Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), Vol 7, No 3 (2015)

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Interacting orientations and instrumentalities to adapt a learning tool for health professionals

Kathrine L. Nygård, Anne Moen


Web-based instructional software offers new opportunities for collaborative, task-oriented in-service training. Planning and negotiation of content to adapt a web-based learning resource for nursing is the topic of this paper. We draw from Cultural Historical Activity Theory to elaborate the dialectical relationship of changing and stabilizing organizational practice. Local adaptation to create a domain-specific resource plays out as interactions of orientations and instrumentalities. Our analysis traces how orientations, i.e., in situ selection of knowledge and mobilization of experiences, and instrumentality, i.e., interpreted affordances of available cultural tools, interact. The adaptation processes are mediated by a set of new and current tools that interact with multiple orientations to ensure stability and promote change. Practice and project are introduced as intermediate, analytic concepts to assess tensions in the observed activity. Our analysis shows three central tensions, how they are introduced, addressed and subsequently resolved. Considering the opportunities help understand how engagement with technology can lead to new representations for introduction to a local knowledge domain.

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Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)
ISSN 2073-7904


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Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong