TRANS Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 17. Nr. Juni 2010

Sektion 8.10. E-Learning and Networking for Social Development in Knowledge Society?
Sektionsleiter | Section Chair: On-Kwok Lai (Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Section report 8.10.

E-Learning and Networking for Social Development
in Knowledge Society?

On-Kwok Lai (Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan) [BIO]



Against the global trend that more and more governmental policy initiatives for, as well as the commercialization of, e-learning and networking, this section critically examines social development issues, with specific role of e-learners, new media and socio-economic cultural milieu they anchor upon, as well as social learning, knowledge creation and creativity processes interfacing learners and knowledge institutions. It articulates that as social agencies and socio-economic system are undergoing changes driven by the globalization processes, learners’ idiosyncrasies to respond and to pursue their strategic learning venture for knowledge discovery (why, where, when, what and how to learn) are nomadic yet innovative in many ways. For the learners’ idiosyncrasies in terms of strong initiatives, critical engagements, and their creativity, they are instrumental for the success of the life-long learning project, taking into accounts of the economies of educational scale (local, regional and global) and the functional differentiation towards inter-disciplinary and-multi professional knowledge building, transfer and synthesis. Yet, the liberalization of learning horizons is constrained by global regime of intellectual property.

This section explores social development issues of the intertwining relationships and dynamics of social transformation with special reference to knowledge creation and creativity, as shaped by, as well as shaping, new media and social agencies. Innovative case studies and their interpretations on the interfacing between new media, social agencies and social development will be examined.


Section Report and Introductory Remark

During the KCTOS conference, there were six presentations which were later revised substantially after months of post-conference e-discussions, resulting with the present contributions. All discussions highlight the importance (or the lack of) the new media (Internet, mobile phones and other digital gadgets) driven by the advanced information and communication technologies (ICT), in shaping the differential learning opportunities, in enabling knowledge creations, as well as the new social praxis which are knowledge-based and/or informed. The differential trends, as well as consequences, of the advanced application and utilization of ICT, are more than obvious that they transform not just the way and mode of learning, but also enhancing new mode of knowledge creation, which challenge both the traditional knowledge holders (educational and professional agencies alike) and the funding and policy holder (government per se) for knowledge creation.

We are particularly interested in exploring the increasingly differential life chance, as shaped by the dynamics for digital dividing forces, in terms of the age group and other socio-economic-cultural divisions or fault-lines. Two innovative studies by Y.C.Wong ( in our presentation stimulate the exploration on the digital divides, as well as ways to tackle the problems. Undoubtedly, the innovative approaches to overcoming the barriers of e-learning in the informational society are important, at least not just to remaking the equitable access to knowledge, but subsequently enable the foundation building for more participatory knowledge creation and sharing by all stakeholders, the least advantaged groups in particular.

E-learning initiatives in the last two decades have been somewhat duo-polized by either the schooling (universities alike) system or the wealthy private providers (the money-based learning regime), our two papers (by Abe and Ko) have revealed the forgotten aspects of social (e-)leaning for the aging population (-the global trend indeed for developed economies). Their detailed investigative studies on Hong Kong and Japan, with contextualizing of the global trend for digital explosion in the information age at the local level, give much weight about the urgency to build up support for, or the re-direction of, ICT application for the, seemingly marginalized, age group continuum.

Contesting the dualism of traditional and emerging learning regime, Graf and Lai contributions differentially articulate the new e-learning problematique from phenomenological perspective(s) and the forgotten Confucian ideas of learning in 21st Century, respectively. Both provide very stimulating insights on the re-conceptualizing of the problematique of (e-)”learning” in the contemporary world and beyond, driven by the hyper-modernization processes with the compression of time-space, as well as the global-localization project.   

Overall, this section has been enabling us (and we hope you share with us too) the explorations on the problematique of e-learning for the access to, creation and transfers of, knowledge and social praxis, in our contemporary world of diversity with conflicts and tensions for development, indicating the contradictions and tensions in the information age (Network Society as coined by Manuel Castells), providing analytical documentation and observations on the emerging phenomena and their underlying dynamics, as well as stimulating our re-consideration and re-examination on the ICT-driven global-localization processes – as these dynamics draw everyone of us into (or in some instances, expelling out) the new e-learning world.

8.10. E-Learning and Networking for Social Development in Knowledge Society?

Sektionsgruppen | Section Groups| Groupes de sections

TRANS   Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  17 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
On-Kwok Lai: Section report 8.10.: E-Learning and Networking for Social Development in Knowledge Society? - In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 17/2008. WWW:

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