Learning vocational practice in relative social isolation: The epistemological and pedagogic practices of small-business operators

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Title Learning vocational practice in relative social isolation: The epistemological and pedagogic practices of small-business operators
Author Billett, Stephen Richard
Book Title Supporting Workplace Learning: Towards evidence-based practice
Editor R Poell & M Van Woerkom
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Abstract The knowledge required for effective vocational practice arises from historical and cultural sources, with the actual requirements for performance at work being manifested in particular ways in specific workplace settings. In order to construct this knowledge (i.e., learn it), individuals need to engage with social partners, artefacts, and practices that provide access to the procedural, conceptual, and dispositional forms of the knowledge. Much is understood about how this learning progresses in situations that provide direct access to this knowledge through more experienced social partners (e.g., teachers in schools and colleges, experts in workplaces). However, many individuals (e.g., shift workers, home workers) are working and learning in relative social isolation and often in the absence of such expert partners. Moreover, perhaps most learning occurs through experiences in working life in the absence of expert guidance. Consequently, there must be ways of learning socially derived knowledge in the absence of more experienced partners. This chapter discusses learning in relative social isolation to advance a conception of the process of learning in these kinds of situations. It does this by re-engaging with learning theorists whose ideas are informative and by elaborating these processes through explanations of small business operators’ epistemological and pedagogic practices as they learnt new work tasks. In combination, both localised contributions and these workers’ agency are held to be central to their learning in these circumstances. This account informs the means by which other kinds of socially isolated workers might come to know and learn through their working life. Such considerations are important for those concerned with developing the capacities of workforces, particularly for the many, perhaps the majority, of those individuals who work and learn in relative social isolation.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-9109-3
Copyright Statement Copyright 2011 Springer. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. It is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the publisher’s website for further information.
Chapter Number 9
Page from 147
Page to 162
ISBN 9789048191086
Date Accessioned 2011-05-04
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Institute for Educational Research
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Education
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/41900
Publication Type Book Chapters
Publication Type Code b1

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