Assessing informal learning: a case study using historical audio guides

FitzGerald, Elizabeth (2012). Assessing informal learning: a case study using historical audio guides. In: CALRG Annual Conference 2012, 19-20 Jun 2012, Milton Keynes, UK.



This paper presents the findings from a study that investigated how geolocated audio could be used to provide opportunities for public learning of history. The project, utilising mobile media and informal learning, was a collaboration between academic and community-based historians interested in enhancing public understanding of selected aspects of the history of Nottingham. It was concerned with supporting the enhancement of historical literacy, historical ‘empathy’, and participants’ abilities to draw informed conclusions about contested historical subject matter. The historical subject matter was the 1831 Reform Riots in Nottingham, around which a local community history group designed a guided ‘history walk’. The project supported a realisation of this walk and also gathered participant responses from both a ‘people-led’ walk and an alternative ‘technology-led’ version of the walk, where a media experience was delivered to participants through handheld devices that triggered the playing of audio files with information contained from different historical sources at specific locations of relevance to the Reform Riots around the city of Nottingham. Responses were recorded via a combination of methods: by questionnaires filled in immediately after each walk, researcher observations, and debriefing sessions of selected participants.

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