A Tacit Understanding

A Tacit Understanding: The designer’s role in capturing and passing on the skilled knowledge of master craftsmen

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Wood, N. Rust, C. Horne, G. (2009) A Tacit Understanding: The designer’s role in capturing and passing on the skilled knowledge of master craftsmen International Journal of Design (online) 3.3

Download full paper from The International Journal of Design

From 2007 to 2009 Nicola and Grace explored the practical application of methods and theories developed in Nicola’s doctoral research into transmitting craft knowledge

Nicola’s 7-year research into tacit learning and multimedia has led to an understanding of how craft skills may be elicited and embodied in learning resources. The most recent project has developed and evaluated a practical system for designers who wish to undertake this work. By engaging with master craftsmen, expert learners and novices to create and use a web-based learning resource it was found that well-motivated learners,working in physical isolation but supported by an online community, could acquire difficult new skills and use them in creative ways. The paper also outlines key theory from the preceding research to explain how this is achieved. It also indicates how the focus of the research has moved from the production of highly structured conventional multimedia materials to the use of web 2.0 resources that invite participation and exchange by learners.

The research was supported by a grant from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) without which the work would not have been possible.

More information and illustrations of the research can be found on the project website

Abstract

Over the past 7 years we have investigated how craft skills may be elicited and embodied in multimedia learning resources. This led to an understanding of the principles of eliciting and transmitting such knowledge (Wood, 2006). The most recent project has developed and evaluated a practical system for designers who wish to undertake this work. By engaging with master craftsmen, expert learners and novices to create and use a web-based learning resource it was found that well-motivated learners, working in physical isolation but supported by an online community, could acquire difficult new skills and use them in creative ways. The paper also outlines key theory from the preceding research to explain how this is achieved. It indicates how the focus of the research has moved from the production of highly structured conventional multimedia materials to the use of web 2.0 resources that invite participation and exchange by learners.

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