In supervision yesterday, Judith suggested I write an abstract of my thesis as though I had already undertaken the research. I could see the practical value of this as I have been mulling over what I might actually do, rather than think about doing. Although I am working on a draft abstract, there are a couple of issues that are concerning me, both of which I now think I can see a way round or through.
The first is the so what question – and here again yesterday was helpful. I can now see that what I want to show is very much related to why people engage in informal learning. Although the government white paper is suggesting that informal learning should be recognised and supported, my position is that this is unnecessary and possibly counter-productive – and not just for the reasons propounded elsewhere in this blog of possibly repeating the errors of the 80s in relation to voluntary action and community care.
The second concern relates to justifying the use of Second Life for my studies. One clear argument is that there are no inbuilt extrinsic rewards in SL. Today it struck me that there are elements of SL learning which are not dissimilar to that happening in some of the physical world communities I am part of. For example, if I am monitoring SL mailing lists for evidence of informal learning (probably SLED and one other), I could also monitor arachne. At about this point my imagination takes off and I have to remind myself that I haven’t got unlimited time and resources…. But if the SL can be shown to be not dissimilar from other communities which engage in informal learning…
Time for a cuppa.