Accepted Paper:

Extended access to information: how the digital changes learning experiences  

Author:

Christian Ritter (Tallinn University)

Paper short abstract:

My paper addresses digital strategies to facilitate adult learning in the workplace. Drawing on ethnographic data, I suggest that the use of digital technologies enables greater access to information at the cost of impersonal communication.

Paper long abstract:

My paper addresses digital strategies to facilitate adult learning in the workplace. Drawing on ethnographic data, the aim of the case study is to examine the use of digital technologies enhancing learning experience. This paper provides much-needed insights into the relationship between the digital and the human, which has barely been explored in the context of adult learning. The digital, defined as a set of immaterial entities that can be reduced to or are developed by the binary code, has considerably shifted everyday life and ways of communication. The study is primarily based on a series of semi-structured interviews with employees from various companies in Ireland (Wengraf 2001). This material is complemented by observation records as well as online data provided through forums and online courses (Angrosino et al. 2003; Murphy 2008). Building on andragogical theories (e. g. Knowles et al. 2005), my study sheds light on how digital technologies have changed learning experiences and points towards opportunities for applied research in digital society. In doing so, I discuss the theoretical approaches of the new subdiscipline digital anthropology (e. g. Horst 2012) and make a case for applying such assets to facilitate the social changes prompted by the ubiquitous implementation of digital technologies. The main findings of this case study suggest that the learning experience of the employees under investigation was more satisfactory as previously because of greater access to relevant knowledge. However, discontent was also voiced due to impersonal feedback reports.

Panel P075
Working in the between: theoretical scholarship and applied practice