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Artefatcs, spaces, visitors. A design oriented and multimodal approach to learning.
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (LUB/UTSAM/Didaktikdesign)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4091-0856
2010 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses the methodological implications of using a design-oriented and multimodal perspective on learning, in a research study of museum visitors’ meaning-making (Rostvall & Selander, 2008; Selander, 2008; Kress, 2010). Learning is viewed as a sequence of sign making activities, in which individuals transform semiotic resources and form a new representation of their understanding of a specific subject matter.

     The main objective of the study was to describe and analyse how museum visitors engage with what is being offered to them in terms of the various resources made available in the exhibitions. Yet another objective was to describe and analyse the design of the exhibitions. The collection of data was conducted at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm, and included the investigation of two exhibitions: Prehistories I and II. We use the analytical concepts of the ideational, interpersonal and textual meta-functions to discuss the exhibitions’ meaning potentials and design (Halliday 1978; 2004; Björklund Boistrup & Selander 2008). The visitor study included several methods for collecting data. Eight visits were videotaped and multimodally transcribed. Data also included digital photos and maps produced by the visitors. Short interviews were conducted concerning the visitors’ maps and photographs. The analysis of data was guided by the use of a model of Learning Design Sequences (Selander, 2008).

     The framework puts forward a few central concepts. The concept of design is used to direct attention to the organizing principles of the exhibitions, where different resources are applied and combined in order to represent meanings about prehistory. Setting is used as a notion to interpret how the design is organized physically and as an expression of the institutional framing. Design is central also for the description and analysis of visitors’ navigation in the exhibition, since meaning-making is understood as a creative activity where the visitors form their own ‘learning paths’ through the transformation and formation of semiotic resources. Framing is the notion we use to understand how visitors, in these social encounters, frame the exhibition in relation to their identity. Signs of learning is used to discuss how visitors, through their representations, have changed their capacity to make signs as an indication of their learning.

     The study makes visible how the participants frame the exhibition from their personal experiences and identity. They transform the available resources in the exhibitions and ‘re-design’ a unique exhibition. The study puts forward the complexity of learning and underlines that meaning-making and learning can be understood as a transformational process in several steps.

     Finally, we discuss some aspects of meaning-making and learning, not necessarily seeing them as the same kind of activities. Even if meaning-making can be understood as an orientation towards the world (which in some sense includes learning), learning might take place even though the meaning is not yet constructed or even intended.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24059OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-24059DiVA: diva2:682812
Conference
Multimodality and learning. Environments, Rhetoric, Recognition, Play and Methods, University of London, Institute of Education, 6-7 juli 2010.
Available from: 2013-12-30 Created: 2013-12-30 Last updated: 2017-04-05Bibliographically approved

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