Printer Friendly

Brain-based learning for accelerated online educational programs as a foundation for resistance of predatory practices on the "time-poor".

ABSTRACT. The notion that we all have the same amount of time, the same resources and responsibilities to manage our own time, and are free to make personal choices about how we use our time in pursuit of education are brought under scrutiny in this paper. Much of what is known about the learning process, how the brain works and time investment appears to be ignored in the digital, networked environment. Therefore, several components of how the brain works (the cerebral cortex and episodic and semantic memory) are presented as a foundation for rethinking and resisting neo-liberal constructions of time and the Educational Industrial Complex, that prey on the "time-poor." Technology based, online educational opportunities are typically consumption-based capitalistic enterprises that distort the perceptions of one's access to time and the dialectical relationship between knowledge, education, and human potential. This distortion is partially related to the disjunction of biological learning and socio-economic structures of online education aimed at the disadvantaged. The "politics of time" and the "time-poor" are discussed as constructs of global neoliberal capitalism. The Educational Industrial Complex, as a set of capitalbased enterprises that commodify learning, including accelerated online educational environments, is explored as predatory practices on the time-poor. Brain-based learning for accelerated online educational programs serves as a foundation and call for resistance and social change regarding predatory practices on the "time-poor." The conclusion supports the notion that the neoliberal practice of treating education as a commodity encourages predatory marketing to those that are time-poor as well as enticing over-commitment into educational structures that may not incorporate what is known regarding brain-based learning.

Keywords: brain-based learning; Educational Industrial Complex; time-poor; global neoliberal capitalism; politics of time; predatory practices

(1.) Introduction

"It's about Time." "We all have the same 24 hours." "Time is a precious resource."

The objective for this paper is to show how this notion of "time" is a political economic construct of contemporary global neoliberal capitalism. In particular, I identify three neoliberal, political perceptions of time that are at the root of inequality: 1) that we all have 24 hours in a day, 2) that the individual is responsible to manage one's time, and 3) that to make decisions on how to use one's own time is a matter of personal choice. These three perceptions of reality (having time, managing one's time, and personal choices regarding time), serve as an extension of global neoliberal capitalism where the perceptions regarding one's "time" are manipulated and become distorted. In this paper, I highlight the politics of time--in particular, I reveal the cultural manipulation of time as socially constructed in a manner that reproduces traditional "imperial individualism." I am using the term "imperial individualism" to refer to the neocolonial practice of imposing the ideology of individualism as a rationale or justification in the domination and control of others--both groups and individuals.

Within neoliberalism, "imperial individualism" is the constant focus to control the individual. Control over the individual is made possible through unconscious and insensible practices of defining reality. The poor, the working poor, the precariat, and workers in general, are socialised to be insensible (unconscious as well as conscious) to the ongoing and pervasive practice of imputing imperial individualism into the many aspects of social life (Standing, 2011), including a particular notion of "time" as a socially constructed idea. The result of this insensibility of imperial individualism leads many members of our global society to quietly accept the unfair distribution of resources--especially in the case of "time." In particular, the current distribution of opportunities to education and learning can be understood by examining the 'time poor' and the political nature of time.

The construction of learning in a technological age involves an online learning environment that is presented as a 24/7 accessible environment as if "time" is always available to individuals to engage in leaning activities. Crary (2013), in describing the 24/7 environment in late capitalism, acknowledges that the "24/7 environment has the semblance of a social world, but it is actually a non-social model of machinic performance and a suspension of living that does not disclose the human cost required to sustain its effectiveness" (9). In this sense, the "social construction of time" and "time as a resource" can be studied sociologically as a manipulated construct within the structure of global neoliberal capitalism.

In describing what is meant by global neoliberal capitalism, Saad-Filho and Johnston (2005) write the following: "Nevertheless, it is not difficult to recognise the beast [neoliberalism] when it trespasses into new territories, tramples upon the poor, undermines rights and entitlements, and defeats resistance, through a combination of domestic political, economic, legal, ideological and media

pressures, backed up by international blackmail and military force if necessary" (Saad-Filho & Johnston, 2005: 2).

Examining the role of "time" as a territory manipulated by a global neoliberal capitalist practice allows the understanding of time poverty as it impacts those who strive to change their lives through educational attainment and the process of learning.

Defining concepts such as "time" allows sociologists to observe the social world by using a common symbolic language under which assumptions can be apprehended, constructed, and measured. Thus, theoretical concepts serve as a working nomenclature. By working nomenclature, I am referring to the equivocal properties inherent in concepts. Meaning is an outcome of discursive processes subject to power and politics. Each socially defined concept, such as "learning" and "education," serves particular sets of knowledges and politics. "Time" is no different. Understanding how "time" is socially constructed, especially in terms of serving a set of knowledges and politics, allows for the identification of practices that need addressing to guide social change (discussion, resistance, and change).

Learning takes time and has been accomplished traditionally through social institutions. Much of what is known about the learning process (particularly how the brain works) and time investment is ignored in the digital, networked environment, and much of the knowledge on learning is no longer disseminated to those new to positions of teachings in the online environment. At the university level, learning is typically focused on the transmission of knowledge from knowers (professors) to learners (students). In the age of global neoliberal capitalism and networked technological devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops, have distorted the transmission of knowledge itself and is capitalised into a consumable product. Professors as "knowers" are subjected to a hidden agenda that situates them as mediators in this process where one develops capital for the educational system.

