Current research on learning technologies focuses on the interoperability and standardisation of digital media (or "learning objects"), and the technical environments that broker these resources. Whilst technical advances are being made towards this end, there are still unanswered questions as to how digital resources are used in practice to support learning. This research proposes an original inquiry into how higher education students and faculty utilise individual file storage space, and socially share knowledge and digital information. Borrowing on successful techniques, such as contextual inquiry, and design research methods, this research will examine the domain of activity in higher education, considering the way existing technologies and everyday artefacts are used, to assist the learning process. This will provide a basis for improving or enhancing these settings through the introduction of new technologies, or enhancing existing tools. The extrapolated design criteria will be based on direct experience of the work to be supported, along with consideration of the technical possibilities, to avoid the error of working solely with abstract representations of learning technology's practical use. Findings will in turn be implemented on the return phase of the project, in an Irish institute of higher education, and cross-cultural comparisons will be drawn. The key issue lies in how digital learning resources can best support users in their daily learning activities on an individual and social level.
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