Social living labs for informed learning A conceptual framework of interprofessional education in community healthcare

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Hilary Hughes Marcus Foth, Professor Kerry Mallan, Professor


This paper proposes social living labs for informed learning as an innovative approach to interprofessional and community education. It presents a new conceptual model and practice framework suited to rapidly changing, information-intensive work and social environments. The proposed approach is theoretically informed and evidence based. It integrates concepts from three complementary fields: Informed learning as information literacy pedagogy that enables using information critically and creatively to learn (information science); interprofessional education as a professional learning model with a cross-disciplinary and community reach (health sciences/medicine); and social living labs as informal learning context and problem-solving process (community development).

After reviewing relevant literature, the paper introduces the concepts and research that underpin social living labs for informed learning. Then it presents a new conceptual model and a practice framework to guide their design and implementation. To illustrate the practical application of this approach, a hypothetical scenario envisages health practitioners, librarians and community members collaborating in a social living lab to address health and social challenges related to child obesity. The paper concludes by discussing anticipated benefits and limitations of the approach and possible wider application.

As a contribution to theory, the paper uncovers a previously unrecognised synergy between the principles of informed learning, social living labs and interprofessional education. Supporting information literacy research and practice, the paper identifies a significant role for informed learning in community and professional education, and a novel strategy for health information literacy development. The paper is of interest to educators, researchers, and practitioners across information literacy, community development, healthcare, and other professional fields.

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How to Cite
HUGHES, Hilary; FOTH, Marcus; MALLAN, Kerry. Social living labs for informed learning. Journal of Information Literacy, [S.l.], v. 13, n. 2, p. 112-135, dec. 2019. ISSN 1750-5968. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 sep. 2021. doi:
Research articles (peer-reviewed articles)