Designing for Non-Formal Learning: New Perspectives on Therapy, Learning, and Communication

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingResearch


    Implementation of information technology is evident within different sectors of society such that adoption presents new opportunities in ever-widening circles. Such widespread use includes by, and for, disabled people. Within this community it has been reported that use of IT can augment opportunities in empowerment of children with impairment, especially in respect of their ‘non-formal learning' potentials. The questioning of how to best use the technology so as to optimise possibilities and overcome constraints in education, therapy and rehabilitation is an aspect of my talk.

    Additionally, I reflect upon how, by questioning the technology as introduced above, interesting paradigms for design become apparent. Certain of these are application- specific and others are more generic. Such paradigms have been subject of limited research which I suggest should be extended to question from a social semiotic point of view. This is due to the fact that design is a way to configure communicative resources and social interaction (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001) which, from my position, supports designing for non-formal learning which is at the core of my research.

    In this presentation, I will introduce my perspective on designing for non-formal learning by elaborating from a position at the juncture of social semiotics and Vygotskian inspired socio-cultural theories. The embodied complex processes of sign transformation, by way of modes, media, play and engagement will be discussed. To support my position I will present examples from my research.

    Eva Petersson, PhD, is vice institute leader and lecturer in Medialogy at Aalborg University Esberg in Denmark. Her work focuses on the role of artefacts in the development of play, engagement, and learning. She applies this expertise within interdisciplinary teams developing responsive environments for children with different abilities. Emphasis in her current research lies on user-centred design and non-formal learning in different settings.  She has lead and coordinated several research and development projects since 1998. Petersson is member of the board of the Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) and Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE). She has been the secretary of the International Toy Research Association (ITRA).

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd International Congress on Art, Brain & Languages
    PublisherUniversity of Lisboa
    Publication date2008
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    Event2nd International Congress on Art, Brain & Languages - Porto, Portugal
    Duration: 11 Sep 200812 Sep 2008
    Conference number: 2nd


    Conference2nd International Congress on Art, Brain & Languages


    Cite this

    Petersson, E. (2008). Designing for Non-Formal Learning: New Perspectives on Therapy, Learning, and Communication. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress on Art, Brain & Languages University of Lisboa.