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Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts

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Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts
Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear
Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation

Presented at the Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” @ CSU, Sydney 13-14 April, 2016

Abstract

Professional learning and assessment in higher education often involve production of various artefacts, such as lesson plans and reflections in teaching, assessment reports and case studies in counselling, drawings and portfolios in architecture. What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning? How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces?
 
In this presentation we report on our research in which we combine socio-cultural “mediation” (Kaptelinin, 2005), socio-material “objectual practice” (Knorr Cetina, 2001) and extended ecological cognition perspectives (Ingold, 2012; Knappett, 2010) to investigate the nature of learning activities in the overlapping spaces of the university and the workplace. Specifically, we investigate the nature of the artefacts that students create as a part of assessment tasks during their preparation for professional practice.
 
Initially, we argue that learning in university settings and doing in workplaces are two distinct kinds of objectual practices that are inherently directed towards different kinds of objects. We unpack the nature of these two kinds of objectual practices by distinguishing between object as motive and object as material entity. Specifically, We show that university learning orients itself towards abstract forms of knowledge that can travel across diverse workplace contexts and situations, while workplace practices orient themselves towards production of concrete situated solutions of specific professional problems.
 
Then, we look at the nature of activities and artefacts produced by students during preparation for work placements in the overlapping space of the university and the workplace., what kinds of epistemic experiences these artefacts afford and what their relationships with professional knowledge and knowing practices are. We show that these artefact-oriented activities, and the artefacts produced, often connect, rather than separate, abstract knowledge and objects of professional practice with embodied skill through concrete, materially expressed, actions and things . This entangled epistemic nature of professional learning artefacts allows bridging not only learning and work, but also learning and innovation. To make this argument we distinguish between different kinds of epistemic artefacts that students create – showing the ways in which they elucidate, preserve, transfer, fine-tune, mediate and advance upon professional knowledge and skills.
 

Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts
Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear
Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation

Presented at the Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” @ CSU, Sydney 13-14 April, 2016

Abstract

Professional learning and assessment in higher education often involve production of various artefacts, such as lesson plans and reflections in teaching, assessment reports and case studies in counselling, drawings and portfolios in architecture. What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning? How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces?
 
In this presentation we report on our research in which we combine socio-cultural “mediation” (Kaptelinin, 2005), socio-material “objectual practice” (Knorr Cetina, 2001) and extended ecological cognition perspectives (Ingold, 2012; Knappett, 2010) to investigate the nature of learning activities in the overlapping spaces of the university and the workplace. Specifically, we investigate the nature of the artefacts that students create as a part of assessment tasks during their preparation for professional practice.
 
Initially, we argue that learning in university settings and doing in workplaces are two distinct kinds of objectual practices that are inherently directed towards different kinds of objects. We unpack the nature of these two kinds of objectual practices by distinguishing between object as motive and object as material entity. Specifically, We show that university learning orients itself towards abstract forms of knowledge that can travel across diverse workplace contexts and situations, while workplace practices orient themselves towards production of concrete situated solutions of specific professional problems.
 
Then, we look at the nature of activities and artefacts produced by students during preparation for work placements in the overlapping space of the university and the workplace., what kinds of epistemic experiences these artefacts afford and what their relationships with professional knowledge and knowing practices are. We show that these artefact-oriented activities, and the artefacts produced, often connect, rather than separate, abstract knowledge and objects of professional practice with embodied skill through concrete, materially expressed, actions and things . This entangled epistemic nature of professional learning artefacts allows bridging not only learning and work, but also learning and innovation. To make this argument we distinguish between different kinds of epistemic artefacts that students create – showing the ways in which they elucidate, preserve, transfer, fine-tune, mediate and advance upon professional knowledge and skills.
 

