Postmodernism As The Dominant Of Education Development In The Information Society


To analyze the role and prospects of education in the information society, the presented paper shows a conceptual analysis of trends that have a significant impact on the society development in the era of postmodernism, on education, which, having a socio-cultural conditionality, traditionally reflects the development of all those processes in society that actively affect culture as a systemic set of different forms of its manifestation. Talking about the prospects of Russian education one should take into account the powerful traditions of the Russian school, the basis laid in the Soviet pedagogy. Yet, often responding to the "challenges of time" pedagogy and education theory fail to provide comprehensive answers to the current problems arising "here and now", the solution of which allows us to move forward. Education in any country and in Russia as well, includes, on the one hand, the translation of culture, that is, of its existing "sides, aspects, facets, abilities and properties", and, on the other hand, the process of appearance and preparation of its future state, since it is in the educational processes of today where the foundations for existence and activity in the future are laid. The key characteristics of postmodernism are refracted through the prism of educational processes.

Keywords: Postmodernismeducationinformation societyrhizome


Questions about what education should be like in the rapidly changing modern world are asked not only by teachers and education representatives, but also by public figures, entrepreneurs, culture representatives - all those who care about the future of society. Defining the information society as a stage in the human civilization development, where work with information — its reproduction, storage and use with the help of information computer technologies, networks, databases — is not just an area of production, but a part of the daily life of every modern man, we can conclude that there is a radical change in the role of a teacher as a translator of knowledge and a recognized authority in the subject area.

Problem Statement

The transition to the information society causes fundamentally new socio-cultural conditions in which traditional education is not in line with the "spirit of the time". In this situation, an adequate response to the existing conditions is the use of postmodernism philosophy in education as "a new attitude to thought and meanings, a new method of understanding the world and a new attitude to it".

Research Questions

The study of the postmodernism philosophy influence on the educational systems in the United States, Russia and other countries in the information society.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to identify the impact of postmodernism key trends on the education development in the information society.

Research Methods

Logical and system analysis, theoretical analysis, historical and comparative analysis of secondary education in Russia and the United States, the selection of sources, the study and analysis of literature, conceptual analysis, synthesis, systematization and classification of information, the formulation of conclusions and their testing at scientific conferences.


To determine the characteristics of education in the modern information society one should identify the main trends:

the abundance of information and its availability to the user without significant time and material costs — currently there is a variety of educational portals, digital libraries with access to unique sources, virtual museums, platforms for creating educational modules, accessible blogs and video lectures by reputable scientists. There is an opportunity to join an open online training on issues of interest, thus creating unique opportunities for high-quality and affordable education at any age and anywhere in the world where there is access to the world information network;

scientific and technological progress and the abundance of information, which is getting updated or outdated on a daily basis, actualizes the problem of continuous professional development and preservation of professional competence. Attempts to discuss "life-long education" in the 70-ies of 20th century led to the statement of the need for "education throughout life" in the 21st century. The absolute value of information is relevant for all professional fields;

education for all — the availability of educational information has virtually erased the traditional age-based educational qualification, where education was considered to be the exclusive domain of children and young people. "Corporate universities" are created at large enterprises and corporations, HR-services are engaged in supporting the competitive level of the organization employees;

global information infrastructure, significant amounts of information and its presentation in various formats, creates an almost infinite number of trajectories of its (information) obtaining and embedding in one’s own individual informational- educational continuum

In the main provisions of the Report of the International Commission on education for the twenty-first century (2007, p.13), “Learning: The Treasure Within”, Delors (2007) notes that the coming century will be dominated by global processes that generate sustainable contradictions that will need to be overcome — contradictions between global and local, universal and individual, traditions and modernity, perspective and immediate tasks, competition and equality of opportunities, unlimited expansion of knowledge and limited opportunities of the person to assimilate it, contradictions between spiritual and material.

