UBC Graduate Research

Democratization in eLearning Before and During COVID-19 : A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis Jazienicki, Amy Heidi


This paper aims to evaluate the viability of ‘democratizing’ eLearning within the global neoliberal economy. ‘Democratization’ is examined through several focus areas, namely the digital divide, socioeconomic status, gender, and social justice in curricula. These facets of ‘democratization’ are scrutinized specifically through corporate and university eLearning discourse, focusing principally on adult learners. The central objective is to determine to what extent eLearning can be ‘democratized’ for 21st century learners. The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted eLearning to the forefront of education and has been urgently implemented globally across corporations, higher educational institutions, and K-12 schools. eLearning discourse has been imbued with terms such as ‘accessibility’, ‘flexibility’, and ‘engagement’. The paper explores how these discourses could be reconstituted to live up to the promises of ‘democratization’ through Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA), and asserts that policymakers, post-secondary institutions, and companies must cultivate learning environments in which learners’ full inclusion and development is prioritized.

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