Charting the Labyrinths

Call for Papers, Safety Science Special Issue on Learning from Incidents

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Updated on 5 January 2016:

The timeline for our Safety Science special issue on Learning from Incidents has been extended as follows:

31 March 2016 – Submission deadline for papers
1 July 2016 – Authors receive reviewers’ comments
31 September – Revised manuscripts submitted
31 December – Authors receive reviewers’ comments on revised manuscripts
1 February – Authors receive decision on manuscripts
31 March 2017 – Editorial and order of manuscripts passed onto journal administrator
End of Q3 – special issue published


Neville Stanton, Allison Littlejohn and I are co-editing a special issue on Learning from Incident to be published in Safety Science.

Papers are due by 31 March 2016. Further details and instructions are below.

Do let us know if you are interested in submitting a paper. Help in circulating this call would be much appreciated.  We look forward to receiving submissions.

Call for papers: Special issue of Safety Science on Learning from Incidents

Guest Editors

Professor Neville Stanton, University of Southampton

Dr Anoush Margaryan, Glasgow Caledonian University

Professor Allison Littlejohn, Open University


The ability to learn from incidents it essential for safety in all organisations, industries, regulatory bodies and policy makers. Safety Science has a long history of innovations in theory, methodology, science and application. For example, accident causation models that first emerged in the early 1900s have since evolved to consider entire systems and emergent properties (e.g. Heinrich, 1931; Leveson, 2004; Perrow, 1984; Rasmussen, 1997; Reason, 1990). Similarly, methodologies have moved from focussing on tasks (Taylor, 1911) to entire systems and the constraints shaping behaviour (e.g. Vicente, 1999). However Learning from Incidents is yet to embrace theories and methods from the learning sciences. A new repertoire of theories, methods and instruments evolved from interdisciplinary perspectives is needed to learn from incidents effectively.

The aim of this special issue is to provide researchers and practitioners with an opportunity to present and discuss contemporary, forecasted, and required paradigm shifts to learn from incidents. We welcome submissions from all disciplines, including, but not restricted to: Adult and Organisational Learning, Computer Science, Engineering, Sociology, Industrial Psychology, Human Factors Engineering.

Manuscripts from any domain are welcomed on:

  • Reviews of state of the art of LfI;
  • Whole of systems approaches to LfI;
  • New methodologies for researching LfI;
  • New instruments for measuring LfI;
  • Inter-disciplinary insights into LfI;
  • Case studies involving new concepts to LfI;
  • Commentaries on LfI and the future for the Safety Science discipline
  • Reports on intervention studies into improving LfI
  • Approaches to facilitating and enhancing interactions between researchers, practitioners and policymakers in LfI

Timeline (updated on 5 January 2016)


31 March 2016 – Submission deadline for papers
1 July 2016 – Authors receive reviewers’ comments
31 September – Revised manuscripts submitted
31 December – Authors receive reviewers’ comments on revised manuscripts
1 February – Authors receive decision on manuscripts
31 March 2017 – Editorial and order of manuscripts passed onto journal administrator
End of Q3 – special issue published


Instructions for authors

The deadline for receipt of papers is 1st February 2016, with a projected publication date of mid 2017. All papers will be subjected to the standard peer-review procedures of the journal. Potential authors are requested to submit their paper for consideration to Professor Neville Stanton (, Dr Anoush Margaryan (, Professor Allison Littlejohn ( prior to electronic submission so that the Guest Editors can ensure its scope and quality is suitable for the special issue.

Following approval, papers should be submitted online via the Elsevier Safety Science manuscript submission site . When specifying ‘Article Type’ authors should select ‘SI: Learning from Incidents”. Failure to do so will cause the papers to go unrecognised as belonging to the special issue.

Guidelines for authors can also be found on the Safety Science website.

