Emerging perspectives on workplace learning
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This introductory chapter discusses the development of considerations about learning through work and perspectives of workplace learning that are currently emerging through research internationally. A key purpose here is to map recent developments in thinking about learning through and for work. When one also considers individuals' needs to be learners as workers as they seek to secure continuity and development within their working life and social world, such perspectives help to inform how we might best organise, shape and appraise the character and processes of learning through and for work. This concern is never more important than when such learning is conceptualised simultaneously as processes of both social reproduction and transformation and of individual development and change. The chapter provides a bridge between existing contributions to our understanding about learning through work and the contributions offered in the following chapters. In doing so, it seeks to identify the strengths and the limitations of existing perspectives through theoretical and empirical work by focussing on the interdependent relations between the individual and social world in the processes of learning through and for work. Thus, it also foreshadows the analytic categories: (i) learning about self and agency; and (ii) learning about work tasks, that shape the structure of the book. In advancing these two bases as being particularly salient for elaborating understandings about learning for working life, the chapter first outlines the scope of the emerging interest in learning through work, as well as some of the purposes for and conceptions of learning through work. Next, procedural and conceptual developments that shape and reshape considerations of workplace learning are discussed. The chapter concludes by offering some parameters for workplace learning as a duality between what the workplace affords learners in terms of opportunities and support, and how individuals engage with these affordances as they learn through their experiences.
Emerging perspectives of workplace learning
© 2008 Sense Publications. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. It is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Please refer to the publisher's website for further information.