Learning and motivation in multiple contexts: the development of a heuristic framework
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This paper presents the development of a heuristic framework that integrates three aspects of context (perspective, content and level) from a number of established theoretical approaches. In this framework, context is viewed from different perspectives (subjective and objective), it comprises different contents (physical, social and formal) and it is conceptualised as being multi-level (micro-, meso-, exo- and macrolevel). The resulting graphical representation has 24 individual elements. Examples of empirical studies are used to illustrate how the different elements in the framework may be operationalised to examine learning and motivation. A number of studies by the authors and other researchers are provided that exemplify different combinations of the perspectives, contents and levels of context. The empirical research used reflects a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods including questionnaires, interviews and graphical representations. Examples are drawn not only from academic learning settings but also from domains such as sport and music. Unifying diverse perspectives and incorporating research from multiple settings can deepen our understanding of learning and motivation. The heuristic framework represents a useful way of organising multiple aspects of context. It enables researchers to locate current studies and to generate further empirical work. Conceptual and methodological issues associated with operationalising the framework are briefly discussed, and the complexity of representing multiple, dynamic contexts is highlighted, with some directions for future research noted.
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