Understanding social media learning through postmodern literature

Cheryl Reynolds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter will examine the potential for using the postmodern novel with education professionals to navigate the complex, shifting, uncertain waters of their professional roles and identities in a digital world. It considers how engaging with these texts can support educators and also help them to support the professionals they train.
Based on a recent narrative inquiry into the social media-based learning of masters level students, who teach in a range of professional and vocational subjects, this chapter argues that forays into a social media environment confer a distinctly postmodern character to the learning experience. Paranoia, fragmentation, intertextuality, metafiction and hyperreality, are all features of this kind of learning experience, echoing some of the typical features of postmodern literature to an uncanny degree. Such experiences can be disconcerting and unsettling for professionals, and comparisons with the postmodern novel have the potential to reveal their experiences in context, not as failure or difficulty, but as characteristic of ways of being a professional in contemporary society, where notions of truth, objectivity and authority are constantly contested, broken down and reassembled from many different sources and standpoints. Technologies that promise to make our professional lives more understandable and open to our control also demand that we become reconciled with ambivalence in an incurably ambiguous world. (Bauman 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessional Education with Fiction Media
Subtitle of host publicationImagination, Engagement and Empathy in Learning
EditorsChristine Jarvis, Patricia Gouthro
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030176938
ISBN (Print)9783030176921
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2019


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