The emergence of participatory learning: authenticity, serendipity and creative playfulness

Honeychurch, Sarah Loveday (2021) The emergence of participatory learning: authenticity, serendipity and creative playfulness. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis is my reflection about my experiences of researching a participatory culture. It began as a traditional research project into peer learning, evolved into a type of participatory research, and has ended up going beyond that as I found myself writing myself into the story and including autoethnographical elements in the final version. The subject of this research is an open, online community called CLMOOC (Connected Learning Massive Open Online
Collaboration), which I have belonged to for the last six years, and my focus is to investigate how learning can occur in a participatory culture such as CLMOOC and how, it its turn, a vibrant learning community can emerge from a summer CPD course and become a self-sustaining entity.

I use the literature about connected learning, constructionism and participatory cultures in order to understand the theoretical framework that CLMOOC is built on, and use socio-cultural models of Community of Practice (CoP) and affinity spaces in order to understand its structure. Ultimately, I reject both of these as being problematic, though I conclude that the construct of an affinity space is in many ways a better fit. I consider the design of the original MOOC by looking at the literature from the original designers and show how their clever design overcomes many of the issues with other open learning spaces (such as MOOCs) and how the structures they put in place allow a tightly-connected participatory culture to emerge and thrive.

I use a variety of methods in order to investigate CLMOOC. Social Network Analysis helps me to analyse the tight-knit community and thematic analyses highlight the beliefs and values that members share. As my thesis is that CLMOOC is a culture of participatory learning, I also set out a series of vignettes to ascertain what the practices are in CLMOOC, and to see how they align with the beliefs and values of the community. I conclude that CLMOOC is, indeed, a
participatory culture based on the principles of connected learning, and its practices can be understood as being remix and bricolage. I close by presenting a series of reflective questions for educators who are interested in developing meaningful learning experiences for students in higher education, and offering some tentative suggestions for implementation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Patrick, Dr. Fiona
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82365
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2021 13:25
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2021 13:29
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82365
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82365

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