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Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts

  1. 1. The University of Sydney Page 1 Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” @ CSU, Sydney 13-14 April, 2016
  2. 2. The University of Sydney Page 2 Expected publication:28 May, 2016 Context: Epistemic fluency Grounded (and extended) view of cognition Professional expertise is inseparable from capacities to (co-)construct epistemic environments that enhance knowledgeable actions. Such expertise is grounded in embodied, situated professional knowledge work. Much of this work is done by (co-) creating epistemic artefacts that embody actionable knowledge.
  3. 3. The University of Sydney Page 3 Learning trough making epistemic artefacts Questions: 1. What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning? 2. How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces? Focus: Assessment tasks and artefacts in courses that prepare for professional practice
  4. 4. The University of Sydney Page 4 Theoretical perspectives 1. Socio-cultural “mediation” (Kaptelinin, 2005) 2. Socio-material “objectual practice” (Knorr Cetina, 2001) 3. Ecological cognition (Ingold, 2012; Knappett, 2010) Objects are the foundation of enduring professional practices, discovery and innovation... and human consciousness and learning. Objects are entities people act towards and/or act with (Star, 2010)
  5. 5. The University of Sydney Page 5 Socio-cultural “mediation” perspective Object Objekt As “problem space,” concrete (material) entity Predmet As “true motive,” psychological stimuli “…the activity does not have a direction and does not really start until the object of activity is defined” (Kaptelinin, 2005) Notations: N – Need; M – Motive; O – Object; A – Activity SC – Social Context; CM – Conditions and Means
  6. 6. The University of Sydney Page 6 Socio-material “objectual practice” perspective “The lack in completeness of being is crucial: objects of knowledge in many fields have material instantiations, but they must simultaneously be conceived of as unfolding structures of absences: as things that continually 'explode' and 'mutate' into something else, and that are as much defined by what they are not (but will, at some point have become) than by what they are” (Knorr Cetina, 2001)
  7. 7. The University of Sydney Page 7 Ecological cognition perspective “Things are ambiguous and undefined; when you say ‘pass me that green thing over there,’ the thing is unintelligible in some way. Objects, on the other hand, are named, understood and transparent” (Knappett, 2010, 82) Inhabited world is not so much composed of objects as of things – forms arise in flows of materials, rather than being set a priori, and “stand against us” (Ingold, 2010)
  8. 8. The University of Sydney Page 8 Objects vs. things – “The use of terms such as “tinkering” (to describe working on doable problems) misses the mark when work is viewed in the wider context of motivated object- oriented activity” (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006, 285) – “...There is not much feeling for thingness in these cases, of stuff just being there, not fully perceived or understood. It is as if every entity around us in our material world can be precisely named and functionally ascribed” (Knappett, 2010, 82).
  9. 9. The University of Sydney Page 9 Epistemic artefact: convergence of object and thing... Artefact - lat. arte (“Skill in doing something”) and factum (“A thing done or performed”)
  10. 10. The University of Sydney Page 10 Study: “Cognitive-cultural archaeology” 1 Phase 1 Phase 2 Disciplines Pharmacy Nursing Social work School counseling Education Pharmacy Education Sample 20 professional practice courses 24 projects-assessment tasks 16 academics 3 tutorial groups, 6 weeks 2 students’ groups, 4 weeks Data Interviews: 1-3 interviews per course Course materials: outlines, assignments, handouts, examples, etc. Observations Course materials, artefacts produced by students Open interviews Methods Cognitive task analysis (Crandall, Klein, & Hoffman, 2006) Epistemic interviewing (Brinkmann, 2007) Ethno- audio/video taped observations
