Patterns as a paradigm for theory in community-based learning

  • John M. CarrollEmail author
  • Umer Farooq


Learning about information technology is typically not a first-order goal for community-based volunteer organizations. Nonetheless, information technology is vital to such groups for member recruiting and management, communication and visibility to the community, and for primary group activities. During the past 12 years, we have worked with community groups in Centre County, Pennsylvania, and Montgomery County, Virginia. We have built partnerships with these groups to better understand and address their learning challenges with respect to information technology. In this paper, we suggest that patterns, standard solution schemata for recurring problems (as used in architecture and software engineering, among other design domains), can be a paradigm for codifying and developing an understanding of learning in and by community organizations. Patterns are middle-level abstractions; they capture regularities of practices in ways that are potentially intelligible, verifiable, and perhaps useful to the practitioners themselves. We present two example patterns and discuss issues and directions for developing patterns as a theoretical foundation for community-based learning.


Community informatics Community-based learning Design Informal learning Information technology Organizational informatics Patterns 


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science+ Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Human–Computer Interaction and College of Information Sciences and TechnologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.College of Information Sciences and TechnologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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