Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Structuring institutions to exploit learning technologies: A cybernetic model

By Oleg Liber


The adoption of learning technologies has not fulfilled expectation in any sector of education. Arguably, it is the structure of educational institutions which is the main obstacle. Schools, colleges and universities were designed to allow the delivery of education by the few to the many at a time when the key technology was the printed page, and many of the organizational instruments that facilitated this are still with us today: timetables, classrooms, syllabuses and so on. These permit a particular style of education to take place, but result in a system where the complexity of learning needs is ignored New technologies can provide new organizational devices that recognize this complexity. These require careful design and imply a significant restructuring of institutional organization. This paper addresses how the tools provided by management cybernetics, in particular Stafford Beer's Viable System Model, allow the analysis of structural mechanisms and how they impact on organizational complexity. It describes how these tools can be used to redesign educational organizations, including identifying key points where technologies can be used to create structures that permit a more flexible exploitation of the opportunities offered by learning technologies. The current JTAP project Toolkit for the Management of Learning is offered as an example of a set of software tools that emerge from such a cybernetic analysis

Topics: LB Theory and practice of education, LC1022 - 1022.25 Computer-assisted Education
Publisher: University of Wales Press
Year: 1998
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0968776980060103
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1960). Design for a Brain, doi
  2. (1986). Images of Organization, doi
  3. (1997). Letter to The Times Higher,
  4. (1994). Managing resource-based learning'
  5. (1989). The Viable System Model, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.