Working out the context

Under Activity 10 I need to address 3 things so here goes:

Your contribution to the group effort of articulating the context.

I’m no expert on Reflective Practice so did not have an awful lot to say about where we chose to situate our digital diary project. It did not seem that relevant where it was, it just needed to be somewhere. So on that basis we went for a context close to an area of work for one of our team. This was initially framed quite broadly (a toolkit for business mentors to pass on to those they were mentoring). Nicola wrote a good piece setting out this project along with some early ideas on challenge etc. What became clear as we looked at our 8 personas was that our framework was a bit too broad – we had mentors assisting unemployed into work, and those who did not know anything about reflection. We identified this as an issue when we met Wed week 15 and agreed last Friday evening (all 4 in a hangout) to focus back on business mentors. The comments from our readers on design studio showed some support for this narrowing of focus.

What have I found challenging

  • Understanding the bigger picture of what we are doing
  • Coping with the pressures of group work and collaboration across differing working patterns
  • Handling the tension between task and learning. We can divide-and-conquer and complete the task (an individual co-ordinated approach) or learn more by allowing time to discuss and refine what we have done – but inevitably achieve less
  • The fact that this is an assessed piece of groupwork. Sadly this pushes all my buttons: a desire to do well, a desire to do my fair share (and not let people down). ¬†Assessment adds heat to existing reactive forces above.

What have I learned from it?

It’s taken me a while to understand the rationale for the process we were being taken through. However, now out the other end I can see some benefits. The process of generating personas, and considering the forces acting on them does generate a deeper understanding of what the design needs to consider. Force maps are an untidy method of consolidating the overall picture. While I see these as messy – the act of creating them does help you to begin to see linkages and commonalities – the end product itself may not be useful but the “workings out” aid your understanding. Having said that I particularly liked the Force Map that Asanka put together for a different team project using our old friend Compendium LD. It seems to me that these diagrams and representations are useful as objects that stimulate conversation – and when worked on as a team help to give a common shared understanding of the project. Sadly the framing of this block and our lives-beyond-study have not lent themselves to having these useful conversations.


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