Title: How FLOSS Participation Supports Lifelong Learning and Working: Apprenticeship Across Time and Spatialities
Author: Aditya Johri, George Mason University
Abstract: In this paper I draw on two case studies to examine participatory learning in Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS). I contribute to prior work on learning within FLOSS and also to the learning sciences by illustrating how FLOSS supports lifelong learning and working by providing an ecosystem that allows participants to grow their knowledge of both technical and non-technical skills over time through their association with different projects and people. I trace the learning trajectories of two participants from high school until they enter the professional workforce and beyond. I argue that FLOSS participation represents an ideal networked form of learning as it provides both socio-cognitive support for short term activities and also socio-temporal support for long term participation and learning. It is a unique form of apprenticeship that exists concurrently with formal educational experiences but unlike traditional apprenticeship experiences it succeeds by spanning different spatialities – place/space and technology mix – and temporal scales.