Activity centred analysis and design in the evolution of learning networks

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A talk at the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning at Lancaster University in the UK (May 2016).

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of, and rationale for, an approach to analysing complex learning networks. The approach involves a strong commitment to providing knowledge which is useful for design and it gives a prime place to the activity of those involved in networked learning. Hence the framework that we are offering is known as “Activity Centred Analysis and Design” or ACAD for short. We have used the ACAD framework in the analysis of 20 or so learning networks. These networks have varied in purpose, scale and complexity and the experience we have gained in trying to understand how these networks function has helped us improve the ACAD framework. This paper shares some of the outcomes of that experience and describes some significant new refinements to how we understand the framework. While the framework is able to deal with a very wide range of learning situations, in this paper we look more closely at some issues which are of particular importance in networked learning. For example, we discuss the distributed nature of design in networked learning – acknowledging the fact that learning networks are almost invariably co-configured by everyone who participates in them, and that this aspect of participation is often explicitly valued and encouraged. We see participation in (re)design as a challenging activity: one that benefits from some structured methods and ways of representing and unpicking the tangles of tasks, activities, tools, places and people

Here’s a pdf of the paper, which is also freely available online as part of the conference proceedings. Cite as: Goodyear, P., & Carvalho, L. (2016). Activity centred analysis and design in the evolution of learning networks. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning, Edited by: Cranmer S, Dohn NB, de Laat M, Ryberg T & Sime, JA. Pp218-225. (ISBN 978-1-86220-324-2) http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/abstracts/pdf/P16.pdf

And a copy of the slides, though not all were used in the presentation.

 

Roberto presents our Design studio paper at CHI

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May 2016: Roberto Martinez-Maldonado presented our work at the CHI conference in San Jose.

Abstract: There is a steadily growing interest in the design of spaces in which multiple interactive surfaces are present and, in turn, in understanding their role in group activity. However, authentic activities in these multi-surface spaces can be complex. Groups commonly use digital and non-digital artefacts, tools and resources, in varied ways depending on their specific social and epistemic goals. Thus, designing for collaboration in such spaces can be very challenging. Importantly, there is still a lack of agreement on how to approach the analysis of groups’ experiences in these heterogeneous spaces. This paper presents an actionable approach that aims to address the complexity of understanding multi-user multi-surface systems. We provide a structure for applying different analytical tools in terms of four closely related dimensions of user activity: the setting, the tasks, the people and the runtime co-configuration. The applicability of our approach is illustrated with six types of analysis of group activity in a multi-surface design studio.

Further information and video on the CHAI website.

QUT HERN Symposium 17 November 2015

I’m really looking forward to being back in Brisbane for a few days – giving a keynote on networked learning at the HERN Symposium: Future Higher Education Research for Future Learning

Slides are here.

The abstract:

In this talk, I will use some of our recent research on networked learning and learning networks to illustrate an approach to researching complex learning situations – an approach which gains power and focus from a commitment to informing real-world design activity. This commitment to serving the needs of (re)design provides a valuable source of constraints on what counts as useful knowledge. In the case of learning networks, periodic redesign can be undertaken by small teams entrusted with the role, or it may be distributed more broadly across many or all involved in the network. Either way, there is a need for methods of analyzing and representing how the network functions, such that those participating in the evolution of the network can co-ordinate their activities.

Some suggestions for follow up reading:

Books on networked learning

Carvalho, L., & Goodyear, P. (Eds.). (2014). The architecture of productive learning networks. New York: Routledge.

Carvalho, L., Goodyear, P., & de Laat, M. (Eds.). (2016). Place-based spaces for networked learning. New York: Routledge.

Jandric, P., & Boras, D. (2015). Critical learning in digital networks. Dordrecht: Springer.

Jones, C. R. (2015). Networked Learning: An educational paradigm for the age of digital networks. Dordrecht: Springer.

Design for learning in HE

Ellis, R., & Goodyear, P. (2010). Students’ experiences of e-learning in higher education: the ecology of sustainable innovation. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Goodyear, P. (2015). Teaching as design. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 2.

Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a design science: building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. Abingdon: Routledge.

Background on socio-material; grounded, embodied & distributed cognition

Clark, A. (2003). Natural-born cyborgs: minds, technologies, and the future of human intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clark, A. (2008). Supersizing the mind: embodiment, action, and cognitive extension. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2010). Actor network theory in education. London: Routledge.

Fenwick, T., & Nerland, M. (Eds.). (2014). Reconceptualising professional learning: sociomateral knowledges, practices and responsibilities. London: Routledge.

Fenwick, T., Edwards, R., & Sawchuk, P. (2011). Emerging approaches to educational research: tracing the sociomaterial. Abingdon: Routledge.

Gatt, C., & Ingold, T. (2013). From description to correspondence: Anthropology in real time. In W. Gunn, T. Otto, & R. Smith (Eds.), Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice (pp. 139-158). London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Hodder, I. (2012). Entangled: an archaeology of the relationships between humans and things. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press.

Hutchins, E. (2010). Cognitive ecology. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2, 705-715.

Ingold, T. (2000). The perception of the environment: essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill. Abingdon: Routledge.

Ingold, T. (2011). Being alive: essays on movement, knowledge and description. Abingdon: Routledge.

Ingold, T. (2012). Toward an Ecology of Materials. Annual Review of Anthropology, 41, 427-442.

Ingold, T. (2013). Making: anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. Abingdon: Routledge.

Knappett, C. (2011). Networks of objects, meshworks of things. In T. Ingold (Ed.), Redrawing Anthropology: Materials, Movements, Lines (pp. 45-63): Ashgate.

Knappett, C. (Ed.) (2013). Network analysis in Archaeology: new approaches to regional interaction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Malafouris, L. (2013). How things shape the mind: a theory of material engagement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Malafouris, L., & Renfrew, C. (Eds.). (2010). The cognitive life of things: recasting the boundaries of the mind. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological ResearchUniversity of Cambridge.

Markauskaite, L., & Goodyear, P. (forthcoming, 2016). Epistemic fluency and professional education: innovation, knowledgeable action and actionable knowledge. Dordrecht: Springer.