Unaffiliated Discourses


Explaining why learners do what they do in terms of the action rather than a reward

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … range of possible activity
  • Knowing is … appropriate action
  • Learner is … a malleable being
  • Learning is … changing
  • Teaching is … supporting change




Some discourses on influencing learning seem to be applicable to virtually every other discourse – that is, they present constructs and recommend actions that can be aligned with a broad diversity of perspectives. A critical element of such discourses seems to be a resistance (or perhaps failure) to offer an explicit and/or consistent interpretation of learning, apart from the near-universal belief that learning entails change.


The fact that a particular discourse can be aligned with multiple, conflicting other discourses should not, in itself, be seen as a flaw. Arguably, in fact, such discourses may be tapping into elements of deep and broad consensus, even if they may not be offering new or compelling insights.

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Unaffiliated Discourses” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.

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