The Relationship Between Human and Technology in E-learning from the Perspective of Actor-Nework Theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Associate Professor, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology (IranDoc),Tehran, Iran


Objective: We examine the relationship between human and technology in electronic education and answer the question ‘what changes does electronic education as information technology bring about in education and its actors?’ We also address whether e-learning technology diminishes the role of the human actor and turns it into a facilitator, and what are the effects of technology in virtual education on the teacher, students and public perception of education.
Methods: Using the conceptual framework of actor-network theory and specifically the concepts of mediations as an analytical tool in understanding the relationship between humans and technology, we present an analysis and interpretation of electronic education and the agency of its actors.
Results: Technology of e-learning (1) changes the aims of the involved actors (translation); (2) changes the action of learning (composition), (3) aggregates times and places in one place and acts as one actor (black-boxing), and (4) we delegate things to it while it changes them at the same time (delegation).
Conclusion: Information technology in electronic education is not just a tool in the hands of the teacher, but it has changed the involved actors, including teacher, in many ways. An analysis of this kind of education in the form of ANT’s four mediations provides a clearer understanding of these changes. Technology-mediated education should be recognized as a new kind of education that needs new norms and policies.


Main Subjects


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