Thus, the typical problems of postmodern society are stated, moreover, education as a part of society is a response to "a new attitude to thought and meanings, a new method of understanding the world and a new attitude to it"— deconstruction, negativism, refusal from ideals and the impossibility of a holistic understanding of what is happening, openness, lack of rigid hierarchies, of asymmetric opposition pairs, etc. Considering the influence of postmodern thinking on the modern theory and practice of education, Edwards and Usher (2006) concentrate particularly upon how postmodernist ideas challenge existing concepts, structures and hierarchies.

In education, the trends of postmodernism are reflected in such phenomena as rhizomatic learning built on the principle of network learning, which includes constant construction, a plurality of subjects of interaction, replacing the traditional category of "structure" for the structural and nonlinear way of organizing the educational space, leaving the opportunity for immanent mobility (Cormier, 2008). Taking into account this principle of interaction allows us to see education as a complex dynamic process, the purpose of which is to indicate the path of knowledge to the student, to form an interdisciplinary vision of the world, but not to fill his/her mind with specific knowledge and skills and the associated plurality of connectivity choice and heterogeneity of parts implies the existence of an extensive variable academic program, individual curricula and the creation of individual educational trajectories. So in the educational organizations of the region, on the basis of the comparative analysis, the following tendencies were revealed :profiling of high school (creation of physical and mathematical, chemical and mathematical, economic, humanitarian and other classes related or not related to the profile of the organization); individualization of education (in addition to choosing the level of training: basic, advanced or specialized there is a choice of elective courses and optional classes in economics, psychology, programming, computer graphics, robotics, etc.); vocational orientation: MOE classes (Municipal Educational Institution (MEI) secondary school №7, Volgograd, MEI secondary school № 19, Volzhskiy town), cadet classes (lyceum № 9, Volgograd, MEI secondary school №93 in the city of Volgograd, MEI secondary school № 101, Volgograd, etc.), educational classes (Novonikolaevskyi region, Ilovlinskiy region, Volgograd oblast, etc).

Decentralization in education manifests itself as self-government, active inclusion of additional subjects: parents and public organizations, business communities, cultural objects into the educational process (Ivanova & Bokova, 2017). Not only state, but also private educational organizations work in this direction. Thus, Private Educational Institution secondary school "Generation" (Volgograd) with the financial support of "LUKOIL" PJSC implemented the project "DIGITAL club for the elderly people "Pension 2.0". This project was created to help pensioners and representatives of the older generation to master the computer. As it was noted above, children grow up with gadgets, acquire knowledge in the field of information technology early enough, respectively, they master computer literacy naturally and quickly, and, accordingly, they are ready to teach, explain, and show the principle to the older generation.

Discreteness. This concept means discontinuous separation of structure. Discreteness also supports decentration, connectivity, multiplicity, and consistency. This feature also shows the general connectedness of all the previously mentioned features, the "branching" of the rhizome, even in the way of its structural organization. It reflects the post-modernism key focus on the destruction of preset, objective, hierarchic structures. In this sense, the teacher should not follow the pre-established forms of lessons preparation, as formality objectifies the learning process, turning it into a kind of pre-set, frozen structure. In this regard, foreign researchers identify formal and non - formal education, where formal education is a hierarchically structured, chronologically differentiated "system of education", based on primary education, which continues at school and university and, in addition to general academic education, includes various specialized programs and educational institutions for full-time technical and vocational training. Non-formal education is the process by which everyone acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from everyday experience and the educational influence of the environment — family and neighbors, work, library and media. Non-formal education: any organized educational activity outside the established formal system (Farmahini, Mirzamohamadi, & Noroozi, 2014). According to the European Commission, the share of non-formal education will increase. The school should be the centre of the community where the interaction between formal and non-formal education takes place. This means the end to the traditional formal education system, and this process will be successful if modern technologies are used. The school should be an open institution, and most of its pedagogical and didactic forms should be changed, while interaction should replace cooperation (Cerny, 2015).

