Engaging Learners with Semiotics

Lessons Learned from Reading the Signs

Semiotics has explained the cognitive mechanisms of a complex, subtle and important phenomenon affecting all human interactions and communications across socio-cultural, socio-economic groups. Semiotics has captured a durable and enriching functionality from multiple disciplines including psychology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, marketing and their multidisciplinary off-spring, such as, educational psychology, consumer psychology, visual literacy, media studies, etc. Semiotic treatises have explored critical factors affecting the relationship between any intended message and the message recipient’s interpretation. The factors that shape interpretation inherently affect learning and often directly affect learner engagement with the content. Learning environments have been culturally-laden communication experiences which academics, largely segmented by discipline, have described but often cloaked in semiotic jargon.

Each chapter integrates example after example of semiotics in everyday activities and events, such as stories, graphics, movies, games, infographics, and educational strategies. The chapters also present the most salient semiotic features for learning environments. The book describes semiotics as a communications phenomenon with practical implications for educators to enhance courses and programs with semiotic features in any educational environment but especially in mediated e-learning environments.

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Ruth Gannon-Cook, EdD, Professor Emerita, DePaul University. She has published What Motivates Faculty to Teach in Distance Education? (University Press, 2009), and also numerous book chapters and journal articles focusing on instructional design, online learning,  and semiotics.

Kathryn Ley, PhD, Professor Emerita, University of Houston – Clear Lake. Her research and publications have addressed instructional design applications in self-regulation, semiotics, and online learning environments.
List of Figures and Tables

1 Aha Moments … Revealing Hidden Messages
 1 Ancient Teaching Tools Echo through Time and Space
 2 The Invisible Message
 3 Seeing Signs
 4 The Invisible Part
 5 Seeing the Visible and Invisible
 6 Maybe High Tech Is Not High Touch
 7 Communicating through Cultures

2 Echoes of Ancient Teaching Tools: Text, Signs, Metaphors and Implications for Designing Instruction
 1 Seeing beyond Reading
 2 History Supports the Signs
 3 Twenty-First Century Signs and Symbols
 4 More about Semiotics: Semiotics Defijined
 5 Semiotic Tools: Text, Signs, and Metaphors
 6 Semiotics in Daily Life
 7 How Semiotics Afffects Technology
 8 How Semiotics Afffects Learning
 9 Rationale and Implications for Semiotic Instructional Design

3 Could You Just Draw Me a Picture?
 1 Picturing Thoughts
 2 Context Does Not Exist in Isolation
 3 Academic Excavation
 4 Getting the Picture
 5 Picturing Thoughts

4 Tell Me a Story: The Human Connection
 1 From the Cave to the Cyber Realm
 2 Returning to History
 3 Stories from Dreams
 4 Tell Me a Story
 5 Do Fairy Tales Come True?
 6 Still Dragons?
 7 Finding Common Ground
 8 Semiotics in Education
 9 Below the Surface
 10 In Plain Sight
 11 Back to the Human Connection

5 Signs, Symbols, & Systems: Attending to Signs in De-Signing Marketing and Instruction
 1 Signs Everywhere
 2 Marketing Turns to Stories and Cultural Coding
 3 Higher Education Turns to Marketing
 4 Post Matriculation: Sustaining Student Relationships
 5 Marketing Research: Implications for Online Learning
 6 Revealing Cultural Codes: The Greimas’s Semiotic Square

6 Deep Culture and Cybersemiotics
 1 Cultural Ethos and Virtual Contexts
 2 Disrupting Virtual Concepts and Contexts with a Bricolage Approach
 3 Culture-Forms in Training and Instruction
 4 The Invisible Elements of Seeing and Learning
 5 Technological Frames in Virtual Space
 6 Global Perspectives
 7 Back to the Future … Cybersemiotics and Cybersignals

7 Lessons from Gaming Gurus: Metaphoria and Testimonials
 1 What’s in a Game?
 2 Lessons from Gaming Gurus
 3 Educational, Professional and Serious Games
 4 Gamifijication and Storytelling
 5 Semiotic Factors Drive Online Gaming Cultures
 6 The Brain and Learning to Read the Signs in Games
 7 Gaming Is a Critical and Ubiquitous Part of Online Culture
 8 Getting the Picture: Games, the Internet, and Metaphoria
 9 Playing with the Past and Future

8 Breaking Down Academic Silos
 1 Introduction
 2 Thoughts and Signifijication
 3 From Enlightenment to Modernity: Sociology as an Academic Discipline
 4 Key Business Tools: Marketing and Advertising
 5 Education and Semiotics

9 The Global Village’s Message
 1 The World Is Flat for Designers
 2 De Saussure’s Semiology/Semiotics
 3 Structuralism
 4 Peirce’s Semiotics
 5 Do the ‘Twains’ Sometimes Meet?
 6 Disruption and Disruptive Technologies
 7 Semiotic Tools to Benefijit Disruptive Innovations and Technologies
 8 More Factors That Afffect and Are Afffected by Semiotics
 9 Where Is Semiotics Going?
 10 Summary Semiotic Thoughts

10 Formulating Semiotic Research: Agenda and Templates
 1 Semiotic Resources
 2 Words and Graphics First
 3 It All Starts with an Idea
 4 Context
 5 De-Signs and Rede-Signs
 6 Semiotic Interface Sign Design and Evaluation Framework
 7 Analysis of Instructional Design Tasks
 8 Instructional, Semiotic, and Systematic De-Signs
 9 Semiotic Web Design Guidelines
 10 Games
 11 Theme Parks and Games
 12 Templates for Models, Blueprints, and Prototypes
 13 Marketing – Again
 14 Greimas’s Square – Again
 15 Research and Marketing Semiotics
 16 Templates
 17 Creating Original Graphics

11 Lessons Learned from Reading the Signs: DeSigns and Vital Signs of Semiotics across Time, Space, and Academia
 1 Introduction
 2 Designing the Future
 3 Autopoietic Social Systems
 4 Semiospheres
 5 The Web as a Rhizome for Constructions and Convergences
 6 Picturing Better Design Interface
 7 More Semiotics? A Growing Variety
 8 Semiotics: The Powerful But Invisible and Undervalued Communications Lynchpin
 9 The Semiotic Past and Future

Glossary of Semiotic Terms
Educators working in international, cross-cultural, or multi-cultural education programs with special interest in multi-media/electronic training or formal learning environments in adult, postsecondary, or higher education.