Advancing Posthuman Methodological Approaches in the Study of Learning

ISLS Annual Meeting 2021 (Online Event)
Reflecting the Past and Embracing the Future
Bochum, Germany, June 7-11

Workshop Details


Anna Keune, Ruhr-University Bochum; University of California, Irvine
Kylie Peppler, University of California, Irvine
Jennifer Rowsell, University of Bristol
Paulina Ruiz Cabello, University of Bristol

Information & Sign-up

To help us prepare a high-quality workshop please register via this survey by May 3rd, 2021:

Workshop Description

The learning sciences have a long-standing history of advancing methodological approaches for capturing learning. Posthumanist perspectives decenter the human in our analytical approaches and suggest blurrier notions between people and materials (e.g., Barad, 2003). These perspectives call into question many of the assumptions underlying many current methodological approaches in the learning sciences, which emphasize human talk, gesture and movement centrally in the analysis and objects and artifacts as primarily mediators of human interactions. Collectively, threads toward posthumanist methodologies have been advanced across different fields, including material culture studies (e.g., Ingold, 2012), indigenous studies (e.g., Eglash, et al., 2020), cultural studies (e.g., Behar, 2016), and literacy studies (e.g., Taguchi, 2009; Taylor & Ivinson, 2013; Jackson, 2013; Kuby & Rowsell, 2017; Wargo, 2017). Particularly within the learning sciences, new materialist and post-human perspectives investigate the overlooked inequitable workings of materials for educational possibilities (e.g., Ivinson & Renold, 2013; Thiel, 2015; Wohlwend et al., 2019), new ways of conceiving the nature of STEM disciplines (de Freitas & Sinclair, 2014), new avenues for studying learning in technology rich contexts (e.g., Peppler et al., 2020; Sheridan et al., 2020) as well as methodological innovations (e.g., Kuntz & Presnall, 2012; Mazzei, 2013, Koro-Ljungberg, 2016; Taylor & Hughes, 2016). Across this shared work, these scholars question the mediational roles of materials that subordinate materials to people, instead flatten hierarchies among people and materials. Those examples that have been captured are situated within education overwhelmingly present that these new posthumanist perspectives have implications for educational research practice. However, these approaches do not specialize in methods for advancing understanding of learning specifically.

The workshop aims to contribute to a fuller understanding of how post-humanist approaches to learning can contribute to the methodological understanding of learning in theLearning Sciences community. Specifically, the workshop is structured to address three key topics: 1) to bring together emergent posthumanist methodological advances, 2) to consider a set of approaches that are aligned with posthumanist perspectives, and 3) to think about what the utility of these new approaches may be for the study of learning. Participants will engage in small group work and a collective data workshop session, highlighting the work of experienced “guest star” participants. Together the discussions of the workshop are intended to extend conversations of the pre-conference workshop “Posthumanist Perspectives on Learning” that took place at CSCL 2019 (see Peppler et al., 2019) and to generate next steps for anchoring posthumanist perspectives within the study of learning.

Expected Audience

Learning sciences and CSCL researchers interested in post-human scholarship at any level of their career. We will seek to involve researchers interested in advancing post-humanist views learning, engaging in design-based research, and/or investigating application of posthumanism in the learning sciences. We intend to welcome international participation and for the event to be suitable for graduate students as well as university faculty.