Monika Rohe-Al Torman

Lunchtime Seminar

IT design as a vanishing and foregrounding performance: from immersive to open virtual learning environment
Tuesday, 27. June 2017 - 12:00 to 13:00, Leo 18

Speaker: Dr. Edouard Pignot


What are the manoeuvres through which designers seek to address opposition and rally strategic actors? We draw on an ethnographic work conducted within a start-up where we have traced the design of a 3D virtual learning environment, using game technologies, intended for geologists. In analysing the data, we identify four episodes in the design of a virtual learning environment: imagining the software; mapping ideologies; designing affordances; and enacting the infrastructure. Crucially, the paper contributes to the discussion of how and why occupational groups – developers and their clients – compete over the control of the narrative and the overall logic of the software. Our main finding is to identify performative design as a tension between vanishing and foregrounding narratives. While the programmers’ worldview of gamification needs to vanish, geologists foreground their own views on pedagogy. We found that the crucial power struggle here is to determine who is in the position of being the fun-provider, whether this is the programmer (logic of immersion) or the geologists (logic of openness).


Dr. Edouard Pignot is Assistant Professor in Information and Organization at Münster University, Germany. After studying Literature at Paris Sorbonne University, Management at EM Lyon Business School and Social Psychology at The London School of Economics and Political Science, he obtained a PhD from The University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. He has been Visiting Scholar at Stern School of Business, New York University. His research is broadly concerned with the relationship between information technologies and social and organizational change. He is specifically interested in the design, acceptance and diffusion of computer games and blockchain technologies.