Epistemic Fluency and Mobile Technology: A Professional-Plus Perspective

Part of the Understanding Teaching-Learning Practice book series (UTLP)


What does it mean to be a resourceful and skilful professional in an environment saturated with intelligent devices and connected to diverse knowledge resources and human networks? This chapter discusses the roles of mobile technology in professional work and learning from an extended hybrid mind perspective. We argue that professional knowledge and skills extend beyond individual humans to their physical, technological and social environment. Learning to be a professional means learning to extend and entwine one’s knowledge and skills with ‘intelligence’ that is embedded and embodied in a distributed technology–human environment. In doing so, we argue that practitioners become ‘professional-plus’. They need capabilities to work with different kinds of knowledge and embrace diverse ways of knowing that are distributed across humans with different expertise and machines. We call this capability ‘epistemic fluency’.


  1. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1993). Surpassing ourselves: An inquiry into the nature and implications of expertise. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  2. Bourdieu, P. (1979). La distinction: Critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32–42. Scholar
  4. Ciolfi, L., & de Carvalho, A. (2014). Work practices, nomadicity and the mediational role of technology. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 23(2), 119–136. Scholar
  5. Claborn, K., Becker, S., Ramsey, S., Rich, J., & Friedmann, P. D. (2017). Mobile technology intervention to improve care coordination between HIV and substance use treatment providers: Development, training, and evaluation protocol. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 12(1), 8. Scholar
  6. Clark, A. (2011). Supersizing the mind: Embodiment, action and cognitive extension. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cook, S. D. N., & Brown, J. S. (1999). Bridging epistemologies: The generative dance between organizational knowledge and organizational knowing. Organization Science, 10(4), 381–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cooren, F., Taylor, J., & Van Every, E. (Eds.). (2006). Communicating as organizing: Empirical and theoretical explorations in the dynamic of text and conversation. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Damasio, A. R. (2012). Self comes to mind: Constructing the conscious brain. New York, NY: Vintage books.Google Scholar
  10. Dimond, R., Bullock, A., Lovatt, J., & Stacey, M. (2016). Mobile learning devices in the workplace: ‘As much a part of the junior doctors’ kit as a stethoscope’? BMC Medical Education, 16(1), 207. Scholar
  11. Donald, M. (1991). Origins of the modern mind: Three stages in the evolution of culture and cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Edwards, R., & Fenwick, T. (2016). Digital analytics in professional work and learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 38(2), 213–227. Scholar
  13. Ericsson, K. A. (2006). The influence of experience and deliberate practice on the development of superior expert performance. In K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich, & R. R. Hoffman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 683–703). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ericsson, K. A. (Ed.). (2009). Development of professional expertise: Toward measurement of expert performance and design of optimal learning environments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Evetts, J. (2014). The concept of professionalism: Professional work, professional practice and learning. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & H. Gruber (Eds.), International handbook of research in professional and practice-based learning (pp. 29–56). Dordrecht: Springer, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  16. Fenwick, T. (2016a). Professional responsibility and professionalism. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fenwick, T. (2016b). Social media, professionalism and higher education: A sociomaterial consideration. Studies in Higher Education, 41(4), 664–677. Scholar
  18. Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2016). Exploring the impact of digital technologies on professional responsibilities and education. European Educational Research Journal, 15(1), 117–ß131. Scholar
  19. Fenwick, T., & Nerland, M. (Eds.). (2014). Reconceptualising professional learning: Sociomaterial knowledges, practices and responsibilities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Goodwin, C. (2005). Seeing in depth. In S. J. Derry, C. D. Schunn, & M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Interdisciplinary collaboration: An emerging cognitive science (pp. 85–121). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Greene, J. A., Sandoval, W. A., & Bråten, I. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of epistemic cognition. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Greeno, J. G. (2012). Concepts in activities and discourses. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 19(3), 310–313. Scholar
  23. Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hutchins, E. (2010). Cognitive ecology. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2(4), 705–715. Scholar
