Infallibility of Innovative Artefacts

Infallibility of Innovative Artefacts

Karim A. Remtulla (University of Toronto, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-835-7.ch005

Abstract

This chapter discusses the cultural paradigm of ‘innovative artefacts’ in the workplace. This cultural paradigm is one of two proposed paradigms that shape socio-culturally insensitive, technological artefactual approaches to workplace e-learning research and study. Subsequently, this paradigm also socially reshapes workplace e-leaning historicity for workplace adult education and training, resulting in socio-cultural impacts on the workforce. Technological innovation and business process change dominate workplace transformations. At the same time, any discussion on the socio-cultural impacts of workplace e-learning must also take into account that workplace e-learning is arguably both a technological innovation and as well as a business administration process, all of which affect adult learning in the workplace. Critical theory problematizes these relations between technology and technological progress as well as workplace e-learning. The ‘presumption of neutrality’ is highlighted as it influences the shaping of workplace e-learning and its dubious, shifting, and reversible impacts on the workforce. A focused discourse analysis of the connotations and assumptions that have further shaped e-learning for the workplace over the past decade illustrate workplace e-learning’s changing emphases over the years, from administrational to associational to artefactual, today. The technological artefacts of workplace elearning now deserve closer scrutiny. The similarities and differences between ‘online learning and simulations’, ‘learning objects’, and ‘learning management systems’ are highlighted as each of these technological artefacts, more often than not, is taken as equivalent to and a substitute for learning. The ‘presumption of neutrality’ now also comes to fruition in the ‘infallibility paradox’ for workplace e-learning. For workplace e-learning, adherence to the belief in the infallibility of innovative artefacts leads to two workplace e-learning scenarios: (a) instrumental instruction (see Chapter 7); and, (b) rational training (see Chapter 8).

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