Trans-Situated Learning: Supporting a Network of Practice with an Information Infrastructure

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This paper investigates the practice-based learning dynamics that emerge among peers who share occupational practices but do not necessarily work with each other or even know each other because of geographical or organizational distance. To do so, it draws on the literatures on situated learning, networks of practice, and information infrastructures, and on insights from a longitudinal case study of the implementation of a Web-based information system used by people working in the field of environmental health. The system was deeply involved in the transformations of local practices as well as relationships between peers. Based on a dialogue between existing literatures and observations from the case study, this research extends the practice-based perspective on learning to the computer-mediated context of a network of practice. To that effect, it proposes a model of what we call trans-situated learning that is supported by the local universality of an information infrastructure whose use becomes embedded with other infrastructures.

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