Socialsemiotik och design för lärande : två multimodala teorier om lärande, representation och teckenskapande

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Socialsemiotik och design för lärande : två multimodala teorier om lärande, representation och teckenskapande

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Socialsemiotik och design för lärande : två multimodala teorier om lärande, representation och teckenskapande
Author(s) Leijon, Marie ; Lindstrand, Fredrik
Date 2012
English abstract
This article presents two related theories about learning and meaning-making developed in the last couple of decades: multimodal social semiotics and designs for learning. The theories are here applied in relation to questions about learning and conditions for learning within the field of higher education. Three areas are highlighted as important when looking at learning and education today, in a time of instability and multiplicity: the complexity of learning, issues regarding goal-steering in education and the importance of revealing cultures of recognition that become important in relation to learning and assessment in different situations. Social semiotics and designs for learning share a view of learning as a social, communicational and sign-making activity. The human being is seen as active, meaning-making, social and in constant interplay with other people. In this theoretical context communication and representation are seen as social processes of sign-making. Focus is thereby directed towards how people communicate and make meaning with a number of different socially and culturally shaped semiotic resources, or modes. We process and express our understanding of different things by making our own combinations of signs in an interpretative and transformative process. This is characteristic for all types of communication, but also for learning. The notion of multimodality (which refers to the fact that people always combine a variety of modes, such as speech, gesture, image, sound and movement in their communication with each other) brings attention to the nuances in this work and reminds of how complex and creative the work is to connect form and content in different kinds of representations. Within this framework, learning is not about acquiring knowledge or about a simple transfer of information from one person to another. Learning implies that the learner works to interpret and construe meaning by connecting form and content in different ways with the resources available in the specific situation. Consequently, meaning is always made anew, when it is expressed or interpreted. The social semiotic perspective stems from the functional linguistics of M.A.K. Halliday but was elaborated by Hodge and Kress in the late 1970s by changing the linguistic basis to a semiotic one and by applying Halliday’s ideas to meaning systems beyond language. The central concepts that are intro- duced in relation to learning in this article are mode, multimodality, commu- nication, representation, sign and sign-making. The presentation of social semiotics is concluded with some reflections regarding the theory’s potentials for approaching learning in higher education, seen in relation to the three areas mentioned above. Designs for learning has evolved at the meeting-point between multimodal social semiotics and didactic theories related to socio-cultural perspectives on learning. It combines central assumptions about communication and repre- sentation, multimodality and sign-making from the former with an emphasis on the role of context and social setting to understand meaning-making and learning from the latter. Communication and learning are consequently arti- culated as sign-making processes that have to be understood against the background of specific socio-cultural contexts. To sum up, social semiotics offers analytical tools for understanding how learning and meaning-making occurs multimodally in sign-making processes. Designs for learning provides a possibility to understand multimodal learning in relation to a context and in relation to the specific conditions for learning in different settings and situations. The article is concluded with a discussion on how the design oriented perspective can be used as a tool for understanding learning and the conditions for learning in higher education today.
Swedish abstract
I artikeln presenteras två teorier om lärande och meningsskapan- de: socialsemiotik och design för lärande. Det socialsemiotiska multimodala perspektivet hjälper oss att förstå hur kommunikation och lärande formas multimodalt i teckenskapande processer. Design för lärande hjälper oss att förstå lärande i relation till ett sammanhang och till de förutsättningar som skapas för lärande i olika miljöer och situationer. Fokus i båda perspektiven riktas mot hur människor, utifrån val av teckensystem och medieformer, formerar sin kunskap. Artikeln relateras till högre utbildning och perspektiven diskuteras i förhållande till tre aktuella frågor: lärandets komplexitet, målstyrning och erkännandekulturer i utbildning. Avslutningsvis följer en diskussion som särskilt fokuserar hur ett designorienterat perspektiv kan användas för att förstå lärande och lärandets förutsättningar i högre utbildning.
Publisher Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik, Göteborgs universitet
Host/Issue Pedagogisk forskning i Sverige;3–4
Volume 17
ISSN 1401-6788
Pages 171–192
Language swe (iso)
Subject(s) Design för lärande
högre utbildning
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
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