Written by anoush

August 27, 2015 at 15:48

Papers in updated Google Scholar citations rankings

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I was pleased to find out this morning that several papers I have co-authored achieved high ranking in the recent update of Google Scholar citation metrics:

  1. The most cited paper in the journal Computers and Education (the top journal in Google Scholar Educational Technology category) in the last 5 years: Margaryan, A., Littlejohn, A., & Vojt. G. (2011). Are digital natives a myth or reality? University students’ use of digital technologies. Computers and Education, 56(2), 429-440.
  2. The second most cited paper in the Journal of Online Teaching and Learning (no 20 in Educational Technology category) in the past 5 years: Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2).
  3. The fifth most cited paper in the Journal of Workplace Learning (no 17 in Google Scholar) in the past 5 years: Littlejohn, A., Milligan, C., & Margaryan, A. (2012). Collective knowledge: Supporting self-regulated learning in the workplace. Journal of Workplace Learning, 24(3), 226-238.

Thanks to Colin Milligan for pointing this out to me.

Written by anoush

June 26, 2015 at 11:27

Abstract accepted for Dynamics of Virtual Work symposium

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Pleased to find out that my abstract ‘Reconceptualising professional learning within emergent digitally-mediated work practices’ has been accepted for the forthcoming symposium of the Dynamics of Virtual Work research network.

Abstract: In many domains work has become increasingly complex, reliant on expertise distributed across a range of specialisms and involving novel problems at the boundaries of human knowledge (Boisot et al, 2011). In parallel, the unfolding digital transformation of work is catalysing new formations and constellations in the workplace that challenge traditional patterns of individual agency, organisation, power, responsibility and learning (Littlejohn and Margaryan, 2013). New forms of organisation mediated by digital technology include crowdwork, networked science, nomadic work and other types of distributed work (Bietz, 2013; Nickerson, 2013; Nielsen, 2012). These developments are having a profound effect on society and work, but are yet to have a significant effect on how professional learning is conceptualised and organised. Contemporary work practices require new forms of professional learning that align with the new spatial and temporal reconfigurations of workplaces, new work cultures, new networks of knowledge, and new requirements pertaining to the development and use of digital technologies. Conventional forms of professional learning such as formal training enable large numbers of people to reach a specific level of competency; however these forms of learning are unlikely to meet the learning needs of people in these new work contexts. Established forms of professional learning have largely not taken advantages of the opportunities around how people collaborate to learn, emergent knowledge networks, multiple ways in which people and knowledge resources can be brought together to enhance learning, and how digital technologies can extend access to these learning opportunities and resources. A fundamental rethink of how professional learning aligns with current trends in work, technology and society is required. In this presentation, I will discuss key implications of digital reinstrumentation and the emergent work practices for professional learning. Drawing on four concepts from learning sciences, sociology of work and technology-enhanced learning – self-regulation (Zimmerman, 2006), objectual practice (Knorr-Cetina, 2001), networked learning (Milligan, Littlejohn and Margaryan, 2014) and charting (Littlejohn, Milligan, and Margaryan, 2012) – I will outline some ways in which learning within emergent digitally-mediated work practices may be reconceptualised and fostered.


Bietz, M. (2013). Distributed work: Working and learning at a distance. In Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (Eds.). Technology-enhanced professional learning: Processes, practices and tools (pp. 28-38). London: Routledge.

Boisot, M., Norberg, M., Yami, S., & Nicquevert, B. (2011) (Eds.) Collisions and collaboration: The organisation of learning in the Atlas Experiment at the LHC. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Knorr-Cetina, K. (2001). Objectual practice. In Schatzki, T., Knorr-Cetina, K., & Savigny, E. (Eds), The practice turn in contemporary theory (pp. 175-188). London: Routledge.

Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013) (Eds.). Technology-enhanced professional learning: Processes, practices and tools. London: Routledge.

Littlejohn, A., Milligan, C., & Margaryan, A. (2012). Collective knowledge: Supporting self-regulated learning in the workplace. Journal of Workplace Learning, 24(3), 226-238.

Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., & Littlejohn, A. (2014). Workplace learning in informal networksJournal of Interactive Media Environments, special issue ‘Reusing Resources – Open for Learning. [Online] file:///Users/ama11/Downloads/325-2585-1-PB%20(2).pdf

Nickerson, J. (2013). Crowd work and collective learning. In Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (Eds.). Technology-enhanced professional learning: Processes, practices and tools (pp. 39-49). London: Routledge.