When constructs are identified, there is also a disservice to other knowledges, in what might not be identified. Argumentation, debate, data, and political combat are strategies used by all factions of sociologists to contest or uphold the constructed meaning of concepts even if they are flawed. When a particular concept like "time" is embraced in a certain manner, a particular picture is constructed and reified. One of the practices for sociologists is to examine all the possible reasons why a concept is defined in a certain way as opposed to another: to find out who benefits from such a perception of reality and who is harmed by the construction (Rose, 1997: 53-54). In this task, the notion of time is examined as political activity--"time" is understood and explored as territory subjected to traditional global neoliberal constructions of inequality and poverty--the politics of time. Specifically, this paper examines two main issues: the politics of time and the time-poor.

(2.) The Politics of Time

Knowledge regarding solar and lunar cycles and early technological devices such as the sundial and the clock are exemplary early forms of politically defining and organising "time." With this came the control of defining one's day on the basis of time: morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night. In the age of global neoliberal capitalism, technological devices such as the smartphone, tablets, and laptops have contributed further to the manipulation of time and not just reinforcing time as 24/7, but transforming and subjugating traditional activities such as work time, school time, leisure time, and discretionary time to the 24/7 model (Shippen, 2014; Cottrell, 2014; Crary, 2013; Julkunen, 1977). Understanding the 24/7 model of "time" as political is a way to understand how time is socially constructed, manipulated, and controlled.

Socially Constructed Time

The 24/7 model has probably always existed but under different names and constructions that were based in different industries from various epochs. For example, notions from the antique night watchman to the modern industrial era of "shiftwork" or "swing-shift" emphasise the importance of certain industrial operations as necessarily requiring continuous operations (Shiftwork, 2013). The industries that have been known to require continuous operations in the industrial era were based in the military, utilities, transportation, and healthcare (U.S. Congress, 1991). In terms of resources, many industries in the industrial era, such as steel production and coal mining involved complex machinery where turning machinery on and off was difficult, took time, and hence was considered "costly."

As communication and digital technology developed from asynchronous networked on-line communications to on-line synchronous, so did the adoption of the 24/7 model--from banking with ATMs and automated customer service lines that were information based, to the current model of distance education and learning (Batiz-Lazo, Karlsson, & Thodenius, 2014). One difference between the industrial era of continuous operations based on "shift work" and the digital era based on computer networks is that many services are no longer only on-line real-time networks, but also automated and digitalized with the 24/7 model. Thus, the notion that having a human worker available 24/7 is not necessarily the case. Having access to recorded information, computer generated information, or information posted on the internet servers, came to be constructed as part of the 24/7 model. The 24/7 model conflated accessibility of information with access to workers with knowledge and information so it is no longer required for workers to be available for shift work, the 24/7 work schedule, or to actually modify one's internal clock or biological circadian rhythm.

This construction of time as 24/7 is serving as a model for the education industry--learners are faced with the idea that learning can take place 24/7. The notion of accessibility of an online class is conflated with information through an educational website or online learning platform and actual access to a teacher or professor as a worker in the "knowing" industry. Such constructions of time are industry-based and constructed within the current era of global neoliberal capitalism. This occurs by collecting capital on the basis of potential time availability in the 24/7 model. In the education industry, capital is used to secure access to virtual products that could result in learning; where "knowing" is conflated with access to knowledge; and achieving an educational goal takes a significant amount of both capital and time availability. This is the basis of manipulating constructions of time availability.

Socially Manipulated Time

Access or availability to one's time is the most common type of socially manipulated time. To understand how time is socially manipulated in learning environments connected to the education industry, the focus of this section is on describing the following dimensions of time: wake time versus sleep time, discretionary time versus scheduled time, and work time versus free time.

Most people require a daily ration of approximately eight hours for sleep in a 24 cycle--this is one third of total time available. The 24/7 model rarely acknowledges that sleep is a necessary element of human functioning. It is no wonder when "sleep" is searched on the internet one can discover over 800 million links with 47 million of those links on "sleep disorders" and about 8 million links on "sleep deprivation" (these numbers were generated from a google search in October 2015). It seems that societal developments have disrupted our sleep patterns. Changes in paid employment, personalization of electronic communication and entertainment devices, the expansion of hours in which stores, gyms, and other facilities are open to the public, as well as the increase privatization of means of transportation may contribute to disruptions in access to sleep and sleep patterns. In unraveling the mystery of sleep duration dynamics, Michelson (2014) shows how common conceptions that people sleep less is not supported by "time-use" research. Michelson (2014) finds sleep time has not changed significantly over time. However, his research does find that "multitasking plausibly accounts for stress generally imputed primarily to sleeplessness" and that "both the amount and content of multi-tasking impact directly on feelings of time crunch" (Michelson, 2014).

This indicates a manipulation in the social construction of time availability and a direct result of unsettled feelings of stress related to the 24/7 model of time, which misrepresents the time one has available for different kinds of task. The typical person only has 16 of those hours in which to be active with work, travel, and maintenance such as bathing, dressing, eating, and cleaning. The 24/7 model is a global model to tap into potential new markets in different time zones but is manipulated by capitalists in marketing one's goods and/or services. The marketing tactics is to manipulate perceptions to represent that access on an individual level based on individual behavioral practices.

With new kinds of networked technology, information and knowledge industries attempt to further manipulate constructions of time to find more markets for their products. One example is online publishing where what is published on such sites as Twitter, YouTube, ifunny, Tumbler, Facebook, and a variety of online news apps, requires workers to consider working when the work is available. Professional workers in this industry are to consider manipulating information 24/7 in a "timely" manner to account for behavioral practices of customers using their apps (Cottrel, 2014).

Global patterns of information streams are activated instantaneously when something get posted that captures the global attention of users. Users then share and further distribute this information. Conceptual terms to describe practices in this industry are developed. For example, terms such as "going viral" or "trending" are two terms that have meaning in the distribution of media through social network sites. This indicates that some streams of information are quickly spread globally through multiple apps on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Timing and the manipulation of time is more than just a manipulation of consciousness, it is subjected to elements of control.

Socially Controlled Time

Constructing and manipulating time is part of a larger project of social control over time such as the traditional imperialist practices of colonialism. In virtual and digital environments, and in the information and knowledge industries, the control of time is similar to traditional practices of control and oppression. Jandric and Kuzmanic (2015) describe "digital postcolonialism" and identify the digital colonialists as "white, middle class, and male" who have "made even larger fortunes" than traditional colonialist--those who usurped lands, dominated and oppressed native peoples, and instituted cultural genocide. Colonialism contributed to an overall control of life patterns or a "rhythm of life."

The rhythm of life and total time available are aspects of what Julkunen (1977) referred to as "social time" where the significance of "time" as a category is recognized as having an impact on the "planned development of advanced societies." According to Julkunen (1977), "the rhythm of life in highly developed societies is based on an extreme, exact measurement of time, a precise timing of activities, and people's constant awareness of time. Measuring time and accounting for one's time is directly related to the structure of society and is planned to divide society into the haves who control their time with the have-nots where their time is controlled by others." Julkunen (1977) recognized the ideological element in which "(t)he masses were educated to appreciate time." In this sense, "time" is a commodity that results in large numbers of people experiencing "time poverty" or moving into the ranks of the "time poor."

(3.) Time Poor

Vickery was one of the first scholars to identify "time" as a resource that can play a significant role in understanding the distribution of resources. In her article, "The time-poor: A new look at poverty," Vickery (1977) she identified the distinction of difference in regards to time as a resource that disproportionately affected households based on the number adults in the household. Her emphasis was on the necessity of both time and money that was required for home production that contributed to the overall well-being of household members.

Kalenkoski, Hamrick, and Andrews (2011) examine "time poverty" thresholds in the US population and found that the time burden is not correlate with income. In regards to time poverty, Kalenkoski et al. (2011) define "time poor" as individuals "that do not have enough discretionary time to engage in leisure, educational, and other activities that improve well-being" (130). They use research that describes the lack of discretionary time to participate in "customary leisure activities" as resulting in a form of social exclusion. In this description, social exclusion of the poor because of lack of resources includes not only lack of financial resources, but resources such as time.

In the online educational environment, not having time to get online results in social exclusion. Not having time to listen to online lectures, to watch a film that is linked, or not having time to participate in a threaded discussion alienates a student in the online classroom. Additionally, not having time to participate results in missed opportunities to learn and gain knowledge as well as in potentially failing a class resulting in the financial loss of having paid for a class that one has no time to actually participate.

There are a number of social groups that suffer from time poverty. Employed individuals engaged in childrearing, working parents, are like to suffer from various aspects of deprivation in terms of time poverty (Harvey and Mukhopadhyay, 2007). The amount of deprivation that exists increases with adding in other forms of so called "discretionary activities" related to the information and knowledge industries such as increasing one's education or professional development outside of the employment setting. Keeping up-to-date on one's profession, new technologies, and changing or shifting educational requirements (such as certifications, licensing, or professional development credit) are activities to further divide the workforce. Additionally, these activities are many times situated outside of employment and encroach into one's discretionary time (Sullivan and Gershuny, 2004).

Folbre (2009) examined time use and living standards by focusing on subjective and objective measures of living standards. Objective measures of "hours of leisure" is distinguished from subjective measures of what makes up "leisure." The variation in measures of quality leisure time differs significantly in the literature (Folbre, 2009). For example, the interconnected nature of one's time dedicated to household production and other non-market labor is difficult to separate out when attempting to define a standard of living that includes leisure time. Free time, discretionary time, and leisure time are not standardized conceptions included in measures of poverty.

Spinnery and Millward (2010) illustrate the "multidimensional nature of poverty" from a "public health and social policy perspective. They focus on income and "time wealth" and look at subjective assessments of stress and perceived barriers to participating in regular physical activity. Once again, time poverty was found to be more of a barrier to activities that improve health and well-being rather than income poverty (Spinnery and Millward, 2010).

Notions of "time" and nonmarket labor linked to household well-being are examined in the research in terms of inequality, standards of living, and poverty. For example, Cantillion (2013) examined the difference of living standards of spouses within a single households living in Ireland. Her focus was on methodological importance of including non-monetary indicators such as possession and access to certain goods and services as well as control and management of household resources. Although her study does not include indicators of free time, leisure time, or discretionary time, acknowledging the importance of non-monetary indicators as related to living standards is significant and creates a pathway to examine time poverty.

Handa (1998) examined female-headed households in Jamaica and the consumption of leisure as a measure of time poverty. Although in general, Jamaican female heads of households do experience more poverty than their male counterparts, Handa's (1998) study compared time poverty of female-head of households with male heads of households and did not find any significant difference. This seems consistent with Kalenkoski et al. (2010) study where they found not significant correlation between household income and discretionary time or time poverty.

It seems logical that both men and women living at the lower end of the economic scale suffer from similar levels of time poverty; it is at higher levels of the economic scale where distinctions in time poverty are identified. However, Chatzitheochari and Arber (2012) examine British workers and find significant inequalities in the distribution of time poverty on the basis of class and gender. The role of "time" as a territory manipulated by a global neoliberal capitalist practice as it impacts those who strive to change their lives through educational attainment and the process of learning intersects with issues of class and gender. Chatzitheochari and Arber (2012) examine various configurations of time poverty separating out time spend on weekdays and weekend days. They found that working women in their study "experience multiple and more severe free time constraints, which may constitute an additional barrier for their leisure and social participation."

Chatzitheochari and Arber (2012) acknowledge a number of classical and contemporary theorists that "conceptualized free time as an indicator of societal progress and freedom, a 'primary good', and a key element for the functioning of civil society and individual well-being." Additionally, they mention the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as recognizing "everyone's right to rest and leisure." The "time famine thesis" and the "relative deprivation of free time resources" is examined along with the changes in the economic structure that resulted in "acute diversity in the timing of paid work among British workers, and to a corresponding erosion of the 'standard' Monday--Friday, 9-5 working week." Changes in work is the impact to free time in rest and leisure is well document in their study. They focus on "shift work" that was discussed earlier, the inclusion of "evening/weekend work" and "flexible work," and the inclusion of the work lives of "educated and high-income workers in dual-earning families that are most likely to be 'leisure stricken" in today's post-industrial societies."

While the control of time was the hallmark of the industrial era, it seems that time poverty is a condition of a digital, networked era. In the information and knowledge industries of the postmodern era, time poverty is prevalent across the spectrums of class and gender. With this presentation and review of the literature on the "politics of time" and the "time-poor" as constructs of global neoliberal capitalism (Sullivan and Gershuny, 2004), the path is open to explore the role that the online education plays in manipulating and distorting the perceptions of one's access to time. In this sense, it seems prudent to focus on technology based, online educational opportunities that are typically consumption-based capitalistic enterprises. In the postmodern era, this is referred to as the Educational Industrial Complex (Giroux, 2014), which commodifies learning, including accelerated online educational environments that prey on the time-poor from various economic sectors.

(4.) The Dialectics of the Educational Industrial Complex

The Educational Industrial Complex is the set of social institutions that encompass all market relations pertaining to learning, teaching, and certifying knowers (Giroux, 2014). The neoliberal emphasis on market efficiency and accountability has moved into public life and civic institutions, especially public education (Aguirre and Simmers, 2012) and educational institutions in general including proprietary and state online education. The Educational Industrial Complex is a set of capital based enterprises that commodifies learning through various means including accelerated online educational environments that prey on the time-poor from various economic sectors. Technology based (online) educational opportunities are typically consumption-based capitalistic enterprises that distort the dialectical relationships among knowledge, education, and human potential through the Educational Industrial Complex.

Technological inventions related to global instantaneous communications and the sharing of information via the internet have been defined as a disruptive technology (Rose, 2012) that provides opportunities to rethink distance education (Rose and Hibsman, 2014) and inequity based on education attainment (Rose, 2015). Additionally, this disruption in the educational structure has created a means in which the terrain of online education, knowing, and information has been subjected to an explosion within the global neoliberal capitalism and insertion of the for-profit business model into public values of education.

The disruption of education is driven not just by new technologies, but by what has been called the "consumer need pull" (Jones, 2006). The consumer pull in education is the desire by students to want and seek out online opportunities for education as well as the "acceptance" to teach in the online terrain by teachers and faculty. The power of the Educational Industrial Complex is evident in the means in which online teaching moved to forefront of higher education by exploiting precariously employed PhDs.

Standing's (2011; 2014) description of the precarious class is easily applied to the high level of PhDs who are under-employed in precarious faculty positions (non-tenure-track, adjunct positions, or at-will full-time positions). In a Marxian sense, state and proprietary universities have moved away from relying on a tenured faculty and participate in the exploitation and manipulation of a disposable, "reserve army" or "surplus labor power" of faculty in the accumulation of capital (Marx, 1987) under the guise of fulfilling the online teaching needs (Standing and Jandric, 2015).

The dialectical relationships that are developed between students, teachers, online technology, business models, capital accumulation and exploitation, and the 24/7 model of global neoliberal capitalism is best understood using Jandric and Kuzmanic's (2015) exploration of digital postcolonialism. Their work, emphasizing "the relationships between information and communication technologies and the society" and their description of the networked society as "a battlefield of various world-views, cultures, interests, and social forces" (48) gets to the heart of what is meant by the dialectical relationships of the Educational Industrial Complex. In learning environments, one of the many elements that gets sidelined is the knowledge and science about what we know regarding how humans learn that is based on neural science of the brain and psychology on learning and memory.

(5.) Basic Components of Brain-Based Learning

The movement to incorporate "brain-based learning" began as a buzz phrase in the educational industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s with books like Jensen's Teaching with the brain in mind (1998/2005) and Zull's The art of changing the brain: Enriching teaching by exploring the biology of learning (2002). Neural science and the knowledge about the brain changed significantly in the 1990s both with new imaging technology and new technological tools to map the brain. Discoveries regarding the understanding of the brain entered several fields of study beyond science.

In particular, the two fields of study influenced by the mapping of the brain were cognitive psychology and teacher education. The focus on the brain in learning environments had been commodified to incorporate what we know about how the brain processes information and knowledge and how understanding this process can increase learning. Pedagogies that focused on multiple intelligence and active learning strategies emerged and had been based on knowledge regarding the structures of the brain (the cerebral cortex) and how memories are formed and manipulated in the brain (episodic and semantic memory).

When the online teaching movement took higher education by storm, much of the brain-based movement in learning was not only ignored, much of the knowledge was no longer disseminated to those new to positions of teaching in the online environment. A veiled separation seems to have been put into place. Neural science and knowledge regarding brain functioning structures was relegated to fields in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and well-funded research areas in the university while fields heavy in teaching or regional schools, colleges, and universities were defunded and utilized as a kind of "cash cow" to fund STEM fields.

In this sense, the basic knowledge of brain structures as knowledge that is necessary for instructors engaged in online teaching and learning was severed from the practice of online education. Instructors in precarious faculty appointments were given little flexibility in the delivery of courses at proprietary universities. State universities, struggling with a means to impute quality controls on online courses, utilize the precarious appointed faculty to usurp a market share currently cornered by proprietary universities--both entities preying on the disadvantaged and the time poor. Upper-level and lower-level administrators faced the quest for quick revenue outlets and resorted to preying on the reserve labor force of MA and PhD holding workers (the academic precariat) and the time poor seeking an education to improve their economic situation. Treating online education as capital generating element of the industry meant sideling basic knowledge of how learning happens for humans.

Placing the basic knowledge that is well established in neuroscience and psychology at the forefront of contesting the Educational Industrial Complex is essential. In this sense, it is important to remind readers on the general educational knowledge--the "common sense" knowledge of how the brain works in terms of learning and memory. The elements of the cerebral cortex and the focus on the role of the four lobes sensory input, plasticity (the adaptation of the brain), and the coding of sensory input into memory are significant processes in learning. It is important to be mindful of the components of memory, particularly the distinction of semantic and episodic memory. Lastly, connecting this knowledge of the brain with brain-based learning links what we know about the brain with learning in the online setting. Specifically, the goal is to focus on how this knowledge can be used in accelerated online educational programs as a foundation for resistance to the current predatory practices on the "time poor."

(6.) The Cerebral Cortex

The most basic debate in neuroscience and the field of education is the link between the mind and the brain (Zull, 2002). Pedagogies many times take a political stance to focus on either what physically happens in the brain to enhance learning or what happens in the mind to manipulate knowledge and understanding. Eccles (1990) describes the functioning of the cerebral cortex and the issue of the "mind-brain" interaction in a different manner. He describes part of this interaction in terms of outer sense, inner sense, and the psyche. The outer sense includes senses such as light, color, sound, smell, taste, pain, touch, and perception; the inner sense includes thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams, imaginings, intentions, and attentions; the psyche includes the self, the soul, and will.

This construction of the cerebral cortex is similar to the mapping of the brain into four different lobes that specialized in the processing of sensory information: frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. The frontal lobe being responsible for much of our motor skills including movement required for speech; the parietal lobe is responsible touch sensation; the occipital lobe is responsible for sight; and the temporal lobe is responsible for hearing. Sur and Rubenstein (2005) describe the interconnectedness of the various parts of the cerebral cortex involved in sensation, movement, and cognition (thinking). Both Sur and Rubenstein (2005) and Eccles (1990) work emphasize the inter-connections of the different parts of the cerebral cortex and the ability of the brain to adapt to changes in input.

To describe this adaptation, Eccles (1990) uses the knowledge of quantum physics while Sur and Rubenstein (2005) use the language of patterning and plasticity. All information that enters the cerebral cortex is typically coded in memory. Historically, memory was described in terms of short-term memory (STM), working memory (WM) and long-term memory (LTM) (Baddeley, 2001). Computer models of memory, such as RAM (Random Access Memory) and storage memory is utilized as a model in the understanding of human memory. In particular, LTM was divided into declarative memory (or explicit memory) and non-declarative memory (or implicit memory) (Baddeley, 2001). Declarative memory was further distinguished into two forms of memory: semantic memory and episodic memory (Tulving, 1993). The theory of episodic and semantic memory focuses on the elements of function.

Semantic Memory

According to Tulving (1993), "Semantic memory registers and stores knowledge about the world in the broadest sense and makes it available for retrieval." Information that is stored in semantic memory allows individuals to think about things that are not currently present. The process of "representation" is used to think about those things that are not currently in ones senses. Semantic memory is a critical part of one's knowledge base that can be manipulated to understand other similar knowledges.

Episodic Memory

The experience of recalling a past event and "reliving" that experience is the basis of episodic memory (Tulving, 1993). Ezzyat and Davachi (2011) conducted a number of experiments to examine the role that narrative readings might have in creating episodes that would be stored in episodic memory. They found that there were some strategies of "event-activity" that enhanced long term memory. Of particular significance was the binding of episodes to other episodes as a form of integrating information.

Eichenbaum and Fortin (2003) found sequencing of events was very significant in creating episodic memories. Additionally, Conway (2001) examined the context of autobiographical memory in sensory-perceptual episodic memory. Conway (2001) concluded that by connecting episodic memories with working memory and long term memory could be used in consciously formed memories. These findings can be utilized in regards to the structures of education and perhaps incorporated into the online educational environment.

(7.) Brain-based Learning

The knowledge of brain-based learning influenced teaching strategies by encouraging a variety of pedagogies that focused on active learning. Active learning strategies include multiple aspects of brain functions from motor skills, hearing, speaking, to cognitive processing. Most importantly in regard to learning is the aspect of memory--short term memory (STM) as well as long-term-memory (LTM). STM includes sensory knowledge that one is actively thinking about and using but lost once it is no longer active; LTM is includes knowledge that is stored and can be recalled at a later time usually at will.

