Learning by touch - the potential of our senses in the spotlight at international conference

Apr 19, 2010 | Research/Cooperation

Not everyone shares the same conditions when it comes to accessing information. So how can we design information so as not to exclude certain groups, such as the visually impaired? This is a central issue when Mälardalen University, in cooperation with the The Swedish Braille Authority, organizes a conference about Multimodal Learning Processes on 21-22 April.

Several internationally renowned scientists will participate at the conference, to be hosted at Mälardalen University in Eskilstuna. One of them is Prof. Barbara Tversky of Stanford University in San Francisco. Her research focuses on how people communicate through pictures and gestures, and by combining text, image and body language.

Two other well-known names in the program are Peter Gärdenfors, a cognitive scientist who has written books on our thinking and actions, and Germund Hesslow, a brain scientist, philosopher and science theorist.

- The conference is aimed at students, teachers and researchers who in one way or another are dealing with people, learning and design. But the conference is also for educators at various levels and producers of teaching materials , says Yvonne Eriksson, one of the initiators at the university and professor of information design.

The subject of information design at Mälardalen University offers teaching and research on the design of information, for example via the research project Tactile Navigation (transmission of information through touch), where The Swedish Braille Authority is a partner.

- We regard information as a tool to help people, through pictures, text and space, to make sense of instructions and social issues, among other things. And there are several areas of application for information design: health care, cultural heritage sites, as well as industrial and manufacturing systems, says Yvonne Eriksson.

She emphasizes the importance of working with a focus on people's individual abilities and limitations when it comes to access to information. This is one of the things that will be discussed at the conference on different learning processes.