Tailorability or appropriation or malleability or flexbility refers to capability of an artifact (e.g. a pedagogical text or a tool) of being adapted to a given purpose or function.
Appropriation (or tailorability): how an individual or group adapts a technology to their own particular situation; the technology may be appropriated in a manner completely unintended by the designers. Wikipedia, retrieved 14:27, 12 January 2009 (UTC).
In educational technology, various researchers did express their concern with the lack of tailorability of educational software. E.g. Dillenbourg (2004:6) state that: “Another weakness of CSCL scripts is the loss of flexibility: good teachers adapt their plan on the flight, based on their observation of group processes, and this adaptation is often more difficult when the script is embedded into a computerized environment. This rigidity is however not intrinsic to any software. They rather result from the fact that CSCL designers so far under-estimated the teachers' needs to modify scripts on the fly.”
The authors argue that different kinds of users need different levels: “The user/learner needs only the configurability of the system (Tailorability by Customisation), the teacher/facilitator needs the Tailorability by Integration, the researcher requires to expand the fixed set of tool with new additional services/ tools (Tailorability by Expansion) and, finally, the developer is entitled to the full tailorability that can be offered, by extending the system with newly designed tools (Tailorability by Extension).”
Dillenbourg and Tchounikine
Dillenbourg and Tchounikine (2007) distinguish between intrinsic constraints and extrinsic constraints that exist in CSCL macroscripts, i.e. scripts that define a integrated pedagogical method that aims at producing some kind of desired interactions, (see CSCL script). Their model is also applicable - maybe with some various - to various other kinds of learning designs.
- Teacher flexibility
Flexibility does not just concern scenario design, but also its instantiation in concrete situations and run-time modifications (needs some explanation ...). Therefore the authors distinguish these four broad tailorability situations:
- Script edition
- Script instantiation
- Session set up
- Run time
- Flexibility for the student
Typically, CSCL script do not often allow for a lot of flexibility on the students side. However, some scripts allow for free role distribution for example
- Computer supported cooperative work (Wikipedia)
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- Dillenbourg,P. and P. Tchounikine. Flexibility in macro CSCL scripts. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 13(1):1-13, 2007.
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