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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Biographical Note
Ruth Gannon-Cook, EdD (2003), University of Houston, is a Professor at DePaul University School for New Learning. She has published What Motivates Faculty to Teach in Distance Education? (University Press, 2009), and also book chapters and journal articles in instructional design and semiotics.

Kathryn Ley, PhD (1989), Florida State University, is an Associate Professor in the Instructional Design Program; Educational Leadership Department; Curriculum & Instruction Department; University of Houston – Clear Lake. She has published journal articles in instructional design and semiotics.
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.
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