International Workshop “Social perspective of e-Learning and Development in the Information Era”

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By Ismael Peña-López (@ictlogist), 31 March 2004
Main categories: Digital Literacy, Education & e-Learning, ICT4D, Meetings
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On Monday I attended the International Workshop “Social perspective of e-Learning and Development in the Information Era”, organized by the UNESCO Chair in e-Learning of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Here come the notes I took:


Mónica G. Luque. Organization of American States.
American vision of the social perspective of e-learning in higher education

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e-Learning brings a new concept: learning management. It might not seem new, but it actually is. In presencial learning there’s no learning to manage as everything is in the lecturer’s head: content, the syllabus of the course, students’ feedback, etc.

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She quoted Humberto Maturana and his term “lenguajear” (languagize), which is a way of emphasizing the dynamic relational character of language: the definition of terminology, policies, real incorporation of terms and actions, etc. is the path we’re on right now in e-learning, we’re just languagizing e-learning more than learning its language.

Some links she gave:

And the four “distances” that e-Learning helps to save:

  • Geographical
  • Temporal
  • Technological
  • Cultural


Tapio Varis. University of Tampere.
Social perspective of e-learning in national education systems.

Quote: “you cannot look at the University if you don’t look at the educational system as a whole”


Ramiro Wahrhafitg. Universidad Electrónica del Paraná.
Social perspective of e-learning in Brasil’s higher education system.

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Quote: “e-Learning is a borderless education
I think this was already true in distance education, but e-learning has overwhelmingly updated the concept.


David Casacuberta. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
E-Learning and social inclusion in the spanish higher education framework.

3 main activity lines in e-development:

  • infrastructure
  • digital literacy
  • development for disabilities: accessibility for Administration websites, etc.

Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize in Economics), in his book Development as Freedom, makes the difference amongst “functions” and “capacities”, i.e., send e-mails or organize a flashmob by using e-mails

We’re used to think in functions but we’d rather shift to capacities: there’s a need of empowerment of ICT

This lack of education in capacities makes it more difficult to accept new technologies, motivation, etc.: “what’s in it for me?” (note to self: I think this is quite related to the success in our online volunteering programme, in the side of the e-volunteer and in the side of the people and organizations receiving e-volunteers).


Marco Antonio Rodrígues Gies. United Nations University.
Social perspective of e-learning in the University: a UNESCO’s vision.

Quote: “we have to control intangible goods: education, culture, environment, etc.”

Quote: “education is often dealed as a commodity, but it is too related to a country’s culture or social reality to deal with it under such a concept only”

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2004) “International Workshop “Social perspective of e-Learning and Development in the Information Era”” In ICTlogy, #6, March 2004. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from

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About Me

    I am Ismael Peña-López.

    I am professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia, and researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute and the eLearn Center of that university. Since november 2013 I am on a partial leave to join Open Evidence as a senior researcher and analyst. I am also the director of the Open Innovation project at Fundació Jaume Bofill.