Patterns as a paradigm for theory in community-based learning
J. Carroll, and U. Farooq. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning2 (1):
Learning about information technology is typically not a first-order
goal for community-based volunteer organizations. Nonetheless, information
technology is vital to such groups for member recruiting and management,
communication and visibility to the community, and for primary group
activities. During the past 12 years, we have worked with community
groups in Centre County, Pennsylvania, and Montgomery County, Virginia.
We have built partnerships with these groups to better understand
and address their learning challenges with respect to information
technology. In this paper, we suggest that patterns, standard solution
schemata for recurring problems (as used in architecture and software
engineering, among other design domains), can be a paradigm for codifying
and developing an understanding of learning in and by community organizations.
Patterns are middle-level abstractions; they capture regularities
of practices in ways that are potentially intelligible, verifiable,
and perhaps useful to the practitioners themselves. We present two
example patterns and discuss issues and directions for developing
patterns as a theoretical foundation for community-based learning.