However, learning is a game and language process, to a certain extent, spontaneous, but created and controlled by the teacher, who not only educates and gives knowledge, but also learns him/herself at the same time. It should be noted that the inclusion into the information educational space takes place from an early age and teachers need to take this fact into account. The answer is the creation of information communities, educational platforms even for the youngest students. Some experience has been gained in the Romanian educational system, where successful programs have been established to create a coherent system that can lead to the formation of key competencies in preschool children to ensure a successful start at school and to create a lifelong learning style.

This included the creation of an informational and learning e-community as an opportunity for teachers to develop new professional competencies to use the system of digital resources and services available to children, share best practices, and improve cooperation between kindergartens, schools, and families through joint educational programs (Ciolan, Petrescu, Radulescu, & Bucur, 2014).

The use of digital technologies takes place in various subject areas both directly related to digital technologies and indirectly related: fine arts, where there is a problem of "digital perception" (Dufva & Dufva, 2019), foreign languages, in the study of which there is a possibility of deeper immersion into the language environment (Akyuz & Yavuz, 2015).

The approach to education as to a rhizomatic phenomenon, which parts are non-linearly connected, interdependent, and constantly flow into each other, creates a flexible but stable learning system. This rhizomorphism has qualitatively changed the approach to education, in which each part (subjects, financing, family, etc.) takes not only an active part in the formation of the whole system, but also carries out deconstruction, i.e., "deterritorization" of the educational environment, making it more multifaceted, multifunctional, free, able to independently integrate new opportunities and new subjects. The inclusion of more and more new parts into the education process (for example, the attraction of additional funding) allows to continuously expand the education system, making it contextual, creating conditions for building a rizomorphic, dynamically changing space capable of restructuring, as well as of constant changes.

Traditionally, Russian schools existed as separate educational institutions, the uniting role in which was played by higher district or city methodical associations of teachers in the profile or district educational committees. With the development of digital technologies and the introduction of a new generation of state educational standards in the secondary school, new forms of interaction appeared — network interaction and the creation of resource centers. The resource center is a general educational institution that concentrates and creates informational, technical, software, personnel, methodological and other resources for the qualitative implementation of educational programs both within its educational institution and for the provision of pedagogical assistance to other general educational institutions, accompanied by current trends in the development of modern education, while network interaction of educational institutions is joint activity of the educational institutions entering into a network and providing students with an opportunity to master the main and additional programs using several (two and more) educational institutions resources. So, in the Volgograd region, according to the results of monitoring conducted at the end of the 2016/2017 academic year, 32 educational organizations of the Volgograd region are included in the implementation of the event. Among them there are schools identified as functioning in unfavorable social conditions and schools consistently showing good results. Teaching staff of these schools are combined into network pairs to work together in the new school year. The work will be held in the format of mentoring, face-to-face and remote networking.

Cartography is that the rhizome does not fit into any structural model. Rhizome is a map that cannot be displayed without awareness of close contact with reality. Any new rhizome, every new branch is not organized under the old scheme, samples and templates. In the educational process, cartography means that the educational route can be changed at any stage. Any task can be performed in any alternative form (essay, poem, drawing, project).

Event-driven design. Reality is an open, deterritorized space of many different artifacts. This reality is inhabited by subjects who have their own vision of reality, their own goals and aspirations. Understanding the learning process as a constructed process means that students themselves create knowledge for themselves, that is, each student individually (but in society) constructs meaning. The teacher takes the task of constructing meaning, providing a choice in the methods and technologies of training, taking into account the real needs and demands of the student. Presenting the existence of man in modern society as an event, there is a problem of building relationships between the real and virtual world. The process of education throughout life, characteristic of the information society also sets a certain vector of development. The world in which we live is going through an era of digital revolution that will transform everything, and maintaining these changes is important for any economy.

Internet, globalization trend, new ways of working and interacting pose new challenges. Researchers emphasize the importance of computer literacy and the challenge of updating the educational process to meet the expectations of a growing and ever-changing digital environment. Using data from Eurostat, the World Bank, there is a reliable analysis of digital competencies level and their impact on the labor market, emphasizing the role of digital education in modern society (Ţiţan, Burciu, Manea, & Ardelean, 2014).

