IEC's mission is to conduct research into the implications and potential impact of technology on the organisation and provision of education, focusing in particular on higher education, and to facilitate the application of the results of this research.
Our approach is founded on the discipline of cybernetics, the "science of organisation" (Beer, 1982) which can be applied to build models of the education system at multiple levels - political, institutional, social, pedagogic and personal – which can then help with the exploration of different technological interventions.
Since its establishment as an interdisciplinary field of study, cybernetics has been given a number of definitions, most notably:
The science of communication and control in animal and machine
The science of effective organisation
...whereas previous sciences dealt with matter and energy, the new science of cybernetics focuses on form and pattern
A way of looking at things and a language for expressing what one sees
The science and art of understanding
Why Educational Cybernetics?
Organisation and communication are the key subjects for cybernetic inquiry. Cybernetics is also concerned with perspective and understanding, and is founded on a constructivist view of the world. The increasing interest in the use of internet technologies in education, both in supporting learning directly and in the regulatory processes of institutions, invites the application of models and insights from cybernetics to help develop a better understanding and therefore improved education design at all levels of the system.