  11. 11. The University of Sydney Page 11 Objects for assessment tasks Motives/Objects Everyday practices Unusual practices Fine-tuning skill and knowledge Key specific skills Eg. Administering behavioural assessments Hardest elements of professional practice Eg. Teaching lessons of most difficult to teach topics Shaping professional vision Core inquiry frameworks Eg. Mastering a generic framework for pharmacy practice Hidden elements of professional vision Eg. Seeing social justice in a lesson plan Making professional artefacts Production artefacts for/in action Eg. Designing a plan, writing a report Production of generic artefacts-tools Eg. Creating guidelines
  12. 12. The University of Sydney Page 12 Nature of “translational” artefacts Learning/hybrid artefacts Workplace- based/focussed artefacts Accountabili ty Formal tests Eg. OHS test Experience records Eg. practice logbooks Pedagogical Educational artefacts Eg. concept maps, essays Deconstructive artefacts Eg. analyses and reflections of professional experiences Professional Rare/hybrid professional artefacts Eg. medication review, nursing guidelines Common professional artefacts Eg. medication dosage assessment
  13. 13. The University of Sydney Page 13 A case: Constructing nursing guidelines “[T]his Nursing School didn’t want to have a set of guidelines as such to give the students out of the books. They said we want the students to be freer thinking. And I watched the students struggle and I thought “well, maybe often they do need guidelines.” I don’t teach to guidelines. I teach to principles. But when you want them to go back and practice, they need guidelines <…> So that’s what I thought that a way of getting around that is if they developed their own guidelines.”
  14. 14. The University of Sydney Page 14 Needs and motives “...the hardest bit is to engage the students into feeling like nurses, feeling like they’re doing nursing. And to actually make their clinical practice in the simulation laboratories meaningful <...> trying to get them to think as a nurse and that was the whole purpose behind doing this assignment too - to look at the fact that it’s not just clinical skills that you need evidence behind what you’re doing.” Task design: 1. Look for evidence & best-practice 2. Critically evaluate and make choices 3. Perform clinical skill in a simulation laboratory 4. Take pictures of your performance 5. Develop guidelines that combines your performance with evidence
  15. 15. The University of Sydney Page 15 Entangling social, material and human “I suppose the modus operandi behind it [the task] was to get them to engage and connect with what they’re doing” Notations: N – Need; M – Motive; O – Object; A – Activity; EA – Epistemic Artefact; T – Thing SMHE – Social, Material and Human Entanglements
  16. 16. The University of Sydney Page 16 Final points 1. The nursing guidelines are not the object (“ultimate reason”) of the students’ behaviours. Rather, they are the epistemic artefact that holds together diverse things and objects, through which actionable knowledge is constructed and expressed. 2. Activity is not so much directed towards a specific thing or object (“the ultimate reason”) as it is this “ultimate reason” of learning. 3. Social contexts and material means is not an inanimate background, but rather as the very matter through which motives are expressed and coordinated, and through which the objects come to life.
  17. 17. The University of Sydney Page 17 Final points Productive epistemic artefacts connect the object (‘why’ of work) and the thing (‘what’ of work) trough action (‘know how’) and ways of thinking that underpin situated professional innovation.
  18. 18. The University of Sydney Page 18 If you are interested... Email us: Follow our website: https://epistemicfluency.com Lina.Marakauskaite@sydney.edu.au

