Læringens krav om kompleksitet: Et kritisk blik på de muligheder og problematikker, læringen skaber for de studerende i dag

Stinna Kruse Sonnichsen & Liv Højland Børglum

Student thesis: Master thesis


Present Master’s Thesis examines how learning today is perceived to be central in value creation and foundation for the future of our society. Capitalism and neoliberal rationalities dominate the understanding of learning by quantitative and economic incentives, but fail to include and consider all the necessary qualitative aspects of learning which society demands. Meanwhile, other understandings of learning make the qualitative aspect take centre. Thus, learning today exists in a field of tension between these competing understandings, each failing to include all necessary aspects of the complexity that defines learning today. This creates a serious and imminent crisis if learning is the only way for our society and culture to ensure the future. The thesis is a reaction to this problematic situation. The purpose of this thesis is to engage in a critical study of the concept and the organization of learning in its complexity, with the aim of being able to point out why and how certain tendencies in understanding and organizing learning need to be reshaped in order to ensure the creation of complex, valuable and creative learning subjects that society demands. Through a genealogically based study inspired by Michel Foucault, the thesis commences the examination of learning through a series of significant alterations in the way learning is perceived and practiced. Through the study of the concept of learning, the aim of the thesis is to unfold the contingency of learning to be able to intervene in the regimes of meaning and truth dominating society today. The study starts by examining learning as it was practiced by the Church before the first Danish School Law of 1814, where learning was a necessity, because the ability to read the bible was required to become a good Christian and thus, a premise for existing in society. During the industrial period, the concept of learning changed as it focused on professional knowledge and the fulfilling of a certain function and was taught by educated teachers in worldly institutions. The student protests in the 1960’s challenged the traditional learning regime and demanded influence on the curriculum and courses. The purpose of learning then became forming independent, politically active and critically minded individuals with the ability to make changes. In society today, learning is dominated by neoliberal and economic rationalities that perceive learning as a strategic process with the purpose of gaining extraordinary achievements in as short a time as possible. At the same time educational institutions are expected to shape creative and innovative individuals, with a deeply rooted, qualitative knowledge. The thesis is theoretically founded in phenomenology, and an analysis of the architectural space, in which learning takes place, is necessary to understand the process of creating learning subjects today. In the analysis, we examine the IT-University of Copenhagen through philosophers and writers as Juhani Pallasmaa and Richard Sennett. The analysis concludes that the IT-University supports the strategic and neoliberal understanding of learning and creativity through transparent architecture, performative and fast-paced environment and room for constant interaction between students. Thus, the subjects are created with competencies for working in a high achieving environment, but space for creativity and knowledge through silent contemplation are not created here. As examined, these factors are considered to be necessary for learning, and a problematic tendency is discovered. This requires the thesis to examine alternative organizations of learning to understand how the missing aspects can be formed. The conclusion of the analysis points to a necessary reshaping of the architecture of universities, if the creative, knowing and innovative individuals that society demands are to be formed. Ultimately, the thesis discusses the consequences of the undifferentiated, strategic and economic understanding and organization of learning. It is pointed out that in the way we understand and spatially organize learning today, certain elements have to change if the demands of society are to be met. To achieve that end, it is necessary to create a new premise for talking about and understanding learning, in order to recognize and consider different and more complex solutions to forming creative, knowledge-intensive and innovative learning individuals. The interventional potential in the Master’s Thesis lies in the creation of a new voice in the debate that can challenge the accepted regime of meaning and premises for both understanding and organizing learning.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages136