Genre theory

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1 Definition of genre

“ A genre is a patterning of communication created by a combination of the individual (cognitive), social, and technical forces implicit in a recurring communicative situation. A genre structures communication by creating shared expectations about the form and content of the interaction, thus easing the burden of production and interpretation.

  • the communicative goals it supports
  • its conventions (of both form and content)
  • the underlying situation (in both its technical and social guises) in which the genre is employed
  • the relationship between the underlying situation and the genre's conventions
  • the discourse community of those who enact the genre

2 Genre theory in instructional design

“ Genre theory also supposes that communicative conventions are not arbitrary, but rather arise in response to various technical and social forces which are implicit in the communicative situation. This perspective is particularly valuable for system design, in that the designer has considerable control over the technical underpinnings of on-line communication, and thus has partial control over the nature of the genre and its conventions.” (Erickson 1999)

The regularity of form and content that define different genres can be used the design of digital media and the formalization of design patterns.

See genres in writing-to-learn, Computer-supported argumentation