Nielsen, M. (2012). Reinventing discovery: The new era of networked science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Zimmerman, B. (2006). Development and adaptation of expertise: The role of self-regulatory processes and beliefs. In Ericsson, A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P., & Hoffman, R. (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 705-722). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Written by anoush

March 26, 2015 at 10:48

New paper: Comparing safety culture and learning culture

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Our paper (with Allison Littlejohn and Dane Lukic ) ‘Comparing safety culture and learning culture‘ has been accepted for publication in Risk Management journal (Risk Management (2015) doi:10.1057/rm.2015.2).

Extended abstract: This article examines the alignment of learning and safety culture in organisations. It tests the hypothesis that factors that indicate a good learning culture might also signify good safety and vice versa. The hypothesis was tested through an extensive literature review. Areas of alignment of learning culture and safety culture were identified. Six components of learning culture and safety culture can be measured by the same instrument. These components form guiding principles for measurement of safety culture and learning culture: open communication; employee empowerment; collaboration; alignment of espoused and enacted priorities; internal systemic alignment; management.  Another eight component areas were identified where learning culture and safety culture partially align: motivation; recognition and rewards; competence; commitment; workplace condition; risk; opportunities for learning; and policy and procedures. Four further components were found to be relevant to either safety culture or learning culture and do not align: social regulation; safety versus productivity; equipment; and innovation.  Overall, there is a relationship between learning culture and safety culture, but gauging one does not provide a reliable measure of the other.

Written by anoush

February 24, 2015 at 12:12

Presenting at Learning and Professional Development SIG conference in Oslo

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I’m looking forward to the EARLI’s Learning and Professional Development Special Interest Group Conference in Oslo next week.  I’m contributing to two session as follows:

  • As a discussant at symposium “A social network perspective on learning and professional development” on Wed 27/08/14 at 16:30-18:00
  • As a co-author at paper session 3C ‘Motivation and self-regulation at work’, paper titled “Self-regulated learning in the financial services industry” (Milligan, Fontana, Littlejohn, Margaryan) on Thur 28/08/14 at 09:00-11:00

Let me know if you are around and would like to meet up.

Written by anoush

August 19, 2014 at 12:58

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Instructional Quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

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I was pleased to hear that our paper on the quality of instructional design of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been accepted for publication in Computers and Education.  

Abstract:  We present an analysis of instructional design quality of 76 randomly selected Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The quality of MOOCs was determined from first principles of instruction, using a course survey instrument. Two types of MOOCs – xMOOCs and cMOOCs – were analysed and their instructional design quality was assessed and compared. We found that the majority of MOOCs scored poorly on most instructional design principles. However, most MOOCs scored highly on organisation and presentation of course material. The results indicate that although most MOOCs are well-packaged, their instructional design quality is low. We outline implications for practice and ideas for future research.

The full paper will be available online shortly; in the meantime, a draft is available for download.

It took 18 months to get to this stage from the conception of the study:

  • conception of the project idea and securing internal funding for a research assistant – Feb 2013;
  • search and recruitment of a research assistant – Feb-Jul 2013 (6 months);
  • data collection – Sep-Dec 2013 (4 months);
  • data analysis – Jan 2014;
  • publication – Feb-Aug 2014 (7 months), including: (i)submission of the first draft of the article – Feb 2014; (ii) review received – Apr 2014; (iii) resubmission of 2nd draft – May 2014; (iv)second review received – Jul 2014; (v) resubmission and acceptance of the final draft – Aug 2014.  

So the actual conception and execution of the study took just 6/18 months…

Citation: Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (in press). Instructional quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Computers and Education.

On principles

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Why do we need principles?

“…abstract ideas are conceptual integrations which subsume and incalculable number of concretes – and without abstract ideas you would not be able to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems. You would be in the position of a newborn infant, to whom every object is a unique, unprecedented phenomenon. The difference between his mental state and yours lies in the number of conceptual integrations your mind has performed.  You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract principles.”  (Rand, 1982, p.6)

Source: Rand, A. (1982). Philosophy: Who needs it. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.

Written by anoush

June 23, 2014 at 15:05

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