Seminar recording available: Peter Rule 'Gadamer, Bakhtin and dialogic space'

'Gadamer, Bakhtin and dialogic space: implications for teaching and learning in the digital age'

This seminar took place on Tuesday 6th November at Moray House School of Education.  Watch Peter's seminar via Media Hopper

This seminar is jointly hosted by the Community Education Research Group and the Centre for Research in Digital Education.


The information explosion, on the one hand, and digital modes of learning, on the other, often combine to inform the quest for the best ways of transmitting information in digital form for pedagogical purposes. This can result in linear, asynchronous, transmission-based modes of teaching and learning which commodify, package and deliver knowledge for individual ‘customers’. The primary concerns in such models are often technical and economic – technology as a cost-effective ‘solution’ to educational challenges. In this paper I argue for the importance of dialogic learning space in teaching and learning informed by Information and Communication Technologies, whether in the form of fully online learning, blended learning or face-to-face encounters using ICT affordances. Although the 20th Century theorists Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) produced their seminal works before the advent of ICTs, they were both concerned with the quality and authenticity of human engagement, both with texts and with other persons and contexts. I draw on Gadamer’s notion of understanding (verstehen) and horizon, and Bakhtin’s notions of dialogue and chronotope to conceptualise dialogic learning possibilities in the digital age.


Peter Rule is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies and the Centre for Higher and Adult Education in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University. His research interests include various aspects of adult and higher education: adult learning in Africa; dialogue and learning; learning in relation to HIV and AIDS; disability and learning; community education; curriculum; students' conceptions of research; and case study research methodology. He has chaired the boards of a number of educational non-governmental organisations and is a member of Umalusi's Assessment Standards Committee and Research Forum. His books include, Dialogue and boundary learning (Sense Publishers, 2015) and, with Vaughn John, Your guide to case study research (Van Schaik, 2011).