  25. Hutchins, E., & Klausen, T. (1996). Distributed cognition in an airline cockpit. In Y. Engestrom & D. Middleton (Eds.), Cognition and communication at work (pp. 15–34). Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ichikawa, J. J., & Steup, M. (2016). The analysis of knowledge. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2016 edition). Retrieved from
  27. Jonassen, D. H. (2011). Learning to solve problems: A handbook for designing problem-solving learning environments. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Kakihara, M., & Sørensen, C. (2002). “Post-modern” professionals’ work and mobile technology: LSE, Department of Information Systems.Google Scholar
  29. Kitchener, K. S. (1983). Cognition, metacognition, and epistemic cognition. A three-level model of cognitive processing. Human Development, 26(4), 222–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Knorr Cetina, K. (2001). Objectual practice. In T. R. Schatzki, K. Knorr Cetina, & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory (pp. 175–188). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Latour, B. (1994). On technical mediation: Philosophy, sociology, geneaology. Common Knowledge, 3(2), 29–64.Google Scholar
  32. Malafouris, L. (2012). How things shape the mind: A theory of material engagement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Markauskaite, L., & Goodyear, P. (2014). Professional work and knowledge. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & H. Gruber (Eds.), International handbook of research in professional and practice-based learning (Vol. 1, pp. 79–106). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Markauskaite, L., & Goodyear, P. (2017). Epistemic fluency and professional education: Innovation, knowledgeable action and actionable knowledge. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mengis, J., Nicolini, D., & Swan, J. (2018). Integrating knowledge in the face of epistemic uncertainty: Dialogically drawing distinctions. Management Learning, 49(5), 595–612. Scholar
  36. Morrison, D., & Collins, A. (1996). Epistemic fluency and constructivist learning environments. In B. Wilson (Ed.), Constructivist learning environments (pp. 107–119). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.Google Scholar
  37. Nerland, M., & Jensen, K. (2014). Learning through epistemic practices in professional work: Examples from nursing and engineering. In T. Fenwick & M. Nerland (Eds.), Reconceptualising professional learning: Sociomaterial knowledges, practices and responsibilities (pp. 25–37). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Nespor, J. (1994). Knowledge in motion: Space, time and curriculum in undergraduate physics and management. Knowledge, identity and school life. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  39. Nicolini, D., Mengis, J., & Swan, J. (2012). Understanding the role of objects in cross-disciplinary collaboration. Organization Science, 23(3), 612–629. Scholar
  40. Obermeyer, Z., & Emanuel, E. J. (2016). Predicting the future—Big data, machine learning, and clinical medicine. The New England Journal of Medicine, 375(13), 1216–1219. Scholar
  41. Orlikowski, W. J. (2006). Material knowing: The scaffolding of human knowledgeability. European Journal of Information Systems, 15(5), 460. Scholar
  42. Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448. Scholar
  43. Perkins, D. N. (1993). Person-plus: A distributed view of thinking and learning. In G. Salomon (Ed.), Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations (pp. 88–110). Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Perkins, D. N. (1997). Epistemic games. International Journal of Educational Research, 27(1), 49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (1989). Are cognitive skills context-bound? Educational Researcher, 18(1), 16–25. Scholar
  46. PwC. (2016). The wearable life 2.0: Connected living in a wearable world. United States: PwC.Google Scholar
  47. Rivera Pelayo, V. (2015). Design and application of quantified self approaches for reflective learning in the workplace. KIT Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
  48. Rossitto, C., Bogdan, C., & Severinson-Eklundh, K. (2014). Understanding constellations of technologies in use in a collaborative nomadic setting. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 23(2), 137–161. Scholar
  49. Säljö, R. (2010). Digital tools and challenges to institutional traditions of learning: Technologies, social memory and the performative nature of learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 53–64. Scholar
  50. Säljö, R. (2012). Literacy, digital literacy and epistemic practices: The co-evolution of hybrid minds and external memory systems. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 7(01), 5–19.Google Scholar
  51. Salomon, G., Perkins, D. N., & Globerson, T. (1991). Partners in cognition: Extending human intelligence with intelligent technologies. Educational Researcher, 20(3), 2–9. Scholar
  52. Suchman, L. (2007). Human-machine reconfigurations: Plans and situated actions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia
  2. 2.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Deakin UniversityBurwood, MelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations