PCF5: Learning To Design Technology Enhanced Learning For Rural Livelihoods

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Theme: Livelihoods
Workshop on Learning to Design Technology Enhanced Learning for Rural Livelihoods
Monday, July 14th, 2-3.30pm at PCF5 - extension workshop Friday, July 18th, 10-1.30pm at LKL

Organisers: Daniel Orwa, University of Nairobi; Rosemary Luckin, Joshua Underwood, Kevin Walker, Niall Winters London Knowledge Lab, IOE, University of London; Lynne Dunckley, Jose Abdelnour-Nocera, Soulymane Camara, Cecilia Oyugi TVU ; Ray Sheriff, dewi Wirastuti Ni Made Ary Esta, Bradford University; Jaafar Elmirghani, Amar Kabashi, Leeds University; Milan Prodanovic ICL


In this session participants will learn about user-centered and participatory methods for designing technology enhanced learning. These will be illustrated through case study presentations based on work with rural groups. Half of the session will be a hands-on facilitated opportunity to discuss, apply and explore the relevance of such methods to learning contexts of specific interest to participants. Time will be allocated for networking and to discuss the formation of an online community interested in learner centred design for development. The workshop will be supported before and after the session by online materials. A follow-up half-day session will run at the London Knowledge Lab 10-1.30pm on Friday, July 18th.

PCF5 Session Report

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To participate you should contribute a case study or a context and community description (see http://d4tel.blogspot.com for instructions) and email josh.underwood at gmail.com introducing yourself and saying a little about your background.


  • To increase understanding of the key challenges for user centred and participatory approaches when working with rural communities in developing contexts.
  • To build a community interested in sharing and defining appropriate culturally and contextually sensitive approaches to involving learners and other stakeholders in the design process.


This session will interest all those who wish to learn about, share and explore contextually and culturally appropriate methods for involving users in designing effective technology enhanced learning.

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If you have ideas about what you would like to happen in this workshop make your suggestions here


There is considerable international interest in the potential of new technologies to support international development and more specifically learning for development (e.g. One Laptop Per Child - http://laptop.org, The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Bridging the Global Digital Divide (BGDD) projects - http://www.bgdd.org, Computer Assisted Learning 07 conference track on ICT for development and education - http://www.cal-conference.elsevier.com). However, there is also a growing recognition that technological interventions are likely to fail when they do not fit the intended contexts of use or address the needs and concerns of user communities. Amongst others, contextual factors include the operating environment (e.g. heat, dust, water, strong sunlight), the technological infrastructure (e.g. intermittent, unreliable or no - Internet connection, mobile phone signal, electricity), cultural and organisational norms and constraints, power relationships, language, literacy, beliefs and familiarity with technology. Designers of technology for learning need to understand well the intended learners and their contexts of use and design for these. This workshop is about ways of achieving this understanding.

In designing culturally and contextually appropriate learning we need to address the complex inter-relationships between, technology, educational objectives, context and culture. Within the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) (Preece, Rogers, Sharp, Benyon, Holland & Carey 1994) one solution to understanding users has been to closely involve the target user communities throughout the design process. A wide variety of approaches to managing this user involvement have been developed and evaluated over the history of HCI. However, many learner-centred and participatory design (Schuler & Namioka 1993) methodologies are primarily grounded in Western cultures and aim to deliver to Western values (Kolko & Rose 2007), which may differ in significant ways from those in developing contexts. Such methods may not be globally appropriate. For example, exploratory approaches, such as low-fi prototyping (see Preece, Rogers, Sharp, Benyon, Holland & Carey 1994) and future workshops (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futures_workshops) may be productive in cultures with low uncertainty avoidance indexes but can lead to tensions and misunderstandings elsewhere (Hofstede, Geert, 2001) particularly when designers and users belong to different cultures and operate in different contexts. Even within cultures huge differences between urban and rural contexts and lifestyles suggest that the most appropriate methods for involving learners in design will likely differ.

That this dilemma is being recognised by the Human Computer Interaction and technology design communities is reflected by several workshops being held during 2007 and 2008 at international conferences (Computer Human Interaction 2007 - http://mikeb.inta.gatech.edu/UCDandIDWorkshop, Human Computer Interaction 2007 - http://hct4d.blogspot.com, Designing Interactive Systems 2008 - http://sigchi.org/dis2008/Program_Workshops_and_Tutorials#building, Computer Human Interaction 2008 - http://mikeb.inta.gatech.edu/HCI4CID). In this workshop we intend to build on the outcomes of these previous workshops and extend the discussion in to the specific domain of designing technologies for learning.