If multiple parts of the brain were actively engaged in the processing of knowledge, then that helped move knowledge from STM to LTM. Within LTM, episodic memory would then influence semantic memory enhancing the link with processing and thinking about new knowledge.

Brain-based learning is the process of utilizing what we know about the sense of self or the psyche (the mind), about how we learn and process information, and about the imposition of neoliberal capitalism into educational. Treating education as a commodity encourages marketing to those that are, in fact, time-poor and utilizes past episodic memories of school and schooling to encourage engagement into educational structures that do not necessarily incorporate what is commonly known about how the brain works in learning. Misrepresentation of time creates situations where one signs up for online 24/7 educational experiences but has little time to actually engage in online activities to learn material--unable to activate semantic or episodic memory structures into the learning process.

The expansion of online learning university courses, open-courses, or massive-open-online-courses, has exploded onto the learning environment. Yet, significant investigation on the outcomes of online learning as compared with onsite learning is limited with conflicting results (McDonough, Palmerio Roberts, and Hummel, 2014). While hundreds of thousands of people intend to take a free online class from some of the top universities, very few actually complete these classes (Reich, 2014).

Varao-Sousa and Kingstone (2015) investigated whether memory and mind wandering differ between a traditional classroom and a classroom where the lecture is presented via pre-recorded video. They found that "memory performance was significantly higher in the live session compared to the Video session" (8). This suggested to them "that the acquisition and retention of the lecture information benefitted from having the lecture delivered by a professor who was physically present in the classroom" (8). The knowledge and science about what we know regarding how humans learn that is based on neural science of the brain, as well as knowledge from fields such as psychology (such as learning and memory) and sociology (such as social interaction) is ignored when Global Neoliberal Capitalism and Hegemonic consumption patterns take precedence in the educational institutions.

(8.) Global Neoliberal Capitalism and Hegemonic Consumption Patterns

Exploring the link between brain-based learning, time poverty, and the global neoliberal capitalist nature of the Educational Industrial Complex can be accomplished by examining traditional time analysis studies and hegemonic consumption patterns. Large data bases show how people spend their time, and allow the identification of time consumption patterns and education attainment.

Education is many times thought of as form of "social entrepreneurship." Bloom (2009) states that "social entrepreneurship involves pursuing highly innovative approaches to addressing social problems and doing so in an opportunistic, persistent, and accountable manner." Freidman (2013) in describing the "budding revolution in global online higher education" states "nothing has more potential to lift more people out of poverty--by providing them an affordable education to get a job or improve in the job they have." In this sense, education is viewed as a panacea to lift one's self out of poverty (Cuban and Jandric, 2015)

Unfortunately, many state universities are charged with alleviating the shortage of state funding for educational institutions (especially marginalized regional institutions, universities, and learning centers) by utilizing the online delivery system to prey on both academic precariat (non-tenured, precariat faculty) and time-poor students. While funding has been cut, the practice of seeking to enhance profit or streamline budgets has not worked to limit high administrative salaries. The online environment has been used in a very opportunistic and "anti-socially conscious entrepreneurship" manner consistent with global neoliberal capitalism. While education is believed by many to be the means in which to alleviate poverty, many educational institutions are playing a major part in the perpetuation of poverty by a half-hearted committed to engaging the time poor in online venues for educational advancement. The covert manner in which consumer marketing practices influences hegemonic consumption patterns serves as a means to allure the time poor into seeking a college degree or advanced college degrees when one, in fact, may have little time to devote to one's studies due to family and employment obligations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in their American Time Use Survey (2014), identifies where employed persons age 25 to 50 with children typically spend their time. It is found that the typical working parent has very little unaccounted time (1.7 hours a day). A full-time university/college student spends very little time on educational activities on a daily basis (3.3 hours a day). Time spent for the college students on leisure and sports is approximately four hours with another 2.4 hours spent on "other" activities and an average of 2.5 hours in employment. The data shows that most individuals, whether full-time college students or working parents, have very little down time to truly push one's brain and work on own education.

In glamorizing the impact of massive open online courses (MOOCs), Friedman (2013) states "Nothing has more potential to unlock a billion more brains to solve the world's biggest problems." While no one can argue regarding such potential, the fact is that there is a lot of profit in many non-profit MOOC enterprises that seems just as exploitive as selling poorly constructed "knock-offs" in a back ally.

(9.) Call to Action: Resistance and Social Change

There is potential for accelerated, online educational programs to be an agent of change and bring about realistic opportunities to the disadvantaged and the time-poor. Bjork and Kroll (2015) found that conditions of learning that pose challenges to the learner (i.e., difficulties in the learning process) actually served to help learning and memory in terms of retention and transfer of knowledge. The online classroom and online work should include challenges that require thoughtful engagement and challenge learners. The online classroom should include elements of real-time, online interaction beyond merely watching a pre-recorded video or reading a text, watching a 10 minute video, and then taking a 4 point multiple choice quiz until one achieves 100% accuracy. Unengaging, busy-work practices can often be found in "canned" courses or self-paced, mechanically structured coursework. Just as brain-based learning activities encourage small classrooms with engaging instructors or professors, the online environment can be reimagined. This paper is a call to fund on-line real-time instruction with a small manageable number of students and accountabilities to the time investments that result in real learning with meaningful social interaction.

