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Typology Relationships

Page history last edited by rose.luckin@... 12 years ago



[Framework Home] [Phase 1] [Phase 2] [Phase 3]

2.3 Typology Relationships


This step is similar to the preceding one relating to component relations. However, whereas that looked at identifying "sets" of things, this step focuses on the nature and/or characteristics of things. For example, whereas a room, construed as a component relationship (i.e. a 'part') is non-specific, i.e. it is a space within a building; a room which is defined as a kitchen, or lounge, or canteen, or classroom offers a more fine-grained definition, as a type of thing.  The former is more generic, the latter is more descriptive. The description of the type of thing can tell us a lot more about the potential utility or filters/influences particular types of thing are likely to play within the learner's context. Similarly, for example, we might look at people as types - focusing, perhaps on the roles they adopt - this would tell us more about their potential utility as a MAP in relation to the designated learning need. For instance, the types of people we might encounter within the learner's ZAA could be: parent, teacher, museum guide, shopkeeper, sibling, relative, stranger, etc. The kind of question asked in this step is "What kind of ...?" For example, if we consider the notion of parent as an available resource... the type of parent (father/mother) and their additional characteristics might have different implications (ways of filtering) the kind or amount of assistance available to the learner, e.g. one or both parents may work, be at home at different times of day, etc. Similarly with spaces, a kitchen or toilet might have different potentials compared to, say, a lounge and a garden might offer different potentials again, compared to the lounge, or the street, or the park or garage. A computer may offer different potentials to a notepad and pencil and vice versa. Thus, we might say, that examining the typological relationships in the learner's ZAA (zone of available assistance) enable the learner and her MAP to make the most appropriate selections for particular design solutions (scaffolds and/or adjustments in Phase 3) relating to the learner's learning need.


This process, like Phase 1, can be iterative. You may, for example, find that you need to consider not only 'what kind of thing is this' but also 'what kind of thing is this relative to other similar things' - so the typological description of available resources is both about the thing itself and about its relation to other comparable things. For example, the learner can use both a computer and a notepad and pencil to communicate or to record ideas or to be creative in some way but the ways in which these two things provide for this activity are different, e.g. one requires electricity or some alternative power input, the other does not.


For more on this step see pp 93-95, pp 118-145 in Re-designing Learning Contexts.




  • typology relationships are concerned with identifying kinds of things and their characteristics
  • identification and consideration of these characteristics may relate to the thing itself or its comparable relation to something similar
  • types of things may carry with them particular kinds of affordances and constraints (e.g. a kitchen may have safety issues; a mobile phone may need a battery)
  • exploring typological relationships generates a useful chain of descriptors around a particular type of knowledge, tool, person, resource, environment
  • typology relationships may include rules, norms, conventions (e.g. bedtime, mealtimes, school day, timetable, etc.)
  • the identification of typology relationships supports the subsequent design of scaffolds/adjustments in Phase 3 of the EoR Design Framework 


Recognising and mapping typology relationships:


The following EoR model is a descriptive model generated in the early stages of a project and focusing on a particular learning activity. It gives a snapshot of a particular stage in a participatory research activity co-designed by research team and participants. It was generated as part of the Self-Managed Learning case study.





In this example, the typology relationships are highlighted using a double-edged rectangle. In the Knowledge category element, for example, the notion of 'retrieving information' is presented as a type of process, the 'Internet' meanwhile, is presented as a type of technology - and Technology itself is (here) presented as a type of Knowledge category. Similarly, in the Environment category element (on the right of the EoR Model), the elements 'lounge' and 'kitchen' are presented as types of room. In the Tools/People category element (at the bottom of the EoR Model) - Researcher, Peers and Mentor are presented as parts of the set of things which, collectively fall within the designation 'people'. Conceivably, of course, the roles of Researcher and Mentor could also be conceived of as types of people.

Links to Case Studies:


The following links will take you to a varied range of study examples showing how this step of the EoR Model and Design Framework have been applied in practice.


001. Self-Managed Learning

002. Language Learning (Immersive Language Study in France)

003. Language Learning (miLexicon: Designing Support for Personal & Collaborative Learning Environments) 


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