Visual metaphor?

In References on June 24, 2009 at 5:44 am

This paper was such an inspiring one for my future study: Visual metaphor. Need to investigate more. However, I thought I came across many websites that utilized the visual metaphor approach. Need to check them up again…



Falconer, L. (2008). Evaluating the use of metaphor in online learning environments. Interactive Learning Environments, 16, 117-129.



Navigating electronic environment can pose significant difficulties for some people who supper from cognitive disabilities.  In the case of online learning environments, this can result in exclusion from learning for certain groups where the environment does not accommodate their learning preferences. More specifically, the understanding of metaphor is severely impaired in individuals with certain cognitive disorders and also individuals with autism and with Asperger syndrome.


Difficulties in understanding figurative speech, shapes of meaning, facial gestures, and metaphor are significant symptoms of ASD and there is a marked tendency to take ideas literally. Individuals with ASD appear to have a tendency to concentrate on local details rather than global similarities and fail to integrate local and global levels of stimuli.


Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, and Clubley (2001) demonstrated that a significant proportion of adults with normal intelligence may have traits associated with the autistic spectrum and reinforced earlier studies that appear to associate autistic conditions with scientific skills.

So, it appears that autistic tendencies are not confined to those individuals with diagnosed with ASD. This is an important but under-recognized issue in the design of technology enhanced learning environments as autistic tendencies are not recognized as a “learning style.”


Currently most learning sites, and commercial and open source VLEs, offer some facility for customization of the interface but no opportunity for students to choose from a range of environments in which to study.


“My ideal educational environment would be one where the room had very little echo or reflective light, where the lighting was soft and glowing with upward projecting rather than downward projecting light. … it would be an environment where educator’s volume was soft, so that you had to choose to tune in rather than being bombarded. …there are many things that people with autism often seek to avoid: external control, disorder, chaos, noise, bright light, touch, involvement, being affected emotionally, being looked at or made to look. Unfortunately most educational environments are all about the very things that are the strongest sources of aversion. (Bogdashina, 2003)”


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