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Participation, deliberate learning and discourses of learning online

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2012
JournalLanguage and Education
Number of pages12
Original languageEnglish


This paper uses a study of the photo-sharing website Flickr to examine new online spaces for writing. On this site, people write titles and descriptions for their photos, they annotate their photos with semantic tags, they provide profiles of themselves and they comment on other people's photos. In these activities, people are engaging in new forms of writing and are extending their vernacular practices into new areas. This paper reports on a study which has analysed more than 100 Flickr sites and carried out interviews with 20 multilingual users of Flickr about their online practices. The paper investigates how people learn to participate in these new vernacular writing practices and contributes to theories of situated learning by developing them to take account of learning in online spaces. It focuses in particular on the ways in which Web 2.0 sites provide new spaces for learning and how people undertake deliberate projects of learning. The paper examines the ways in which people talk about the learning they are involved in and the specific discourses of learning they commonly draw upon. This changes over time as people identify new possibilities for themselves on Flickr.