Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


This study showed that the eventual uses and utility of multimedia products are often far removed from supplier presumptions. Social learning is therefore crucial to how generic Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capabilities are applied and used in particular settings. In creating new multimedia products and services, diverse players are forced to collaborate: suppliers of ICTs and complementary products, media specialists and users. Certain actors (intermediaries) play a key role in maintaining such collaboration and knowledge flows. The importance of social learning is reflected in the proliferation of multimedia experiments: pilots, feasibility studies and trials, which provide a forum for resolving the uncertainties and differences surrounding the development of new multimedia products. Multimedia projects remain inherently experimental. However the importance of this innovative effort, and the knowledge it throws up, has often been overlooked. The study highlighted the various options for organising social learning, from user-centred design, to evolutionary models in which technical and market development go hand in hand, and laissez-faire approaches in which users configure standard commodified technical components to their particular purposes.
Multimedia is thus an 'unfinished' technology, which evolves, and acquires its meanings in its implementation and use (innofusion). Non-specialist 'users' play an active role in fitting these offerings to their purposes, making them useful and imparting significance (domestication).

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