Traces of Cognition as a Distributed Phenomenon in Networked Learning

  • Gale Parchoma
Part of the Research in Networked Learning book series (RINL)


In this chapter, I begin with historical and ongoing debates about the nature of cognition in relation to critical and humanistic traditions underpinning networked learning theory and practice. In this context, knowledge is not perceived a transmissible property that can be moved across a network from one person to another; rather, knowledge is viewed as emergent. I go on to trace points in the past decade where networked learning understandings of cognition have come to include sociomaterial perspectives that acknowledge the agencies of both human and non-human actors in knowledge emergence. In the following section on the conceptualizations of the human mind, I critically examine five contemporary perspectives: neuropsychological, environmentalist, phenomenological, situated sociocultural account, and mentalist. From a relational view, each of these perspectives can accommodate the proposition of cognition as a distributed phenomenon without becoming caught in the dualism of abstract mind and concrete material social practice. I conclude the chapter with positing distributed cognition as a unifying theoretical concept underpinning the political, ontological, and epistemological aspects of networked learning.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curriculum Studies: Educational Technology and Design, University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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