Research Methods for Informal Learning: Giasemi Vavoula

Giasemi Vavoula
 Norbert began with the welcome and usual housekeeping. Coffee isn’t until about 10:30!! Probably quite a good idea as it breaks up the morning, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Giasemi then stands up to is introduce the themes of the conference. She is talking about the challenges in capturing and understanding the context of mobile infomal learning. Certainly a real challenge. She has now displayed a table which highlights the different characteristics of the traditional formal classroom settings compared to informal learning settings, from a researcher’s perspective. From left to right, you get increasing vagueness.
 This vagueness has implications on the methodological frameworks we use and on our research design. In the fixed situation, you may be able to log computer use, make audio recordings, take notes. However it is much more difficult to document learning in an informal and mobile setting.
She talks about the diary method and puts up a slide of the types of info collected, i.e. context of learning, social context etc. Slide was up and down in seconds so I missed bits. I guess she must be under pressure of time. The conclusion was that quite a number of participants didn’t use the diary at all, those that did many only documented between 1 and 3 instances. However this highlighted a problem of terminology. Most informal learners do not necessarily identify learning projects as such.
  Agnes is now introducing the keynote speakers. Mike Sharples is the only one who is here in person. Livingstone and Mizu Ito are using video link.

About Gill

Having worked as a Research Fellow with the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, I have now semi-retired but retained my association with the OU as an Honorary Associate.
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