Epimethean information systems: harnessing the power of the collective in e-learning

Jon Dron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the educational uses of self-organised web-based environments that are defined as Epimethean Information Systems. Epimethean Information Systems are not designed in the conventional sense, but take their shape in response to the actions of the people that use them. They share a range of characteristics, including implicit communication between users, emergent structure, and self-organisation. The fact that structure in such systems arises out of a dialogic process means that they are potentially ideal vehicles for e-learning, combining high and low transactional distance (a measurement of the relative degree of structure and dialogue in an educational transaction) in a single environment as well as shaping themselves to the needs of a specific community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-404
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Information Technology and Management (IJITM)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • e-learning, emergence, evolution, self-organisation, transactional distance, stigmergy, recommender system, CMC, web-based environments, internet, epimethean information systems, implicit communication, deferred systems


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