Advocates for the time-poor should encourage realistic time-management strategies in the scheduling of online courses. Precarious faculty needs to move into the folds of secure employment that allow for both flexibility in course design as well as accountability beyond merely "quality-matters," rote-type measures. Where can one find these advocates? It can start with those within the educational structures. The Educational Industrial Complex is embedded in global neoliberal capitalism. The practice of treating education as a commodity is twofold. First, it encourages predatory marketing practices to those that are in fact time-poor. Second, it uses past episodic memories of school and schooling to encourage engagement into educational structures.

These practices do not necessarily incorporate what is commonly known about how the brain works in learning. Social action by students and faculty as well as social entrepreneurship is needed. A first step is to bring awareness of the predatory marketing practices aimed at the time-poor. The second step is to seek out guidelines and policies to limit such practices. The third step is to use what we know about neuroscience of the brain, what we know about psychology of memory and learning, and what we know about sociology of meaningful social interaction with teachers, professors, and students. At minimum, we should be mindful of the work of Giroux (2007; 2013; 2014) and take heed by socially constructing our online schools, our virtual classrooms, and the social interactions with teachers as a public good.

Dividing our youth into those that are classically educated and those that have suspect online education is detrimental. Deconstructing a neoliberal capitalist enterprise is difficult, but not impossible. Just as many seek corporate responsibility (Rose, 2013), all of us need to seek social responsibility from the Educational Industrial Complex. Such a task is difficult, if not impossible especially in light of the growing precariat groups within the educational industry. Giroux argues that seeking such responsibility is a contradiction in its own right--McLaren would go further and say that this is impossible. This is the starting point of McLaren's revolutionary critical pedagogy--the idea that you cannot expect this from the Educational Industrial complex, and therefore need to disrupt it on a much more fundamental level (McLaren and Jandric, 2015).

(10.) Conclusion

The notion of "time" is a political economic construct of contemporary global neoliberal capitalism. Understood and explored as territory subjected to traditional global neoliberal constructions of inequality and poverty, the politics of time and the time-poor is interrogated on the basis of several basic components of brain-based learning. It is concluded that the basis for rethinking and resisting neo-liberal constructions of time and the Educational Industrial Complex that prey on the "time-poor" members of our society is to revisit established, scientific knowledge about the human brain and brain-based learning. This is especially important in our digital, networked era whereby accelerated online educational programs take advantage of those with little or no free time.

The three neoliberal, political perceptions of time (that we all have 24 hours in a day; that the individual is responsible to manage one's time; and that to make use-value of one's time is a matter of personal choice) are ideological manifestations manipulated as hard set realities rather than socially constructed realities. In this construction of reality (having time, managing one's time, and personal choices regarding time), the perceptions regarding one's "time" are manipulated and distorted. Additionally, this paper clearly highlights the politics of time--in particular, it reveals the cultural manipulation of time as socially constructed in a manner that reproduces traditional "imperial individualism."

When online teaching and the mass explosion of online educational opportunities disrupted higher education, much of the well-established scientific knowledge regarding brain-based learning and memory is rarely disseminated to those new to positions of teaching in the online environment. This research clearly establishes the importance of focusing on how the brain works and brain-based learning for accelerated online educational programs as a foundation and call for resistance and social change regarding predatory practices on the "Time-Poor." The conclusion supports the notion that the neoliberal practice of treating education as a commodity is twofold: First, it encourages predatory marketing practices to those that are in fact time-poor. Second, it uses past episodic memories of school and schooling to encourage (manipulate) engagement into educational structures that do not necessarily incorporate what is commonly known about how the brain works in learning.


Aguirre, Jr., A., & Simmers, J. K. (2012). The DREAM Act and neoliberal practice: Retrofitting Hispanic immigrant youth in U.S. society. Social Justice, 38(3), 3-16.

Baddeley, A. (2001). The concept of episodic memory. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 356(1413): 1345-1350.

Batiz-Lazo, B., Karlsson, T., & Thodenius, B. (2014). The origins of the cashless society: Cash dispensers, direct to account payments and the development of on-line real-time networks, c. 1965-1985. Essays in Economic & Business History, 32, 100-137.

Bjork, R. A., & Kroll, J. F. (2015). Desirable difficulties in vocabulary learning. The American Journal of Psychology, 128(2): 241-252.

Bloom, P. N. (2009). Overcoming consumption constraints through social entrepreneurship. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 28(1), 128-134.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014). Time use on an average work day for employed persons ages 25 to 54 with children.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014). Time use on an average work day for full-time university and college student.

Cantillion, S. (2013). Measuring differences in living standards within households. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75, 598-610. DOI:10.1111/jomf.12023.

Chatzitheochari, S., & Arber, S. (2012). Class, gender and time poverty: A time-use analysis of British workers' free time resources. The British Journal of Sociology, 63(3),

451-471. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2012.01419.x. Conway, M. A. (2001). Sensory-perceptual episodic memory and its context: Autobiographical memory. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 356(1413), 1375-1384.

Cottrell, C. (2014). From real-time to any time: lessons in 24/7 marketing. The Guardian, 24 October 2014. Accessed from on 31 October 2015.

Crary, J. (2013). 24/7: Late capitalism and the ends of sleep. Brooklyn, NY: Verso.

Cuban, L., & Jandric, P. (2015). The dubious promise of educational technologies: Historical patterns and future challenges. E-Learning and Digital Media, 12(3/4), 425-439.

