Metaphors and models considered harmful for e-learning

The adoption, implementation and support of e-learning is a difficult and extremely complex act. A variety of metaphors and models are drawn upon by participants to reduce the difficulty involved. These metaphors and models represent fundamental understandings of the participants and directly influences the decisions they make.

The position I’d like to take for a paper is that many of these metaphors and models are not at all helpful. Many are, in fact, incredibly harmful or limiting. In the following I try to develop a list of these metaphors and models.

The list includes (more to be added)

  • Herding cats
  • Not invented here syndrome
  • Techno-rationalist view of organisations and information systems
  • A central, enterprise level LMS is essential for a quality university
  • Universities must begin to act in a “business-like fashion” (Coaldrake et al, 2003)
  • The idea of benchmarking best practice in elearning


Coaldrake, P., Stedman, L and Little. P. (August 2003) Issues in Australian university governance. Brisbane: QUT.

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