Books, Instagram and writing my first research article

The weekly digest

It has been a fantastic week on many aspects of the project.
For the first time this semester, I got to the studying part of the project. It is quite a great feeling to have surpassed most of the obligations that I need to fulfil around the project that is teaching, so I can begin focusing on my data, thesis, and the forthcoming writing on my first research article.

The article has the working title of “Participatory Skills for Learning in a Networked World”. It is to be a contribution to a special issue, where the Danish research team of the project work with the Dutch team from Open University, that we visited earlier this fall. See a blog post on that here

The editors are Nina Bonderup Dohn (my supervisor) and Maarten de Laat, and the plan is to publish it around a year from now.
I will keep you in the loop about the progress.

For the occasion, I got a copy of a newly published book by De Laat and another good colleague, Thomas Ryberg, who is also part of the FKK-Research Group. I’m very thrilled about the book and will just share some thoughts on it here:


The book takes a qualified venture through three main implications on Networked Learning. First of all a political perspective, then a learner’s perspective on the boundaries between e.g. work and school and what designs can be and cannot and lastly a view on implication for researching in Networked Learning. All three topics are weaved and relate to each other, giving a feeling of strong co-relation among the chapters and that all three perspectives an equally important to address.

The book draws on a variety of theories from both cognitive and socio -cultural perspectives. Bakhtin’s concept of chronotype (configurations of time and space ) is used to analyse online learners movements, and Socio-material theories underpin how artefacts are used to develop students digital literacies, How tasks and activities are not always aligning and how students engage in sense-making activities are also topics that are addressed

The topics are highly relevant for my research, and it is great to read something that sets own thoughts into perspective. I can highly recommend the book, to anyone interested in Networked Learning.

Instagram – another layer of empirical data


As you might notice, I have attached an Instagram widget to my site. I’ve decided to use Instagram as a tool for freezing specific moments from my trips into the field. I think Instagram is useful for several reasons.

First of all, it allows me to provide my images with hashtags, making them easy to find through keywords like #analysis; #literature or #boundary, etc. These tags will give me a chance to better remember and provide images around specific topics for my analysis.
Furthermore, it allows me to write down immediate thoughts on the particular situation, further providing relevant details to my observation log that supports the need for thick descriptions.
Thirdly its just looks nice and even though not many others use Instagram as a visual layer to their research, I can use it to promote my project even further when networking with colleagues around the world. Not all pictures are strictly for data usage, and I also use it for more casual updates not suited for a blog post. In time, I hope, it will provide some fruitful layers to my project.

Feel free to dig in and follow my @Designs4learning account.






Concepts of transfer and transformation in designing for situated knowledge across contexts

Part of my research project is diving into the domain theories and literature of transfer and transformation of learning. To counter this demand my PhD. fellow Lea Tilde Rosenlund and I worked together and conducted a literature review inspired by a systematic approach. The review is in its first iteration and further reviews will be needed as my project moves on to ensure that I can present a state-of-the-art review on this part of my theory.

Lea and I worked with a set of research questions and framed the review as a small project within the DBR approach.
We worked with the following questions:

1. How is the concepts of transfer and transformation, related to education identified within the research literature?

2. Which central positions and discussions related to transfer and transformation can be identified?

3. What differences highlighted between the two concepts?

The results of the literature review are yet to come in an article which we hope will both come in an English and in a Danish version.
For now, we have created a conceptual map (a mindmap) showing the different theoretical positions and their interrelations and tried to construct some categories (very much inspired på Tuomi-Gröhn & Engeström, 2003). The map can be found here as a PDF

Lea and I have been presenting our findings on different occasions and you can find the slides used here. As an important note, we like to add, that it’s is not timelines we construct by putting in dates. This is just to clarify the starting point of the theoretical concept. Se the slides here:

Finally I here post a preliminary list of literature which we have selected as key findings a part of our review. We mainly base these on the number of citations and how they are refered to in the field of transfer research.

Conducting the Literature Review

One of the first steps to take in the progress of my ph.d. project is to get an overview over what has been published on the topic of my study by accredited scholars and researchers. It’s not an easy task because it involves a great number of decisions and considerations.

First of all I’ll have to consider which review methods my field of study actually has a tradition of conducting. For that I’ve tried to get a grasp of some basic literature, that could guide my choices. So I found an article by Grant & Booth (2009), that gives my a starting point.

In their article aims to provide descriptive insight into the most common types of reviews. In the article Grant & Booth claim that

…the diversity of terminology used means that the full potential of these review types may be lost amongst a confusion of indistinct and misapplied terms.

The method used in the article is SALSA a simple analytical framework—Search, AppraisaL,Synthesis and Analysis, through which the locate 14 different review types.

Although the domain of the article is  ealth information and health care I believe the article can be used generically across domains. A Quick overview over the 14different review types are shortly shown here:

  • Critical review
  • Literature review
  • Mapping review/systematic map
  • Meta-analysis
  • Mixed studies review/ mixed method review
  • Overview
  • Qualitative systematic review/ qualitative evidence synthesis
  • Rapid review
  • Scoping review
  • State-of-the-art review
  • Systematic review
  • Systematic search and review
  • Systematized review
  • Umbrella review

To go into each of the review types here would be to demanding and for that i encourage you to read the article yourself.

For my project it seems that the “Literature review” might be the right way.
Grant and Booth point out that weaknesses of this method is

Literature reviews lack an explicit intent to maximize scope or analyse data collected. Any conclusions they may reach are therefore open to bias from the potential to omit, perhaps inadvertently, significant sections of the literature or by not questioning the validity of statements made. Additionally, authors may only select literature that supports their world view, lending undue credence to a preferred hypothesis. 

So it seem that I will have to cope with this weekness somehow.

Luckily I’m not alone in the progress. But that is another topic for another post.


Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies: A typology of reviews, Maria J. Grant & Andrew Booth. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91–108.