Transmitting craft knowledge : designing interactive media to support tacit skills learning

WOOD, Nicola (2006). Transmitting craft knowledge : designing interactive media to support tacit skills learning. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This research has used a practice-led approach to explore, from the perspective of an interactive media designer, the problem of how to understand and transmit the practical knowledge of skilled craft practitioners. It has involved two practical research projects, each exploring the skills of both expert and novice craft practitioners in the fields of traditional bowl turning and clog making.

In the first project I experimentally used a systems-orientated approach to explore the tacit knowledge within the practice of an experienced traditional bowl turning practitioner. This involved eliciting craft knowledge from the expert, using a low-fidelity prototype learning resource as a means of representing that knowledge, and observing learners applying the knowledge through using the resource to support their learning.

In the second project I undertook a series of video-recordings with a traditional clog maker, during which I developed a less intrusive elicitation technique based on increasingly focussed observation and interviewing. This overcame the defensiveness encountered with the first practitioner with whom I used an elicitation approach based on his descriptions of his practice.

In the light of the outcomes from the practical work, I reconsidered the current context for craft knowledge and developed a framework to understand craft learning. Drawing on three important theorists: Michael Polanyi and his theory of tacit knowledge, John Dewey and his theory of experiential learning, and Donald Schon and his theory of reflection, I reassessed the learning I had previously observed and proposed a new model of how craft knowledge is learned.

I propose that the guidance offered by the expert can be seen as a series of bridges that provide the novice with a means of accessing the personal knowledge of the expert. These bridges are not necessarily the way to undertake a task, but a way that the expert feels to be helpful at that time. As a novice increasingly learns from the feedback from their own actions, they can progress their skill by moving through different modes of reflection.

This research makes three specific contributions to knowledge. In the field of multimedia design it establishes a methodology for transmitting craft knowledge, refining principles previously published through my MA research, and it establishes techniques for eliciting craft knowledge which are interwoven with the process of developing the transmission resource. In the field of learning and pedagogy it establishes a framework for understanding craft skills learning drawing on recognised theory and validated through appraisal of the practical work undertaken.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Rust, Chris
Thesis advisor - Garland, Paul
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2011 12:06
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 12:41

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