Editor's Notes

  • Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts
    Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear
    Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation

    Presented at the Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” @ CSU, Sydney 13-14 April, 2016

    Abstract

    Professional learning and assessment in higher education often involve production of various artefacts, such as lesson plans and reflections in teaching, assessment reports and case studies in counselling, drawings and portfolios in architecture. What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning? How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces?
     
    In this presentation we report on our research in which we combine socio-cultural “mediation” (Kaptelinin, 2005), socio-material “objectual practice” (Knorr Cetina, 2001) and extended ecological cognition perspectives (Ingold, 2012; Knappett, 2010) to investigate the nature of learning activities in the overlapping spaces of the university and the workplace. Specifically, we investigate the nature of the artefacts that students create as a part of assessment tasks during their preparation for professional practice.
     
    Initially, we argue that learning in university settings and doing in workplaces are two distinct kinds of objectual practices that are inherently directed towards different kinds of objects. We unpack the nature of these two kinds of objectual practices by distinguishing between object as motive and object as material entity. Specifically, We show that university learning orients itself towards abstract forms of knowledge that can travel across diverse workplace contexts and situations, while workplace practices orient themselves towards production of concrete situated solutions of specific professional problems.
     
    Then, we look at the nature of activities and artefacts produced by students during preparation for work placements in the overlapping space of the university and the workplace., what kinds of epistemic experiences these artefacts afford and what their relationships with professional knowledge and knowing practices are. We show that these artefact-oriented activities, and the artefacts produced, often connect, rather than separate, abstract knowledge and objects of professional practice with embodied skill through concrete, materially expressed, actions and things . This entangled epistemic nature of professional learning artefacts allows bridging not only learning and work, but also learning and innovation. To make this argument we distinguish between different kinds of epistemic artefacts that students create – showing the ways in which they elucidate, preserve, transfer, fine-tune, mediate and advance upon professional knowledge and skills.
     
    References
     
    Ingold, T. (2012). Toward an ecology of materials. Annual Review of Anthropology, 41(1), 427-442.
    Kaptelinin, V. (2005). The object of activity: making sense of the sense-maker. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 12(1), 4-18.
    Knappett, C. (2011). Networks of objects, meshworks of things. In T. Ingold (Ed.), Redrawing Anthropology: Materials, Movements, Lines (pp. 45-63): Ashgate.
    Knorr Cetina, K. (2001). Objectual practice. In T. R. Schatzki, K. Knorr Cetina & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory (pp. 175-188). London: Routledge.
  • Rethinking professional learning and knowledge from the epistemic fluency perspective: as a capacity to work with and combine different kinds knowledge and different ways of knowing, particularly knowledge that underpins understanding (know why) and knowledge that underpins action (know that and know how).

    We draw on the grounded (and extended) view of cognition and argue knowledge and knowing is not what happens in the mind, but in the action and (inter)action between the environment and the embodied mind.

    One of important aspects of our elaborated view is that:

    Professional expertise is inseparable from capacities to (co-)construct epistemic environments that enhance knowledgeable actions.

    Such expertise is grounded in embodied, situated professional knowledge work.

    Much of this work is done by (co-)creating epistemic artefacts that embody actionable knowledge.
  • Professional learning and assessment in higher education often involve production of various artefacts, such as lesson plans and reflections in teaching, assessment reports and case studies in counselling, drawings and portfolios in architecture.

    What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning?
    How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces?
  • Theoretical perspectives on which we drew upon in artefact analysis (p126)

    What unifies these three perspectives is their attention to what broadly could be called objects

    Discourse plays an important role in organising learning, distributed (knowledge) work, and, particularly, reflective thought and insight. However, as Nicolini, Mengis and Swan (2012, 613) argue, “symbols alone do not resolve this puzzle” of continuity and change. Organisational studies and Science and Technology Studies commonly look for the foundations of enduring professional practices, discovery and innovation in objects.

    Objects can be defined as entities people act towards and/or act with (Star, 2010).

    However, these perspectives differ in terms of defining what object actually is.

    ------
    Professional and expert communities in knowledge-generating settings are usually oriented towards exploring, assembling and developing knowledge or epistemic objects – “complex problem-knowledge constellations around which practitioners gather and communities form.” (Nerland & Jensen, 2014, 27, drawing on Knorr-Cetina, 2001, 2007).


  • Kaptelinin (2005) reviews the two main traditions within activity theory – personal development (Leontiev, 1978, 1981) and organisational learning (Engeström, 2001, 2008).60 Kaptelinin reminds us that Leontiev (1978), discussing individual development, defined the object of an activity in broad terms as a “true motive” aroused by a certain need that gives to the activity a determined direction. This true motive may be material and present in perception, but it also could be ideal and present “only in the imagination or thought”. The motive does not define specific goals or actions carried out by individuals for its realisation, but it does set a general direction and purpose. Leontiev illustrates this as follows. The motive of an individual may be to get food, but the actions carried out to achieve this may be directed towards various goals, such as preparing equipment for fishing, going fishing her or himself, or giving the equipment to others and then obtaining a part of the catch. In relation to mental development, concrete actions, specific outcomes and relationships with others and the context, are less significant than mental growth.

