An Entangled View of an Educational Activity

Abstract image of entangled leaves in red, orange, and black

This Open Educational Resource documents the evolution of a diagram illustrating the difference between an isolated focus on individual teaching sessions and an “entangled” focus that accounts for a more complex interplay of factors. ). Fawns’ (2022) “entangled pedagogy” highlights that methods and technology do not act in isolation of the values and purposes of teachers, learners, and others. Each element also shapes, and is shaped by, the context in which educational activity plays out (see also this entangled pedagogy OER). For this diagram, we use simulation in medical education as a case example for exploring entanglements with wider curricula, stakeholders and settings. The aim is to inform different elements of design, orchestration, planning, policy, resourcing, infrastructure, community-building, collaboration, evaluation, etc., so that a bigger, entangled picture is taken into account rather than only focusing on bounded sessions.

The initial purpose of the diagram was to inform a funded research project that explores simulation in Medical Education via an entangled pedagogy lens. However, we hope that it will also be applicable and useful for any form of educational activity in any discipline. Its evolution will be driven by open conversations on Twitter, presentations and elsewhere. Additional figures will be added to this resource as new versions are created.

Places to contribute to the conversation

Twitter thread re Figure 1:

Figure 1 (July 2022)

A diagram of a simulation session and how it fits with other activities in a medical education curriculum

Figure 1 shows the original version as submitted with our funding application to the Scottish Medical Education Research Consortium (SMERC). It was intended to show how a simulation session is entangled within wider medical curricula. In it, we try to capture the difference between an isolated focus (orange oval) centring on an individual session, and an entangled focus that accounts for a more complex interplay of factors (blue circle). Bi-directional arrows show the reciprocal shaping of the session with technology, educational methods, other teaching, multiple purposes and values, and contextual factors (such as accreditation, employers, time pressures and interdisciplinary work).


Fawns, T. An Entangled Pedagogy: Looking Beyond the Pedagogy—Technology Dichotomy. Postdigital Science and Education 4, 711–728 (2022).


Cite as: Fawns, T., Hislop, J., Oliver, N., & Somerville, S. (2022). An entangled view of an educational activity. OpenEd.

Header image: Cropped from Entanglement by Jason Samfield, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 on Flickr.