Metaphors and online learning
The aim of this chapter is to highlight the role that metaphors and figurativelanguage may play in virtual learning environments that are based on writtencommunication. In these contexts they may satisfy cognitive, emotional andaffective needs of learning. Research results achieved so far show that metaphors,establishing meaningful analogies among different domains, may deeplyaffect conceptual reorganization and thus knowledge enhancement. Moreover,metaphors successfully support the expression of the affective domain and thebuilding of a common identity; at the same time they give concreteness andfamiliarity to the immateriality of the virtual spaces. By presenting results gatheredin two research studies here reported, the chapter focuses in particular onthe role that metaphors may play in supporting social presence and collaborativeknowledge building in online learning experiences.