    In contrast, Engeström (2001), elaborating some fundamental concepts of cultural-historical activity theory for organisational learning, defined the object of activity in terms of a “problem space” to which activity is directed. He called the object of activity a “raw material” that is transformed, as a result of this activity, into a solution or outcome. In the context of organizational learning and change, specific actions are carried out by groups of individuals and the object of activity is associated with the production of a specific outcome. Such an object has to have an objective physical existence and has to be realised in a certain material form.


    Kaptelinin tried to reconcile these two views.

    In both cases: Objects are seen as concrete, well defined entities that give stability and direction for action: “…the activity does not have a direction and does not really start until the object of activity is defined.” (Kaptelinin, 2005, 16)

    ----------------

    P 126 Enduring material quality is an essential characteristic of such objects and of how we depend upon them:
    “...consciousness does not exist as situated inside the head of the individual, but is rooted in the constant interaction between individuals and the world of objectified cultural artefacts.” (Miettinen & Virkkunen, 2005, 443)
  • In the context of knowledge work, the notion of object becomes more dynamic and stands in a more complex relationship with its material counterpart. Such knowledge objects typically are characterised as incomplete, they stand for something that is not yet known, they often have multiple representations and they change. As Knorr Cetina (2001) says:

    “…objects of knowledge can never be fully attained, that they are, if you wish, never quite themselves. What we encounter in the research process are representations or stand-ins for a more basic lack of object.” (Knorr Cetina, 2001, 181)

    Objects of knowledge – which Knorr Cetina calls “epistemic objects” - are fundamentally different from the commodities or other fixed material or conceptual entities one finds in the literature on social and material culture. Openness, lack of completeness, flexibility and capacity to be woven into the dynamics of movement, perception, sensemaking and action, are key features of the objects through which knowledge is attained,
    “The lack in completeness of being is crucial: objects of knowledge in many fields have material instantiations, but they must simultaneously be conceived of as unfolding structures of absences: as things that continually 'explode' and 'mutate' into something else, and that are as much defined by what they are not (but will, at some point have become) than by what they are.” (Knorr Cetina, 2001, 182, original emphasis)

    ------
    In the context of deliberative action and productive inquiry, an object is also not an immutable thing, but it is simultaneously both objective and projective: a) the departure point for inquiry, something already given to perception and mind; and b) an ultimate target or purpose (Adler, 2005; Miettinen, 2005, 2006; Miettinen & Virkkunen, 2005).
    Adler (2005) illustrates the point:
    “The object of the blacksmith’s activity is simultaneously a piece of iron, an inert mass, and the mental image of the shape it should take, a goal. Indeed, it is the tension between the two that motivates the blacksmith’s activity and thus serves as a starting point for understanding the form of organization assumed by that activity…” (Adler, 2005, 403).
  • In contrast, others question whether objects – named, explicit, fixed and transparent, as they are viewed in many socio-material perspectives - are so exclusively central in guiding skilful, knowledgeable actions. Ingold asserts that the inhabited world is not so much composed of objects as of things – forms arise in flows of materials, rather than being set a priori, and “stand against us”. He illustrates this by describing a tree in the open air and insists,

    “...the character of this particular tree lies just as much in the way it responds to the currents of wind, in the swaying of its branches and the rustling of its leaves, then we might wonder whether the tree can be anything other than a tree-in-the-air. … the tree is not an object at all, but a certain gathering together of the threads of life. That is what I mean by a thing.” (Ingold, 2010, 4)

    As inhabitants of the world, we experience and construct our knowledge and skill not so much through confronting predefined static forms set by objects, but through joining the fluxes of materials that gather and hold together in one place as things.


