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Title: Learning through techno-human entwinement: Implications for the adoption of technologies drawn from agricultural and ICT interventions in the Philippines
Keywords: sociomateriality;technology adoption;sensemaking;affordance;entwinement;shared affordance
Publisher: University of Sydney;Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences;School of Education and Social Work
Description: In developing countries, such as the Philippines, there is great concern among educational, government and non-government organizations regarding the implementation of agricultural technologies delivered through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), at both regional and national levels. While these types of introduced technologies are discussed in the literature of organizational practice, they are largely absent in studies of management and informal education. This study seeks to address this paucity by investigating the entwinement (i.e. process of interweaving) of humans and this type of introduced technologies through the theoretical perspectives of sociomateriality (i.e. interweaving of human and technologies) and sensemaking (i.e. giving meaning to experience). More specifically, it examines how farmers learn through a process of interweaving with one specific intervention – use of ICT to learn agricultural technologies. Using the theoretical perspective of sociomateriality (Orlikowski, 2008; Leonardi, 2012) to examine farmers’ views on the affordances of interventions, this study illustrates how their learning is bound up in an ever-deepening entwinement with the technology through which it is delivered. In addition, this study investigates the processes, which lead to its adoption, through the perspective of sensemaking (Weick, 2005). Conducted as an ethnographic case study, this research draws on observations of farmers’ practices for over four months in two Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) centres in Region XI, in the Philippines. These centres aimed to deliver agricultural technologies through ICT. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis. Participants included 32 farmers, two FITS managers, an instructional designer, five FITS/village staff members, a farmer scientist, and three community and farmer group leaders. As to the findings related to the possibility of an action to an object, it indicates that participant’s perspectives can be grouped in three distinct ways namely: as a bundle of technical features inherent in the properties of technological tools (e.g., sending email, viewing diseases), as design features of the services provided and as relations between these features. These perspectives appear to build on one another, resulting in ongoing improvement and the emergence of new technologies, routines, affordances, and the altered perception of new constraints. This expansion of perception results in a shift from individual to group affordances. Through the perspective of sensemaking (Weick, 2005), this study identifies two types of sensemakers among the farmers: minimal sensemakers and reflective sensemakers. It also reveals two new influences, previously unrecognized in the literature which resulted to limited sensemaking: a) external affordances (e.g., subsidies) and b) the emergence of a cultural trait, “gaya-gaya” (i.e. imitation). Moreover, these results further illustrate how the sensemaking process is made visible when viewed from a sociomaterial perspective. Using the assumptions of the sociomaterial perspective that learning is made visible in practice, this study found that participants progressed through three stages, namely: figuring, configuring and reconfiguring. Findings indicate that during ‘figuring’, the farmers engaged in various learning processes by observing others and engaging in verbal exchanges (e.g., linking new abstract ideas with material objects, organizing ideas, and verbal referencing). In ‘configuring’, farmers learned by experimentation, storytelling, group learning and the integration of sociomaterial objects in farming routines. During ‘reconfiguring’, farmers engaged in experimentation that focused on the creation of new knowledge and understanding, and the manipulation of new artefacts. The findings of this study are vital for understanding how an individual’s perspectives, sensemaking and ways of learning lead to adoption. It contributes to the literature new insights into the process of entwinement between individuals and interventions using the perspectives of sociomateriality and sensemaking in the context of informal education in a developing country.
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Type Of Material: OTHER
Appears in Collections:Postgraduate Theses

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