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Reflections on the role of the ‘users’: challenges in a multi-disciplinary context of learner-centred design for children on the autism spectrum

Parsons, Sarah; Cobb, Sue

Reflections on the role of the ‘users’: challenges in a multi-disciplinary context of learner-centred design for children on the autism spectrum Thumbnail


Authors

Sarah Parsons

Sue Cobb



Abstract

Technology design in the field of human–computer interaction has developed a continuum of participatory research methods, closely mirroring methodological approaches and epistemological discussions in other fields. This paper positions such approaches as examples of inclusive research (to varying degrees) within education, and illustrates the complexity of navigating and involving different user groups in the context of multi-disciplinary research projects. We illustrate this complexity with examples from our recent work, involving children on the autism spectrum and their teachers. Both groups were involved in learner-centred design processes to develop technologies to support social conversation and collaboration. We conceptualize this complexity as a triple-decker ‘sandwich’ representing Theory, Technologies and Thoughts and argue that all three layers need to be appropriately aligned for a good quality ‘product’ or outcome. However, the challenge lies in navigating and negotiating all three layers at the same time, including the views and experiences of the learners. We question the extent to which it may be possible to combine co-operative, empowering approaches to participatory design with an outcome-focused agenda that seeks to develop a robust learning technology for use in real classrooms.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 19, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 17, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 17, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 17, 2017
Journal International Journal of Research & Method in Education
Print ISSN 1743-727X
Electronic ISSN 1743-7288
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 4
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2014.890584
Keywords HCI, user-centred, participatory, learner-centred, technology design, autism spectrum disorders, social skills, virtual reality
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/724935
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1743727X.2014.890584
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Research & Method in Education on 17 March 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/1743727X.2014.890584.

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