The Transfer Problem Distinguishing Between Sociocultural and Community of Practice
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This paper examines the problem of knowledge transfer from a sociocultural perspective. It is held that expectations of and understanding about transfer between different types of social practice (e.g. between the classroom and workplace) may be based on incomplete premises. It is proposed that vocational knowledge is sourced from different levels of social practice, each with its own characteristics and potential for transfer. Chiefly, the sociocultural and community of practice levels of social practice are discussed in order to identify the prospects for transfer within disembedded (sociocultural) and embedded (community) levels of social practice, as that is where individuals construct and transfer vocational knowledge. It is proposed that, in current frameworks, curriculum goals for vocational education often relate to the sociocultural level, yet with expectations of and judgements about that knowledge is made at the community of practice level. Moreover, as these circumstances are often quite different, transfer across different kinds of settings and circumstances will likely demand 'far' transfer, something which does not readily happen. This may help explain the paucity of transfer from two different communities of practice - the 'classroom' and the workplace. The paper concludes with a discussion about approaches to maximising transfer across settings and circumstances which emphasise the need to both embed and disembed knowledge.
Learning and Work: The Challenges
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