Thursday, September 15, 2005



What a stimulating topic – what is learning and how does it occur? I love L&W’s concept of legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) although the phrase is rather cumbersome. LPP is the interaction between individual, activity, and the social world. It is so simple, yet incredibly complex and completely in alignment with socio-constructivist thought. L & W push our unit of analysis to a grand scale in understanding how learning occurs.

It’s interesting that little “teaching” is observable in apprenticeships. I would argue that it is because “teaching” is typically defined as explicit instruction. When newcomers “absorb” and “be absorbed,” they are learning implicitly. I think this idea is repeated in how productive activity and understanding are not separate. The idea, to me, draws on the conceptualization that declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge are not separate. It’s the age old question of the difference between know about versus knowing how to do something. To me the problem with traditional views on learning was not only the unit of analysis but also the emphasis that “knowledge” was equivalent to declarative knowledge. The apprenticeship model seems promotes and validate procedural knowledge learned implicitly. This is appealing because implicit learning is more resistant to psychological stress, less prone to forgetting, and non-attention demanding which are great is you are say, delivering a baby, sewing a suit or any other skill you truly want to master!

L&W write that “engagement” is the condition for effective learning (p. 93). Carmean & Haefner (2002) argue that learning needs to be engaged, social, active, student owned, and contextual in order for “deep learning” to occur. I think L&W would argue that social, active, student owned and contextual are inherent when engagement occurs in a community of practice. What do you think?


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