The workplace as a learning space
- Workplaces as learning spaces
- Critiquing some existing conceptions of workspaces as learning environments
- Participation and participatory practices at work
- Workplace participatory practices
- Bases for participation in workplaces
- Workplaces, learning, and participatory practices
The workplace is a learning space.
- Not correct to say that it is an informal or unstructured learning space
- Not correct that learning comes only from teaching, and only in educational institutions
- The quality of experiences (activities and interactions) determine learning outcomes — and this is true in workplaces as well as schools.
- Workplace has structured learning (Lave calls it the “learning curriculum”):
- Goals and practices for determining tasks and activities of workers
- Support they will receive
- How their efforts are appraised
- See also: Billet also discusses Lave’s learning curriculum in Billett, S. (2006) ‘Constituting the Workplace Curriculum’.
Participation in your work tasks helps you refine your knowledge about how to do them, and frees you to think about other tasks.
People choose how they will engage and what they will construct; social practices provide pressure to engage with specific knowledge.
It’s important to recognize the workplace as a learning space:
- Makes it legitimate
- Leads to consideration of workplace pedagogy
- Responsibility for lifelong vocational learning is in the individual
- Worksite is primary source of knowledge
- People need interest plus agency to participate and learn
- Are often contested, especially if they can lead to advancement or money. For example, see newcomers versus old-timers.
- May be regulated by the employer, for skill utilization or quality issues.
As a result, participatory practices are available in different degrees to different people, sometimes depending on affiliation, associations, gender, language skills, employment status, and workplace standing.
Individuals have the agency to decide if an activity is worthy of their participation, and if they will participate. Some choose not to participate:
- Against their values or cultural mores
- Limits their work options
- Deemed to be beneath their current abilities
I read this article as a follow-up to: Tanggaard (2006) ‘Situating gendered learning in the workplace’.
This article is cited in: Breunig, K. (2016) ‘Limitless learning: assessing social media use for global workplace learning’.
Billett, S. (2001) Learning in the Workplace: Strategies for Effective Practice. Allen & Unwin, Sydney.