The Blending of Work, Play & Learning Online: The Pajama Effect

The Blending of Work, Play & Learning Online: The Pajama Effect

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-543-8.ch008
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Abstract

Increased connectivity through digitally mediated communications has brought about a radical change in the way people interact and communicate, thus blurring the lines between different facets of life. The pajama effect helps to explain how individuals in an increasingly connected society are able to blend online work, play and learning while remaining productive. Shifts in pedagogy include constructivism and connectivism as the preferred theories for developing m-Learning applications and platforms. Faster and smarter technologies will enable virtual teams, learners, and educators to better collaborate and remain connected.
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Objectives

  • Propose a new term called “the pajama effect” for the purpose of better understanding the phenomenon of how members of a fast-paced, digitally connected society are able to blend the different facets of their lives and still get things done.

  • Define the pajama effect.

  • Identify and discuss current trends in telecommuting and mobile learning.

  • Identify and discuss how technology tools aide in the blending of work, play, and learning, thus changing the way people communicate and collaborate.

  • Explore constructivism as pedagogy for work, play, and learning online.

  • Identify and discuss the future of work, play, and learning, as technology continues to evolve and impact our lives.

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Introduction

Technological advancements shape and re-shape the way people communicate for work, leisure or learning and how they go about their day-to-day activities. Many praise technology for its ability to make things easier, but the other side of technology is that as it brings us closer together, it may also take away our ability to disconnect from our networks and relax. Increased demands on our time have forced us to blend our activities in order to get things done.

In this chapter the blending of work, play and learning are explored through the lens of the pajama effect. The term “pajama effect” is proposed by the authors of this chapter as a means of understanding the blending phenomenon. For the purpose of this discussion, the pajama effect will be defined as:

The pajama effect is the ability of those connected via digitally mediated communications, such as telecommuters and online learners, to blend their private and public lives while remaining highly productive as they work, play and learn online, hence thriving in a flexible environment that is physically detached and where distractions and interruptions abound. Such individuals may work in a more relaxed environment yet they are vulnerable to isolation and other challenges that emerge from being detached from the physical work, play, or learning space.

Despite the challenges of remaining connected and increased demands by employers and educational institutions, users crave increased mobility, higher network speeds and more flexibility. Companies around the globe continue to opt for telecommuting as a means to save, but also to increase productivity. The increase in telecommuting translates into more virtual teaming and extensive requirements for collaborating and communicating using technology.

Education continues to be affected by technological advancements as well. Whether for professional development, specialized training, K-12 online learning or higher education, the blending of learning and playing is more evident with technology. The same is for work, with more professions than ever before relying on virtual reality games for training purposes. Mobile learning technologies will play a key role in the future of learning and sophisticated collaboration tools will enable virtual teams to focus on outcomes. The blending of work, play and learning is inevitable, but manageable. This chapter explores how it influences our lives now and how it may look in the future.

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Background

There is no question that the Internet has blurred the boundaries of time, space and place over the last decade. Offices are becoming homes and homes are becoming offices. Interspersed throughout the workday are tweets, text messages and instant messages that keep us connected with family members and friends but are also often distractions. Bosses can reach from around the globe anytime of the day or night. Online teachers and students can stay in touch any time, anywhere. This also means it is more difficult to call it a day and getting away from work or school. The nine to five is no longer applicable and neither is the school day. Instead of computers becoming human, like the droids in science fiction, humans are becoming computerized. Trends indicate the increase of telecommuters for all industries and point to the rapid expansion of mobile learning for training and education. Others who work or study in a traditional physical space may find themselves working during personal time or simply playing during work time.

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