Situated learning and communities of practice (post 2 of mini-series 3): concise and clear summary/intro

Thanks to @TonyHall for passing this on.

Clipped from www.infed.org

the social/situational orientation to learning

It is not so much that learners acquire structures or models to
understand the world, but they participate in frameworks that that have
structure. Learning involves participation in a community of practice.

Attending to a behaviour; remembering
it as a possible model or paradigm; and playing out how it may work for them
in different situations (rehearsal) are key aspects of observational
learning.

A more radical model – situated learning – has been put forward by
Lave and Wenger (1991). Rather than
looking to learning as the acquisition of certain forms of knowledge, they have
tried to place it in social relationships – situations of co-participation. As
William F. Hanks puts it in his introduction to their book: ‘Rather than asking
what kind of cognitive processes and conceptual structures are involved, they
ask what kinds of social engagements provide the proper context for learning to
take place’ (1991: 14). It not so much that learners acquire structures or
models to understand the world, but they participate in frameworks that that
have structure. Learning involves participation in a community of practice.

Lave
and Wenger illustrate their theory on observations of different apprenticeships
(Yucatec midwives, Vai and Gola tailors, US Navy quartermasters, meat-cutters,
and non-drinking alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous). Initially people have to
join communities and learn at the periphery. As they become more competent they
move more to the ‘centre’ of the particular community. Learning is, thus, not
seen as the acquisition of knowledge by individuals so much as a process of
social
participation. The nature of the situation impacts
significantly on the process.

idea of situated learning does provide significant pointers
for practice. Here I want to highlight three:
the idea of situated learning does provide significant pointers
for practice. Here I want to highlight three:
Learning is in the relationships between people –
Educators work so that people can become participants in communities of
practice
There is an intimate connection between knowledge and activity Read more at www.infed.org
 
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