Structuring Workplace Learning Experience: The Learning Curriculum
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Drawing on a series of studies into workplace learning, this paper examines the basis for organising workplace learning experiences for the development of vocational expertise. It is argued, from a constructivist perspective, that the structuring these experiences has four dimensions: (i) movement from peripheral to full participation in workplace activities; (ii) access to the product (goals) of workplace activities; (iii) proximal guidance from more expert others; and (iv) distal guidance provided by the physical as well as the social environment. Instead of an emphasis on teaching, the development of a learning curriculum is advocated which takes into account the four dimensions outlined above thereby placing a focus on learning and curriculum as a set of structured everyday activities. It is held that, through guided everyday experience in the workplace, a pathway of activities can be established through which participation can lead to thedevelopment of vocational expertise. Each of the dimensions of the 'learning curriculum' are seen as being salient and interrelated. In particular, it is argued that as forms of vocational knowledge become more complex, with the increased application of technology and more elaborate forms of work organisation come to be used, that close guidance of expert others become a necessary quality for the development of vocational knowledge. The paper concludes by advocating the development of `learning curriculum'. It is intended that such structures can become the basis for organising, developing and evaluating workplace learning experiences.
New Perspectives for Vocational Education and Training
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