Seminar “Ecologies of Learning in multiple contexts”
The seminar on Learning Ecologies in Multiple Contexts was held in the Chancellor’s Building at Malaga University from 26th to 28th January 2017. The seminar was organized within the framework of the RDI project EDU2014-51961-P Learning Ecologies in Multiple Contexts: an analysis of projects on expanded education and shaping citizenship (ECOEC). The project is funded by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), and is a multi-site project (universities of Granada, Málaga, Extremadura, Valladolid, Almería, León and Alcalá de Henares) in which each of the research group partners is undertaking a number of case studies encompassing diverse contexts and locations.
The seminar allowed the three educational research groups, ICUFOP (LR Juan Bautista Martínez), NODO EDUCATIVO (LR Jesús Valverde), and PROCIE (LR Ignacio Rivas), to meet and work intensely, and share scientific knowledge and experiences. During the meeting, the working groups from the REUNI+D network, who work in coordination under the ECOEC joint project, focussed on knowledge ecologies, soft skills, social mediation and invisible learning experiences, discussing their insight into the 17 cases under study. The results ultimately address the processes for building citizenship. The meeting was an opportunity for project partners and contributors hailing from 7 Spanish universities to share ideas and experiences on the main cross-cutting issues that form the cornerstones of the project.
The working groups from each site reported their progress and initial results of the relevant case studies. Each group represents a community of formal or informal practices, in which they develop heterogeneous experiences of invisible learning and expanded education experiences that are tailored to the multiple contexts analyzed.
The key concepts, focus, empirical and analytical categories, and emergent and divergent theories that form the basis of the interpretative framework were described in each case in relation to the main issues encompassed in the project. Implementation of this task highlighted the main theories that are contributing toward the construction of a metatheory that integrates the project’s theoretical framework and guides the outcome of the different case studies. There was also a number of more instructional presentations on desktop reviews, expansive education criteria, social mediations, and ethnographic and narrative methodologies as a means of addressing the objectives for the different cases and contexts.
Workshops were held on Friday afternoon (27th) on the cross-cutting areas of the case studies in order to address the common dimensions and facilitate the last stage of the work, which involves defining the common lines of inquiry in the different case studies. Four thematic workshops were organized as follows:
- Social and community development.
- Alternative experiences in childhood education.
- Technological mediations.
- Training communities.
The common emergent categories, shared issues, and conceptual bases were discussed for the purpose of producing diagrams showing the triangulated categories for each case. Likewise, the issues and questions emerging from the comparison and dialogue between the different cases were also highlighted.
Saturday morning (28th) was spent planning the remaining tasks, reaching an agreement on their implementation, and establishing a feasible timeline. Participants worked on defining different strategies relative to the social return and transfer of the cases, and discussed the possibility of further meetings for information sharing and training in October and November 2017. Progress was made with regard to the concepts involved in the research and the need to draft short essays on their meaning, as well as the need for conceptual mapping to locate them in the relevant semantic field. To conclude, participants underlined the importance of materializing future organizational and scientific lines for sharing and disseminating the project results. In this sense, appropriate strategies were put forward such as presentations at relevant congresses, academic papers, either for dissemination or for scientific impact, to which all participants would contribute, taking into consideration individual academic and career prospects.
In short, during the three days of the seminar, the space provided by the Chancellor’s Building at Málaga University enabled us to understand the new forms of knowledge and learning in a context of interaction and communication, strengthen the relations between the research groups, and discuss methodologies, and educational and scientific experiences from a pluralistic perspective.