Eccles, J. (1990). A unitary hypothesis of mind--Brain interaction in the cerebral cortex. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 240(1299), 433-451.

Eichenbaum, H., & Fortin, N. (2003). Episodic memory and the hippocampus: It's about time. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12(2), 53-57.

Ezzyat, Y., & Davachi, L. (2011). What constitutes an episode in episodic memory? Psychological Sciences, 22(2), 243-252. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610393742.

Folbre, N. (2009). Time use and living standards. Social Indicators Research, 93(1), 77-83.

Friedman, T. L. (2013). Revolution hits the universities. The New York Times, Jan 26,

Giroux, H. A. (2014). Neoliberalism's war on higher education. Chicago, IL: Haymaket Books.

Giroux, H. A. (2013), America's education deficit and the war on youth: Reform beyond electoral politics. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.

Giroux, H. A. (2007). The university in chains: Confronting the military-industrial-academic complex. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Handa, S. (1998). Are female-headed households time poor? Evidence from Jamaica. Social and Economic Studies, 47(4), 1-27.

Harvey, A. S., & Mukhopadhyay, A. K. (2007). When twenty-four hours is not enough: Time poverty of working parents. Social Indicators Research, 82(1), 57-77.

Harvey, O. J. (1963). Motivation and social interaction. New York, NY: Ronald Press.

Jandric, P., & Kuzmanic, A. (2015). Digital postcolonialism. IADIS International Journal on WWW/Internet, 13(2): 34-51.

Jensen, E. (1998/2005). Teaching with the brain in mind. 2nd edn. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Jones, T. (2006). Paradigms lost. RSA Journal, 153(5525), 28-31.

Julkunen, R. (1977). A contribution to the categories of social time the economy of time. Acta Sociologica, 20(1): 5-24.

Kalenkoski, C. M., Hamrick, K. S., & Andrews, M. (2011). Time poverty thresholds and rates for the US population. Social Indicators Research, 104(1): 129-155.

Marx, K. (1987). Capital: Vol. 1. A critical analysis of capitalist production. Unabridged. Edited by Frederick Engles. Translated from the third German edition by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. New York: International Publishers.

McDonough, C., Palmerio Roberts, R., & Hummel, J. (2014). Online learning: Outcomes and satisfaction among underprepared students in an upper-level psychology course. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 17(3).

McLaren, P., & Jandric, P. (2015). The critical challenge of networked learning: Using information technologies in the service of humanities. In P. Jandric and D. Boras (Eds.), Critical Learning in Digital Networks (pp. 199-226). New York: Springer.

Reich, J. (2014). MOOC completion and retention in the context of student intent. EDUCAUSE Review Online, December 8.

Rose, L. (2015). Subversive epistemologies in constructing time and space in virtual environments: The project of an emancipatory pedagogy. In P. Jandric and D. Boras (Eds.), Critical Learning in Digital Networks (pp. 179-197). New York: Springer.

Rose, L. (2014). Lurking, spying, and policing: Practical strategies to enhancing engagement and collaboration in virtual group work. Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio Journal, vol. 20.

Rose, L. (2013). Political diffusion and delusion of Corporate Social Responsibility: Institutionalizing contradiction and contention in developing an emergent global morality.

Rose, L. (2012). Social networks, online technologies, and virtual learning: (Re)structured oppression and hierarchies in academia. In N. Ekekwe and N. Islam (Eds.), Disruptive technologies, innovation, and global redesign: Emerging implications (pp. 276-279). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Rose, L. (1997). The social construction of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Ph. D. diss., Purdue University.

Saad-Filho, A., & Johnston, D. (2005). Neoliberalism: A critical reader. Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press.

Shiftwork. (2013). How long have people been working shiftwork? Aviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors, 3(2): 107-110. DOI: 10.1027/2192-0923/a000047

Shippen, N. M. (2014). Decolonizing Time: Work, Leisure, and Freedom. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillian.

Standing, G. (2014). Tertiary time: The precariat's dilemma. Public Culture, 25(1), 5-23. DOI: 10.1215/08992363-1890432

Standing, G. (2011). The precariat: The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsbury. DOI:10.5040/9781849664554.

Standing, G., & Jandric, P. (2015). Precariat, education, and technologies: Towards a global class identity. Policy Futures in Education, 13(8), 990-994. DOI: 10.1177/14782103 15580206.

Sullivan, O., & Gershuny, J. (2004). Inconspicuous consumption: Work-rich, time-poor in the liberal market economy. Journal of Consumer Culture, 4(1): 79-100. DOI: 10.1177/1469540504040905.

Sur, M., & Rubenstein, J.L.R. (2005). Patterning and plasticity of the cerebral cortex. Science, 310(5749), 805-810.

Tulving, E. (1993). What is episodic memory? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2(3), 67-70.

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1991). Biological rhythms: Implications for the worker, OTA-BA-463. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Varao-Sousa T. L., & Kingstone, A. (2015). Memory for lectures: How lecture format impacts the learning experience. PLoS ONE, 10(11), e0141587. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0141587

Vickery, C. (1977). The time-poor: A new look at poverty. The Journal of Human Resources, 12(1), 27-48.

Zull, J. E. (2002). The art of changing the brain: Enriching teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.


Kent State University, USA
COPYRIGHT 2017 Addleton Academic Publishers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Rose, Lydia
Publication:Knowledge Cultures
Date:Mar 1, 2017
Previous Article:Assembly lines or assemblages: What the human equation can teach us about creativity and a modern education system in the digital age.
Next Article:The changing child.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters