Enactivism and Digital Learning Platforms

Magda Pischetola, Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Within the field of education, the concept of active learning building on constructivism has emerged as a dominant framework of the past three decades. This perspective is critical to the objectivist idea that knowledge is something static, as an object to be acquired from the external world. Instead, it states that the learner is responsible for the knowledge construction, and therefore shall become autonomous towards this goal. From an epistemological point of view, despite the important shift of assumptions that this viewpoint has brought to education, constructivism still presents some shortcomings in terms of a change of the instructional paradigm. This paper takes a step forward and explores enactivism, as an alternative philosophical and educational worldview. It presents a theoretical discussion of the enactivist perspective and its differences from objectivism and constructivism. Enactivism proposes a more radical alternative to dualistic and objective approach, as it focuses on the intertwined and multiple interactions between mind, body and the environment. The two main perspectives of enactivism, which we grouped into the categories of “embodied cognition” and “situated cognition”, are present in the field of education. The paper relates them to the two core concepts of reflection and intentionality. Drawing on these theoretical considerations, the paper applies the framework of enaction to a fieldwork research in a Danish school discussing how this concept may provide some new lenses to understand the potential of participatory approaches to the implementation of a digital learning platform. The intervention was organised through two workshops. The first workshop use the technique of the future workshop (Jung & Müller, 1984), which includes a critique phase and a fantasy phase. The second workshop (14 days later) was a design-workshop.This intervention is an example of how to understand enactive modelling, considering the relations between the participants and the environment as a dynamic and emerging relation of autonomy-dependency,a symbiosis. The analysis shows that the implementation takes place into an ecological living system made up of humans, non - humans, things, and societal entities. For the teachers (and more general the humans) to possibly accept, appropriate, act and re-enact such a learning infrastructure, it is of great importance to establish spaces for reflections, which e.g. a future workshop provides, and to support and facilitate (alternative) enactments of some of the more hidden affordances of the digital learning platform.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Networked Learning Conference 2020
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventNetworked Learning Conference 2020 - SDU Kolding, Kolding, Denmark
Duration: 18 May 202020 May 2020


ConferenceNetworked Learning Conference 2020
LocationSDU Kolding
SeriesProceedings of the Networked Learning Conference


  • Enactivism
  • Digital platforms
  • Educational research


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