Navigating Online Learning Through “Technological Frames”: A Qualitative Examination



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This study is part of a larger critical discourse analysis (CDA) that examines technology-enhanced learning environments, such as online learning, e-learning, Web-based learning, computer-assisted learning, computer-mediated learning, and open and distance learning. The goal of this qualitative research was to analyze how educational technology scholars perceive and interpret technology in teaching and learning contexts. Using Carl Mitcham's typology of technological frames, which categorizes technology into four groups: (1) object, (2) knowledge, (3) activity, and (4) volition, we identified the types of technological frames that educational technology scholars use to define learning environments. The content analysis of nine semi-structured interviews showed that scholars primarily associate technology with volition (i.e., individuals’ motivations, desires, will, culture, and consent regarding technology), followed by activity (i.e., technology related actions such as designing, drafting, crafting, programming, and analyzing) and object (i.e., tools), while technology as knowledge (i.e., facts, explicit and implicit skills, recipes, rules, beliefs, descriptive laws, principles, and experiences) was the least referenced technological aspect. Additionally, we discovered a new aspect of technology called “space.” The findings provide theoretical and practical insights into the literature on technological frames in online and distance learning. Importantly, insights into possible directions for research on online learning in the coming decade are offered.


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Carl Mitcham, educational technology, philosophy of technology, qualitative, Technological frames


Basdogan, M., & Bonk, C.J.. 2023. Navigating Online Learning Through “Technological Frames”: A Qualitative Examination. Online Learning Journal, 27(4).