Situated Learning Is Effective in Imparting Practical Knowledge

By
Advertisement

Situated Learning Theory - What Is It?

Learning that is imparted through an application of the context of the subject being learned, is called situated learning. Etienne Wenger and Jean Lave proposed this concept originally as a method of learning for people who are in the same profession or craft and use community practice to dispense learning skills. Situated Learning

The theory behind situated learning is that knowledge imparted in a classroom is abstract and, therefore, difficult for a student to retain. Real learning is possible when it is in the same context, i.e. when students can correlate the learning by directly applying it to activities in the same culture.

As a result of this form of learning, an electrical mechanic will understand electrical circuits more clearly than a student of engineering whose knowledge is mostly theoretical with just some practical experience that helps in the understanding of the working of electrical circuits.

An electrical mechanic, during the process of learning, will directly understand the benefits of being successful and the consequences of making any mistakes.

Applying Situated Learning Theory

In an environment of situated learning, a student is in learning situations that require being immersed in activities while having to use critical thinking skills to solve problems. These opportunities must involve a community that is constantly faced with real world situations. As a result, situated learning encourages students to take advantage of their prior knowledge and to be able to challenge other people who are of the same community. There are different ways to apply this theory, such as:

Group Activities

Employees can go on field trips in which they take an active part in environments that they are not familiar with, education that is accommodating and practical experience that involves them physically in actual work environments.

Sports practice in training facilities, music practice in studios or orchestras, laboratories and child care centres that become classrooms where employees are confronted with situations that they will be required to deal with in real life and go through scenarios where they have to find solutions to problems that are real.

As per this theory, learners are placed in situations during the learning process and this becomes a part of the process of gaining knowledge, its context and an understanding of the culture where this learning is used and being constantly developed.

Role Playing

Employees are involved in actions that are akin to everyday problems faced by the likes of a sales representative, an operations manager, an expert on marketing or an HR executive. The knowledge comes from the context and is useful in similar situations.

It is important that learners indulge in role-playing that puts them in situations that will involve them in activities that are complex, real and centred on problems that provide the needed support for the acquisition of knowledge.

The corporate trainer in such situations becomes a facilitator. Tracking the progress, assessing the output from the learners, building environments that help collaborative learning, encourage thinking and help the student to become aware of the context that can help them to understand and aid in the transferring of knowledge.

Scenario Based Learning

Situated learning is not separate from the actual world, but has an existence in social environments that are robust and complex and has situations, actions and actors. Facilitators have to provide scenarios for the students after they know the guidance that is required, its type and its intensity that can help learners to overcome situations.

As students develop their learning skills, the support that is needed will continue to reduce. Assessment of their intellectual growth, individually and as a group has to come through discussion, thinking and necessary evaluation.

Using Technology

It is hard for any person to retain information and facts when they are not in context and learning becomes much easier when the same knowledge comes through games or is acquired over microblogs or blogs on the social media. Social media sites like Twitter, Ning or Facebook help learners to join communities that can learn from one another but they must move away from personal connections.

The learning process is significantly helped by social interactions. You can understand concepts better if they are in contexts that come from social peers who have the knowledge of how to apply them.

Many years ago, Eduard Lindeman, argued that learning comes from daily living. The central process of knowledge comes from experience and the practice of solving problems. This is something that educators must understand when they teach. It is important to realise that education must involve action that is committed and informed.

The ideas given above are fascinating and must be explored for their significance as they can take informal educators in directions that are different from the present trend that insists on formalisation and accreditation.