Virtual Exploratories: Designing for Reflective Practices and Social Innovations in Activity Systems

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    Abstract

    This paper proposes the notion of activity-systems to denote a virtual frame of activity that requires mutually coordinated action. The underlying assumption is that such framings may support the informal learning and reflective practices of actors, and especially so, when they are provoking and challenging. It is suggested that the prevailing ‘traditions’ of collaborative learning and knowledge sharing need to be challenged and complemented, if we are to be able to support the variety and the diversity in the repertoires of virtual learning activities. In order to conceptualize such activity-systems, the paper introduces the designing strategy referred to as virtual exploratories. Some of the advanced virtual worlds may inspire the design of such provoking and challenging virtual exploratories, and especially the Massively Multi-User Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGS). However, if we have to learn from the design and activity of the advanced virtual worlds and role-playing games, then the empirical research on the actors’ activity, while they are acting, is an important precondition to it. A step towards the conception of such a designing strategy for virtual exploratories is currently pursued in an ongoing empirical research project ‘Actors and Avatars Communicating in Virtual Worlds’<!--[if !supportFootnotes]-->[1]<!--[endif]-->. This paper presents some of the preliminary findings that exemplify this ongoing empirical research and the methodological approach is briefly introduced, that is, the sense-making ontology and triangle (Dervin et al., 2003), the video-interaction analysis (Henderson & Jordan, 1994), and the method of videoviews (Jensen, 2001, 2005). Also the two analytical concepts ‘intermediaries’ and ‘mediators’ that come from the actor-network theory (Latour, 2005) are introduced.

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    <!--[if !supportFootnotes]-->[1]<!--[endif]--> The research project: Actors and Avatars Communicating in Virtual Worlds – an Empirical Analysis of Actors’ Sense-making Strategies When Based on a Communication Theoretical Approach’ (2006-2007) is supported by the Danish Research Council for Culture and Communication.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInformal Learning and Digital Media: Constructions, Contexts, Consequences
    Number of pages16
    Publication date2006
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventInformal Learning and Digital Media: Constructions, Contexts, Consequences - Southern University of Denmark, Odense, Denmark
    Duration: 20 Sep 200623 Sep 2006

    Conference

    ConferenceInformal Learning and Digital Media: Constructions, Contexts, Consequences
    Country/TerritoryDenmark
    CitySouthern University of Denmark, Odense
    Period20/09/200623/09/2006

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