Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs
Edited By Giasemi Vavoula, Norbert Pachler and Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
Part II Frameworks
4. In the Workplace: Learning as Articulation Work, and Doing Articulation Work to Understand Learning Phillip Kent Overview This chapter offers an account of a methodological approach to understand- ing and developing learning that has been successfully used in a research project on mathematical skills in workplaces. The approach makes use of the concept of articulation work, which is concerned with the processes of coordination and integration by which different social worlds intersect and negotiations take place between them, and the role of “symbolic boundary objects” as mediators for negotiation. Suggestions on the relevance of articu- lation work for research on informal and mobile learning are made. 1. Introduction: Articulation work This chapter describes using the concept of articulation work in the devel- opment of a methodological framework that was part of a project which investigated mathematical skills in workplaces, and developed novel forms of learning interventions to support employees in developing new skills. The concept of articulation work was developed by the sociologist Anselm Strauss (1993), to account for the under-valued and often “invis- ible” forms of work (particularly, for him, the work of women at home and at work) which are nevertheless critical to the completion of tasks in everyday life, or in workplaces (see also Livingstone, this volume). Suchman 62 Phillip Kent (1996) presents the striking example of a legal office in which the attorneys (almost all male) regarded the work of their (almost all female) “document coding” support staff (that is, doing the preparation of the...
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