Anti-binarism in the educational environment translates a poly-variant model of knowledge that is continuously constructed in the course of interaction, which creates a fairly dynamic learning environment. The teacher and the student are equal in a single learning process, jointly creating a space of interaction. A student in such an environment cannot be an object for the teacher, he becomes an equal subject of narrative interaction, carrying out the process of cognition together with the teacher, and the teacher becomes a moderator, mediator, facilitator, who creates conditions for the successful acquisition of new knowledge, its interpretation and assimilation (Bokova, 2018).

Subjectivity in the educational process in post-non-classical thinking is represented by the process, the relationship between the subjects, that is, inter-subjectivity. In this sense, it is not the end result that is important in the educational environment, but the process itself. The teacher should have the ability to find an individual approach to different students, have an idea of individualization and humanization of education associated with the postmodern era. The consequence of individualization and humanization processes in education is the cultivation of the environment, which includes many subjects that make differences and at the same time function as a whole according to the "unity in diversity" principle, which correlates with the ideas of postmodernism (Bokova, 2017).

The information society is based on the type of relations based on the idea of a free personality-individuality. On the one hand, knowledge and information become the main social resource, on the other hand, the share of knowledge that one person is able to master decreases. The volume of information increases significantly, and this volume comes into conflict with traditional methods and forms of education (Gryakalov, Romanenko, & Strelchenko, 2007). Currently, it is much more difficult to predict the success and prospects of information and experience ("you’ll need it in life!"), professions and modes of action. The centuries-old desire for encyclopaedism as the ideal of education in these conditions is often groundless and superficial. The expansion of the information space leads to specialization and fundamentalization. Understanding the contradictions between the demand for a mandatory level of learning (state standards) and awareness of individual development leads to the formation of progressive alternative educational structures. The technologies of teacher training are also being rethought — representatives of “millennials” generation with a developed "digital culture" who grew up in a different cultural paradigm than their teachers come to pedagogical universities (Ayale-Pérez & Joo-Nagata, 2019).


The philosophy of post-modernism to be included in the education — deconstruction of the existing structure — inevitably leads to a crisis in education. Today hypertext, hyperreality, simulacra blur the boundaries of reality, virtual communication and the virtual world replace reality. The question is natural: what about the goals, meanings and values of education? How shall we answer the child's eternal question — "what is good and what is bad?". We talk about the abundance of information, but do not take into account its vector, direction, meaning — why? Why to learn to count if there is a calculator, why to study the biography of the writer, if there is Wikipedia, why to remember the meaning of words, if to understand foreign languages, there are online translators? And in this situation the appeal to a sustainable meaning, or the traditional definitions and connotations don't work. In other words, we need some basis, support for the preservation of this fragile structure — education in the information society. In this case, the most important fundamental aspect is spirituality. As noted by Valitskaya (2008): this, in fact, is the main and new task of the modern school: the formation of the individual spirit on the ways of development (appropriation, "germination") of the spiritual experience of Russian and world culture, which represents the sphere of the objective spirit. Thus, education is the process of a subjective spirit formation in the context of the values of world and national culture, and on this path only we can talk about the uniqueness of Russian education, its worthy place in the world educational space. These ideas, priorities and directions of education development should be the basis of the educational paradigm in which education is the area of life, the sphere where cognitive needs can arise, develop and be realized, its needs for communication on the basis of universal values, in search of life meanings, understanding of oneself and others. Therefore, it is necessary to turn to the direction of such an approach in education, which will restore the dominant awareness of personal meaning in education, the idea of the individual need for self-realization and self-actualization uniting the priority of human values, through the revival of axiological (value) guidelines, the spiritual side of personality development.


The research was supported by RFBR (theme “Postmodernism as the dominant of the development of education systems in the USA and Russia, project No. 19-013-00815).


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30 September 2019

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Bokova*, T. N., & Malakhova, V. G. (2019). Postmodernism As The Dominant Of Education Development In The Information Society. In S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 173-180). Future Academy.