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Keywords:

  • authoring framework;
  • location-based learning;
  • mobile learning;
  • social media;
  • ubiquitous learning;
  • user-generated content

Abstract

Two recent emerging trends are that of Web 2.0, where users actively create content and publish it on the Web, and also location awareness, where a digital device utilizes a person's physical location as the context to provide specific services and/or information. This paper examines how these two phenomena can be brought together so that user-generated content on mobile devices is used to provide informal learning opportunities relevant to a person's location. However, the generative process of such media does not always have much guidance on how or what to create, so the quality of such information can be highly variable. To overcome this, a framework has been designed to guide the authoring of user-generated content so that it can be used for informal learning about one's immediate surroundings (particularly in an outdoor setting), combining pedagogical aspects with those from human–computer interaction and environmental aesthetics. The framework consists of six dimensions that include aspects such as curriculum area (e.g. science, art), type of communication, use of language/media related to the landscape, knowledge level of content, contextual aspects, and types of interaction. In order to test the framework before it could be used to scaffold new content, it was first used to analyse and evaluate over 200 items of existing user-generated content, to investigate the appropriateness of the proposed dimensions and the items contained therein or if any were missing. This paper presents the findings of this initial testing phase, together with a discussion of how the framework can be improved, in order to help scaffold the creation of new user-generated content in the future.