    -----------------------
    Ingold illustrates this by describing a carpenter sawing a plank of wood:

    “Thus the carpenter himself, [is] obliged to follow the material and respond to its singularities <...> No two strokes of the saw are quite alike, and each – far from following its predecessors like a beads on a string – grows out of the one before and prepares for the next. Thus the carpenter who has a feel for what he is doing is one who can harmonise the current variations with which he has to deal.” (Ingold, 2011, 216-217)

    The plank is not so much an object as it is a thing. An experienced carpenter’s knowledge and skill are not expressed as the imposition of preconceived forms onto material substances (whether static or dynamically constructed). Rather they are expressed in the improvisatory and rhythmic quality of movement, which joins the currents of materials, through which forms are generated.

    “...thinking is a process that carries on, as do movement, speech and the materials of which things are made” (Ingold, 2012, 439)

  • As Kaptelinin and Nardi (2006) argue, objects are relatively “long lived” and offer a certain degree of stability, allowing people to get on with the job, rather than challenge meanings. They oppose the view of seeing human professional activities as a series of (semi)-conscious decisions shaped by situational constraints rather than meanings. They criticise studies conducted in research laboratories that describe the research activities and fundamental research drivers as a series of solutions of “do-able” problems. Kaptelinin and Nardi (2006) assert that addressing some problems – such as those faced in collaborative scientific work in large laboratories - requires tremendous dedication, passion and desire: the description of what people are doing does not say much about why they are doing it.
    “The use of terms such as “tinkering” (to describe working on doable problems) misses the mark when work is viewed in the wider context of motivated object-oriented activity.” (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006, 285)
    In short, the what of work does not help us understand the why of work - which creates the horizon for actions.

    Knappett (2010) argues for the “cognitive life” of things, in the context of human epistemic work. He observes,

    “...in work that has focussed on the cognitive life of material culture, the emphasis appears to have fallen more on ‘objects’ - entities that have a clear functional role in a given task or set of tasks <...> There is not much feeling for thingness in these cases, of stuff just being there, not fully perceived or understood. It is as if every entity around us in our material world can be precisely named and functionally ascribed.” (Knappett, 2010, 82, original emphasis).
  • Figure recapitulates the main distinctions and relationships we have discussed so far in this chapter. It shows the two senses of object (“objekt” and “predmet”) and introduces the notion of “thing”.
    We place “artefacts” in this picture as
    a bringing together of the goal and its material locus,
    understood from the perspective of active engagement, making and movement in the world. (One might say “thingy objects”).


    We have casually introduced the word “artefact” and we now need to explain a particular sense in which we want to use this term. “Artefact” derives from a combination of classical Latin arte (“Skill in doing something.”) and factum (“A thing done or performed”). It nicely captures the bond between human knowledge, skill and matter and emergent material and immaterial forms. In many standard uses, an “artefact” is often seen as a finished product – rigid and encapsulated in a transparent and fixed form.
    “If we reflect vpon the workes and artes of men, as, a good life, a commonwealth, an army, a house, a garden, all artefactes; what are they, but compositions of well ordered partes?” (1644 K. Digby Two Treat. ii. viii. 411. (Oxford English Dictionary Online, our emphasis).

    However, if we bring the artefact back into the process of making, the fixedness disappears: a form becomes a movement; knowledge becomes knowing, the object becomes a thing (Figure 8.1).

  • Phase 1
    Disciplines
    pharmacy, nursing, social work, school counseling and education
    Sample
    20 professional practice courses
    24 projects-assessment tasks
    16 academics
    Data
    Interviews: 1-3 interviews per course
    Course materials: outlines, assignments, handouts, examples, etc.
    Methods
    Cognitive task analysis (Crandall, Klein, & Hoffman, 2006)
    Epistemic interviewing (Brinkmann, 2007)

    Phase 2
    pharmacy, education
    3 tutorial groups, 6 weeks
    2 students’ groups, 4 weeks
    Observations
    Course materials, artefacts produced by students
    Open interviews
    Ethnographic observations

  • How teachers objectify course goals in specific assessment tasks

    The main objects (motives) were expressed in terms professional skill/capability that underpin professional expertise and identity.

    Many assessment tasks involved assemblages of objects: eg. designing lesson and teaching.

    A production of material artefact was not always the goal, yet assessment tasks often involved this
  • Our core focus were these rare/hybrid artefacts as some involved production of assemblages of various artefacts and assemblages of objects (and really very purposefully aimed to connect workplace and learning at university)
  • And it was usually these rare/hybrid artefacts that most tragedy aimed to develop the links between knowlegeable action and actionable knowledge
  • “I think with a nursing practice course – my experience over the years has been we are not in the hospitals a lot, they go in and out, and the hardest bit is to engage the students into feeling like nurses, feeling like they’re doing nursing. And to actually make their clinical practice in the simulation laboratories meaningful, rather than just doing things, you know, we just go in and we take a temperature or whatever. To actually to make it more meaningful and to get them to take responsibility for their learning and so I think by getting them to think about it and say “ok what is it we’re doing here?” and making them think about connecting – what have they learnt and how <...> trying to get them to think as a nurse and that was the whole purpose behind doing this assignment too - to look at the fact that it’s not just clinical skills that you need evidence behind what you’re doing.”
  • SMHE – Social, Material and Human Entanglements
    SMHE1: Comparing sources
    SMHE2: Searching data bases
    SMHE3: Articulating “turning points” of knowledgeable action in images
    SMHE4: Performing clinical procedures



    All four motives were expressed in the task through the students’ skills in carrying out specific grounded actions:
    to critically evaluate different sources;
    to find sources of evidence and connect this knowledge to “craft skill”;
    to articulate the common patterns and key features of these clinical procedures; and
    to perform real clinical procedures

    Further, each of these actions was firmly grounded in a social and material environment:
    ways of evaluating different sources by making comparisons and relating evidence to context;
    available databases;
    images of the skills articulating “what matters” in a clinical procedure; and
    laboratory settings and equipment

    The environment was not just a context or set of practical constraints that shaped possible pragmatic actions, rather it was the very essence in which knowledge, skill and activity were expressed (e.g., if one removes the “best evidence” databases from the environment, the entire activity, and perhaps even the very conception of nursing practice, will change).

  • The nursing guidelines are not the object (“ultimate reason”) of the students’ behaviours. Rather, they are the epistemic artefact that holds together diverse things and objects, through which actionable knowledge is constructed and expressed.
    Activity is not so much directed towards a specific thing or object (“the ultimate reason”) as it is this “ultimate reason” of learning.
    Social contexts and material means is not an inanimate background, but rather as the very matter through which motives are expressed and coordinated, and through which the objects come to life.

    ------------------------------

    The nursing guidelines constructed by the students are not the object (“ultimate reason”) of the students’ behaviours. Rather, they are the epistemic artefact that holds together diverse things and objects, through which actionable knowledge is constructed and expressed.
    Activity is not so much directed towards a specific thing or object (“the ultimate reason”) as it is this “ultimate reason” of learning.
    This activity emerges through the entanglement of embodied human skill and knowledge with the social and material environment in which the actions take place.
    Social contexts and material means is not an inanimate background, but rather as the very matter through which motives are expressed and coordinated, and through which the objects come to life.
    Such epistemic artefact-oriented learning can be seen as an activity that emerges from the simultaneous entanglement of social, material and human (embodied mind and skill).




  • Productive epistemic artefacts connect the object (‘why’ of work) and the thing (‘what’ of work) trough action (‘know how’) and ways of thinking that underpin situated professional innovation (ie. capacity to create epistemic artefacts,... Epistemic fluency)


    Much of the value of the epistemic artefacts comes from their dual, deeply entangled nature: They embody actionable knowledge, and the activity through which they are constructed embodies knowledgeable action. They are simultaneously: objective and grounded in situated experiences; reflective and projective.



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