"Ward's 'What Dreams May Come,' starring Robin Williams was nominated for production design in addition to winning an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The film, tells an epic love story of soul mates separated by death. The story would inspire Ward to envision the afterlife as a painted world, incorporating state-of-the-art, adapted, and entirely new visual effects technologies in an original, fully articulated, filmic view of imagined realms that may await us after death."
"More recently, with the interest in social theories of learning, there is increased recognition of the complexity of transfer. If learning is situated/contextualised, there is a requirement for disembedding/decontextualisation and re-situating/re-contextualisation, some of which might require more explicit deliberation than others. As Eraut (2004: 256) suggests, the transfer of knowledge entails the interrelated stages of:
1. the extraction of potential relevant knowledge from the context(s) of its acquisition and its previous use
2. understanding the new situation – a process that depends on informal social learning
3. recognising what knowledge and skills are relevant
4. transforming them to fit the new situation
5. integrating them with other knowledge and skills in order to think/act/communicate in the new situation.
This involves building relationships between domains and extending the learning context beyond specific sites, which creates a pedagogic zone in its own right, a hybrid space of in-between contexts.
To move away from the cognitive concept of transfer, a discourse of boundary-crossing and border-crossing has also emerged (Tuomi-Grohn and Engestrom 2003 and 2003a), with associated notions of boundary objects. This is to make explicit the social practices and objects through which learning is mediated, but also to identify that objects may be part of many contexts. In addition, notions of mediation, mobilisation and transition have been deployed as alternative to that of transfer. These emphasise the relational and flow over context as a container.
Rather than focus on transfer of an existing skills set, the practices themselves, while identifiable as the same at some level, take on a different significance when networked into a different set of practices. Here it may be the pattern of participatory processes that are transferred rather than knowledge. This entails moving from a generalised notion of learning transfer to an understanding of the diverse specifics of a context that may be mobilised. To focus on learning per se may not be helpful therefore. Conventionally we might focus on what occurs in one context to the exclusion of others. What is suggested here is that this is only an effective pedagogic strategy if we assume context as a container. When we start to question that, the interesting pedagogic space is that in-between arena of boundary practices, where ‘elements from both sides are always present in the boundary zone’ (Tuomi-Grohn, et al. 2003: 5). These are not closed spaces but hybrid, networked and mediated domains, which give raise to alternative framings and metaphors.
Here the notion of a boundary object is crucial. The notion of boundary objects was developed in actor-network theory (ANT) (Star 1989), but has also been taken up by Wenger (1998) in his conceptualisation of communities of practice. In ANT, ‘like the blackboard, a boundary object "sits in the middle" of a group of actors with divergent viewpoints’ (Star 1989: 46). Boundary objects circulate through networks playing different roles in different situations. They are not merely material; boundary objects can be ‘stuff and things, tools, artefacts and techniques, and ideas, stories and memories’ (Bowker and Start 2000: 298). For Wenger (1998: 107) boundary objects work at the edges of communities of practice mediating their external relationships; ‘they enable co-ordination, but they can do so without actually creating a bridge between the perspectives and the meanings of various communities’."
(Richard Edwards, SCUTREA Conference 2005)
*Bowker, G. and Star, S. (2000) Sorting things out: classification and its consequences, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.
*Eraut, M. (2004) ‘Informal learning in the workplace’, Studies in Continuing Education, 26, 2, pp. 247-74.
*Star, S. L. (1989) ‘The structure of ill-structured solutions: boundary objects and heterogeneous distributed problem solving’, in L. Gasser and M. Huhns (eds) Distributed artificial intelligence, Vol. II, London, Pitman.
*Tuomi-Grohn, T. and Engestrom, Y. (eds) (2003) Between work and school: new perspectives on transfer and boundary-crossing, London, Pergamon.
*Tuomi-Grohn, T. and Engestrom, Y. (2003a) ‘Conceptualising transfer: from standard notions to developmental notions’, in T. Tuomi-Grohn and Y. Engestrom (eds) Between work and school: new perspectives on transfer and boundary-crossing, London, Pergamon.
*Tuomi-Grohn, T., Engestrom, Y. and Young, M. (2003) ‘From transfer to boundary-crossing between school and work as a tool for developing vocational education: an introduction’, in T. Tuomi-Grohn and Y. Engestrom (eds) Between work and school: new perspectives on transfer and boundary-crossing, London Pergamon.