between elements and relations account for difference and fluid: where boundaries allow for leaking or transformation) [Mol & Law, 1994]
  • material space such as the design and use of classroom is not the equivalent of place and not the object, background or container of study, it is instead, a dynamic multiplicity that is constantly being produced by simultaneous practice-so-far and is enacted, turbulent, entangled and hybrid [Fenwick, Edwards & Sawchuk, 2011]
  • they are not merely material spaces but also conceived spaces [Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 1989]
  • space dependent on software-driven technologies is identified as a code/space where software and the spatiality of everyday life become mutually constituted, produced through one another [Kitchin & Dodge, 2011]
  • web-based spaces are not containers in which online learning activities take place but rather fluid sociomaterial assemblages that take on particularities as people and things -both online and offline- negotiate how they move, mix and mobilize in their correspondences [Thompson, 2014]
  • virtual learning environments not only are places where social and cultural production processes occur, they are also bound by preexisting conventional systems that are defined by HE cultural processes and norms [Goodfellow & Hewling, 2005]
  • LMSs/ VLEs often reflect institutional, hierarchical perspective
  • when working online we work in destabilized classrooms engaging in spaces and practices which are disquieting, disorienting, strange, anxiety-inducing, uncanny [Bayne, 2010]
  • online environments can also be walled, hierarchical and traditional as F2F classrooms and they can also be “wild and open” where social technologies are hailed as “interactive. connected, free, easily accessed and accessible, enabled to create dynamic and nuanced communities of learners/ but binary versions of learning spaces allow us to avoid examining the complex relationships between learning and the spaces it takes place [McRae, 2014]



Michelle Harrison, 2018. Space as a tool for analysis: Examining digital learning spaces. In Open Praxis, vol. 10 issue 1, January–March 2018, pp. 17–28 (ISSN 2304-070X)

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