Representations of Practice – Distributed Sensemaking Using Boundary Objects

Inge Hermanrud, Dorthe Eide
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 14  •  2017  •  pp. 199-218
Aim/Purpose: This article examines how learning activities draw on resources in the work context to learn.
Background The background is that if knowledge no longer is seen mainly as objects, but processes, how then to understand boundary objects? Our field study of learning activities reveals the use of pictures, documents and emotions for learning in the geographically distributed Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority

Methodology: The study is a qualitative study consisting of interview data, observation data, and documents.

Contribution: Contribute to practice based theorizing.

Findings: Three ideal types of representing practices have been identified, i.e., ‘Visualizing’, ‘Documenting’ and ‘Testing’. All three are combined with storytelling, sensing, reflections and sensemaking, which point at the importance of processes in learning. The article also add insights about how emotions can be an important resource for boundary spanning – and sensemaking – by creating the capability of reflecting upon and integrating different knowledge areas in the in- practice context.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Look for boundary objects within your field to promote online learning.

Recommendation for Researchers: Study boundary objects in work context to understand learning.
Impact on Society Role of objects in human learning.

Future Research: Focus on how emotions can be used for online learning.
learning in organizations, network of practice, sense making, learning as prac-tice. boundary objects
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