Information Systems Frontiers

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 399–413 | Cite as

Knowledge versus content in e-learning: A philosophical discussion

  • Gonçalo Jorge Morais Costa
  • Nuno Sotero Alves Silva


Historically education has been supported by technology; however, during the past three decades electronic technologies for educational purposes have been used to achieve better learning outcomes. There are two propositions regarding the use of computers for educational purposes; that is, people can learn “from” technologies or people can learn “with” technologies. The, e-learning literature reveals that technological and instructional perceptions are diffuse. Furthermore, only recently have the ethical and cultural issues been considered. The philosophical discussion within this paper considers these issues and explores the idea of knowledge or content in e-learning, teasing out the differences between these two concepts. In order to contextualize the debate, the literature is reviewed, and a philosophical debate using an inquiry example is presented.


E-learning Knowledge Content Philosophical argument 



Content Delivery Application


Content Management


Content Management Application


Content Management Systems


Conceptual Content Management


Cultural Content Management


Global Content Management


Knowledge Management


Knowledge Management Systems


Learning Content Management Systems


Learning Knowldge Management Systems


Learning Management Systems


Learning Objects


Learning Objects Knowledge Management Systems


Managing Learning Environment


Personal Content Management


Personal Knowledge Management


Personal Learning Environments


Social Software


Virtual Learning Environments



The authors of this paper would like to recognize the tremendous effort of Dr. Bernd Stahl, Ms. Mary Prior and Professor Simon Rogerson regarding their support and guidance throughout their PhD projects, and also to be grateful to all that have made comments and suggestions during ETHICOMP 2008.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gonçalo Jorge Morais Costa
    • 1
  • Nuno Sotero Alves Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Computing and Social ResponsibilityDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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