Title: Cybernetics, e-learning and the education system

Authors: Oleg Liber

Addresses: Centre for Learning Support and Development, Bolton Institute of Higher Education, Deane Rd, Bolton BL3 5AB, UK ' ' '

Abstract: This paper is based on the author|s inaugural lecture, delivered on 22 May 2003. The paper is dedicated to the memory of two recently deceased thinkers: Ivan Illich and Stafford Beer. The paper first gives an overview of the contribution they made to illuminating the nature of institutions and their organisational structure, in particular, the education system. Learning technologies challenge accepted models of educational organisation. Developments since the 1970s are examined, identifying how the three strands of learning content development, computer mediated communication and learning management have become integrated in Learning Management Systems (LMS) made possible by the World Wide Web. It is argued that mainstream LMS offer restricted pedagogic opportunities if they are adapted to existing organisational forms, instead of being used to relax organisational constraints. Beer|s work provides us with tools for the redesign of educational systems to obtain most benefit from new technologies, guided by Illich|s critique of formal education.

Keywords: Illich; Beer; viable system model; cybernetics; virtual learning environment; learning management system; e-learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2004.003686

International Journal of Learning Technology, 2004 Vol.1 No.1, pp.127 - 140

Published online: 06 Nov 2003 *

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