The workshop will:

  • Promote the formation of a research community in the area of culturally and contextually appropriate methods for involving learners in design
  • Introduce participants to work in the related field of Human Computer Interaction drawing on outputs from recent workshops and sessions at international conferences
  • Provide practical examples from case studies drawing from our own, others and participants experiences
  • In the longer term, generate and share new approaches to designing technology-enhanced learning for improved livelihoods


In a 1.5 hour session we will:

  • Provide an introduction drawing on recent workshops held within the technology design community (e.g. hct4d, Designing technologies for developing world contexts, etc...) in which we have been involved. We will provide related resources online and on CDs for participants to take away.
  • Present case studies illustrating issues in involving users in design in rural and developing world contexts. We will draw from our own experiences in the VeSeL project working with farmer self-help groups and rural communities in Kenya to design and develop technology to support their learning needs (see http://www.veselproject.net). Invited participants from other BGDD projects will present experiences from different rural contexts (e.g. in India and Chile – see http://www.bgdd.org). All participants will be invited to share relevant experiences of involving learners in the design process.
  • We will then form small teams to explore and build from the methods described by applying them to designing learning for specific rural and development contexts. These will be drawn from the experience and specific interests of participants. The organisers will facilitate this activity.
  • Finally, ideas from the small groups will be presented back to the whole group.
  • If there is sufficient interest we extend the workshop on 18th july with a session at the LKL. We will discuss ways of maintaining and building research relationships in this area. This should lead to the formation of an online community interested in developing and applying learner centred and participatory methods to the design of technology enhanced learning for development.

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If you would like to present an example of involving rural users in design (successful or unsuccessful) please describe it here. Similarly if you would like to explore the application of learner-centered and/or participatory methods to a particular situation or context please describe it here


Prior to the workshop we will link to resources from this workshop’s wikieducator page, see - Resources section below. Resources will include introductory information on Human Computer Interaction and Participatory Design methods as well as links to papers, websites, and presentation slides and videos from relevant workshops at recent design conferences (e.g. http://hct4d.blogspot.com). We will also make these resources available on media for participants to take away from the workshop. After the workshop, slides and recordings of presentations and discussion will be made available online along with a summary of outcomes. Again, these resources will be linked to from the workshop’s wikieducator page. We will also create a mailing list for participants to continue discussion and build collaborations beyond the PCF5 conference.


Workshop methodology derived from Yishay Mor and Niall Winters (2008). Participatory design in open education: a workshop model for developing a pattern language. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. http://jime.open.ac.uk/2008/13/


Hofstede, G. (2001), Culture's Consequences, Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 2001

Kolko, B & Rose, E. (2007) Design for digital inclusion, CHI’07 Workshop on User Centred Design and International Development. Available online at 31/03/08 http://mikeb.inta.gatech.edu/UCDandIDWorkshop/papers/kolko.pdf

Preece, J, Rogers, Y, Sharp, H, Benyon, D, Holland, S & Carey, T (1994), Human-Computer Interaction. Wokingham, UK: Addison-Wesley.

Schuler, D & Namioka A. (eds.) (1993), Participatory Design: principles and practices. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Wikipedia Definitions

Online Resources associated with the workshop


M.J. Muller (2001) Participatory Design : The Third Space in HCI A survey of methods, techniques and practices in participatory design.

The reading list from the University of California - Irvine Development Seminar Wiki will be useful to this interested in Human Centred and Participatory methods for designing technology.


You may like to join the HCI4D (Human Computer Interaction for Development) group

Conferences & Workshops

Participatory Design for Development 2008 Workshop (PD4D 2008) to be held in conjunction with the Participatory Design Conference in Bloomington, Indiana 1st of October 2008 - http://www.pdc2008.org/

About the Workshop Participatory design within the context of developing countries is an emerging area of interest in the Participatory Design community. This workshop will provide a unique forum for participants to exchange their experiences, consider the different approaches needed in developing country's context, encourage new partnerships and learn from each others past difficulties and how these were solved.

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If you know of appropriate resources please suggest them here

More coming... --Josh 15:15, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

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