Networked Learning: Designing for adult literacy learners

Main Article Content

Ana Pinto


This paper reports on analysis of an online learning network catering for adult basic education. It introduces some key concepts from research on networked learning, as well as two complementary approaches that are useful to support and inform analysis and design of technology-enhanced environments. One approach is informed by ideas about the design of learning environments in which pedagogies are combined with complex technological arrangements. The other approach shows how ideas from urban and architectural design, particularly the work by Christopher Alexander on design patterns and pattern languages, can be used to support design for learning. Part of the argument for combining these two perspectives is that, in trying to manage the complex possibilities of new network technologies, pedagogical and humanistic ideals are easily damaged, forgotten or lost. The analytic work involves some methodological innovation, partly because of the data sources involved. It uses interviews as well as screenshots of web pages, other online artefacts and data logs; these sources allow the researcher to look ‘beyond the screen’ to reconstruct the deeper architecture of what has been created for, and by, the participants in the network. The preliminary outcomes show how connections can be drawn between some of the key qualities of what has been designed alongside the various configurations of things, places, tasks, activities, and people influencing learning. Eventually, what is learned from a case study is discussed with the aim of informing design of similar learning networks.

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Author Biography

Ana Pinto, University of Sydney

Ana is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on the design of networked learning environments in the context of adult literacy education. Ana˙s research interests also include lifelong learning, digital inclusion, and social justice. Her academic background encompasses literacy education, pedagogy, educational psychology, and information technology. Currently, she is part of a team working on the project ‘Learning, technology and design: architectures for productive networked learning’.