Theorising sociomateriality in online learning: cutting through the complexity




The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need to develop theory and practice in digital education. In this position paper, we expand on the research conducted in information systems (IS) on sociomateriality by applying it to online learning. The aim was to provide a theoretical underpinning for guidelines to reduce the complexity of social and material combinations in digital education. An overview of sociomateriality within IS research is provided, distinguishing between two sociomaterial perspectives to situate the research. A high-level review of student learning as the social and online learning as the material is applied to a four-quadrant model to unbundle the complexities within this space. Our perspectives are supported by feedback from a third-year information systems course that confirmed the merit of the model and broadened research in online learning. The model is further refined with a philosophical underpinning of Ackoff's four pursuits of humankind to provide recommendations for future interventions.






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