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dc.contributor.advisorSpronken-Smith, Rachel
dc.contributor.advisorButson, Russell
dc.contributor.authorGibson, Miriam Anne
dc.description.abstractSituated in the field of adult learning, this thesis examines why individuals choose to engage in non-credentialed learning outside of formal education institutions, and explores how the individual’s sense of self is affected by participation in a Community of Practice where activity is the mediating factor. The study focuses on soft material craft activity, specifically, how learning is accessed and mediated in online and physical craft groups. This study seeks to both respond to, and advance, existing research into adult learning and making communities. The study is located within a social constructivist paradigm, drawing on Anna Stetsenko’s Cultural Historical Activity Theory, Etienne Wenger’s Communities of Practice, and Barbara Rogoff’s model of Learning by Observing and Pitching In. The study contains four data sets. The first focuses on the intra-personal effects of learning a new activity in an unfamiliar context through analysis of an autoethnographic narrative detailing the researcher’s personal experience learning traditional crafts in Peru. The remaining three data sets examine the inter-personal aspects of group learning. These include in-depth interviews with eight participants in online and physical craft groups, analysis of 345 posts and 2038 comments harvested from two online craft groups, and field notes detailing participant observations of four physical craft group meet-ups. Constructivist Grounded Theory and a General Inductive approach are employed in the analysis of data. Analysis of the four data sets resulted in three key findings. Firstly, that participants are motivated to engage in non-credentialed learning activity by a desire to align with desirable social narratives. Secondly, that previous experience in related Communities of Practice, particularly formal education, influences how individuals respond to, and make meaning from, unfamiliar activities. Thirdly, that the boundaries between Communities of Practice are critical to the development and performance of identity. These findings lead to the development of a holistic model for adult learning which articulates the multiple and overlapping contexts in which learning occurs, and the role these contexts, and the boundaries between them, play in the development of identity and the qualified self. I argue that participation in formal education results in the construction of meaning schema that influence how individuals make meaning from experience and I consider how this impacts on the learning that occurs in informal and non-formal contexts. The thesis concludes by considering the implications for adult learners, tertiary education institutions and education policy makers and suggesting directions for future research.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectNew Zealand
dc.subjectCultural Historical Activity Theory
dc.subjectInformal Learning
dc.subjectIdentity development
dc.subjectCommunities of Practice
dc.subjectAdult Learning
dc.titleMaking meaning: Informal craft communities as sites of learning and identity development
dc.language.rfc3066en Education Development Centre of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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