During the last eight years of his life the Canadian media theorist Marshal McLuhan worked on developing and validating four “Laws of Media” He argued that every new media Enhances through new affordances, Obsoletes through improvements in form, function and cost; Retrieves older patterns of behaviour and Reverses when over stressed into older, non functional patterns.
This work was published posthumously in text in 1988 as the Laws of Media: The New Science and covered in the 2002 NFB video McLuhan’s Wake. According to McLuhan these four immutable laws effect all media and understanding them helps us to fathom both the intended and the unintended, the positive and the negative aspects of every media. McLuhan was fond of challenging readers and audiences to think of a medi that did not demonstrate all four laws or to think of the 5th law or argue why they should be reduced to only three.
Dale Hunshler (2001) overviews Mclulan’s wider theories and notes how the web itself, illustrates the four laws of Media.
In this post I extend that work by very briefly applying McLuhan’s Laws to Personal Learning Environments (PLEs).