Friday, March 27, 2015

CfPs: Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Innovation, Technology and Learning for Development; Journal of Learning for Development


SPECIAL ISSUE: Critical Perspectives on Innovation, Technology and Learning for Development

Submission Deadlline: 26 April 2015

Guest Editor: Prof Paul Prinsloo, University of South Africa

Journal of Learning for Development


Learning and its contribution to development, whether in open and distance learning, or other educational delivery modes (formal, informal or post-formal) can be explored through many possible lenses, which do not only point to a variety of research designs and methodologies, but also to different philosophical and ideological approaches.

While there are many journals dedicated to learning, curriculum development, assessment, and so forth, and others dedicated to issues regarding development; the JL4D   specifically engages with the nexus between learning and development.

This special issue will provide a platform to engage with firstly, the notion of innovation in learning in the context of, and in relation to socioeconomic and human development; and secondly, critically engage with broader claims and practices in the context of learning for development. Learning for development is therefore in many respects an assemblage of different associations that produce agency as well as "ideas, identities, rules, routines, policies, instruments and reforms" (Fenwick & Edwards, 2010, p. 3). We also have to recognise the impact and different nuances of asymmetrical power relations and configurations on learning for development as assemblage and how it is informed by, for example,  gender, race, language, culture, and geopolitical location (e.g. developing vs. developed and the Global North vs. the Global South). (See for example, Avgerou, 2010; Baijnath, 2013; Collins & Rhoads, 2010; Czerniewicz & Wiens, 2013; Gulati, 2008; Heeks, 2010; Islam, 2011; James, 2010; Keengwe & Malapile, 2014; Lumumba-Kasongo, 2011; Oyelere, 2010; and Tikly & Barrett, 2011).

Education is often lauded as the "powerhouse for development", and as an "incubator for social and economic change" (Naidoo, 2008, p. 248). The collaboration between education and development is therefore portrayed as addressing the origins of, and decreasing the impact of social and economic disparities. While there is no question that education plays a crucial role in socioeconomic and human development, the relationship between learning and development is more complex than generally assumed. The fact that actors, actions and practices in the nexus of education and development are mostly embedded in asymmetrical, socio-material relations necessitates a critical exploration (Apple, 2010; Bauman, 2012; Benavot, 1989; Comim, 2007; Epstein, Boden, Deem, Rizvi & Wright, 2008; Giroux, 2003, 2014; Hountondji, 2000; Hoppers, 2000, 2001; Mensah, 2007).

Teaching and learning are indisputably social, political and ideological acts and the relationship between learning and development is shaped by various factors and discourses such as globalisation, development and the interconnected flows of populations, information, data, capital, knowledge, and differential power (Apple, 2010; Castells, 2009). The relationship between learning and development therefore finds itself located in the nexus of various asymmetric relations of power and mostly contradictory dynamics. Learning and/for development are caught up in the "double logic of inclusion and exclusion in the global networks that structure production, consumption, communication and power" (Castells, 2009, p. 25). Against the complex backdrop of a variety of societal fault lines informed, perpetuated and sustained by dominant market ideologies and educational initiatives by global organisations such as the World Bank; there are increasing concerns about the inability of current market ideologies to address social injustice and disparity and collateral damage of "development" (Apple, 2010; Bauman, 1998, 2004; 2011; Chomsky & Barsamian, 2013; Davis, 2006; Giroux 2014).

The purpose of this special issue is not only to bear witness to how much of the current discourses on learning and development may be connected to various relations of exploitation and domination, but also to de-naturalise many of the assumptions about learning and/for development. This issue therefor hopes to point not only to the complexities and contradictions, but also to spaces for possible counter-hegemonic action and hope (Apple, 2010).

Central to many of the discourses on learning and/for development are claims of how technology and technological developments will, or at least have the potential to, somehow, erase hundreds of years' structural injustice and inequality (Daniel, 2009; Morozov, 2013; Selwyn, 2014). Digital technologies are lauded to herald "a tectonic shift that will bring the benefits of learning and knowledge to millions" (Daniel, 2009, p. 62). There are also claims that through technology and the benevolence of educators and institutions in the global north "education for all" will become a reality for those previously excluded from education (Lillie, 2012). In stark contrast to these claims, is the need to understand technology and more specifically educational technology "in terms of its complicated and often unjust connections to the larger society" (Selwyn & Facer, 2013, p. 4). "While undoubtedly of great potential benefit, it is clear that educational technology is a value-laden site of profound struggle that some people benefit more from than others – most notably in terms of power and profit" (Selwyn, 2014, p. 2). (Also see Morozov, 2013). Technology in the context of learning and development is best understood "as a knot of social, political, economic and cultural agendas that is riddled with complications, contradictions and conflicts" (Selwyn, 2014, p. 6).

Gray (2004) posits the notion that there is no basis for the wide-spread belief that progress in knowledge and science will necessarily result in a more just and compassionate society. He warns that knowledge and science cannot (and will not) "end the conflicts in history. It is an instrument that humans use to achieve their goals, whether winning wars or curing the sick, alleviating poverty or committing genocide" (Gray, 2004, p. 70).

This issue of the Journal of Learning for Development proposes that we consider the relationship between learning and development as both problematic and agentic (Emirbayer and Mische, 1998). Amid the hype, disappointment and hope regarding learning and/for development, we invite contributions that map, explore, contest, critique but also frame alternative praxis in the following foci:

  • Learning for development as assemblage
  • Issues of gender, race, culture in the context of learning for development
  • The growth and impact of the growing privatisation of education on the need for education
  • Social justice
  • Curriculum, and learning theories and pedagogical praxis
  • The role and discourses of technology and development
  • Alternative forms of education, assessment and accreditation
  • The reconfiguration of the boundaries between formal, informal and post-formal learning
  • Graduate literacies and competencies
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Globalisation and the role of global multinational organisations
  • The internationalisation of higher education
  • Scholarship/research of teaching and learning for development
  • Teacher and student identities, roles, responsibilities and trajectories


26 April 2015

Closing date for submissions

10 May 2015

Outcome of the review process communicated to authors

25 May 2015

Resubmission by selected authors plus final selection

29 June2015

Accepted contributions to copy editor

26 July2015

Last date for queries to authors

3 September 2015


1 November 2015



Submission Process (Important):

To submit papers for the special issue, please register at the journal site and submit your paper choosing the option Special Issue (SPI) as the Journal Section. Please write the specific section of the Journal to which your submission is more suitable in the box for Comments to the Editor. All submissions to the Special Issue will be Peer Reviewed as per the policy of the Journal.

Contact details of Special Issue Editor:

For enquiries related to the special issue write to:

Prof Paul Prinsloo (Guest Editor)

University of South Africa;

Further Details:

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