Learning with Information Systems: Learning Cycles in Information Systems Development

By Simon Bell | Go to book overview

8

AN OVERVIEW OF THE LEARNING PROCESS

Chapter 1 introduced the major fields in the study of the application of analysis and design tools in developing countries. The two core areas discussed were development and systems approaches. In relation to development, the topics discussed were: perceptions of the developing countries and the development process; technology transfer; and the policy issues involved in the interaction between donor agencies such as the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) and the recipient in developing countries. With regard to systems, the range of perceptions of systems, from machine-like and functional to soft, was briefly introduced; systems analysis and design was defined and considered as a systems planning and development tool. Eclectic methodologies were introduced as one means of combining the strengths of the soft and hard approaches to systems analysis and design.

Chapter 2 focused on delineating differences between the two generalised methods of systems work, soft and hard; it reviewed issues arising from previous development experience in developing countries, specifically in relation to agricultural research and rapid rural development planning. Finally it reviewed the available literature on the interaction between computers and information systems and the development process. The purpose of the chapter was to refine the area of interest, specifically focusing on eclectic systems development and the potential for linking it to the current development practice of Rapid Rural Appraisal.

Chapter 3 took points made in Chapter 1 and 2 and set out the research question:

Is a flexible, eclectic systems analysis and design tool such as Multiview an appropriate planning and development methodology for introducing information systems into developing countries?

Chapter 4 discussed various appropriate research methods and presented an argument for the use of the action-research approach for the fieldwork. The fieldwork was briefly introduced. The section on the structure of the fieldwork (pp. 79-81) described the manner in which the three pieces of fieldwork related to each other—chronologically, logically and comparatively.

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Learning with Information Systems: Learning Cycles in Information Systems Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures viii
  • Tables x
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Summary of Contents xv
  • Part I - Introducing the Context 1
  • 1 - Introduction and Background 3
  • 2 - Information Systems and Planning in Developing Countries 30
  • Part II - The Question and the Approach 57
  • 3 - The Question for This Book 59
  • 4 - Selecting the Research Approach 62
  • Part III - Action-Research Learning 83
  • 5 - Learning Cycle 1: a Department of Roads 85
  • 6 - Learning Cycle 2: an Administrative Staff College 123
  • 7 - Learning Cycle 3: a Board for Technical Education 148
  • Part IV - Overview and Conclusions 175
  • 8 - An Overview of the Learning Process 177
  • 9 - The Next Steps 195
  • Notes 208
  • Bibliography 210
  • Index 224
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