Understanding Learning in/for Work  Implications for Older Workers Tara Fenwick  University of Alberta, Canada
<ul><li>a process of change or transformation </li></ul><ul><li>expanding our range of possibilities and action   </li></u...
Traditional View of Learning <ul><li>Assumption 1 :  </li></ul><ul><li>learning happens solely within the individual </li>...
Context? Tools? Other actors?
 
<ul><li>Few generalizations about older workers are accurate . . . .   </li></ul>different desires different identities di...
<ul><li>Assumption 2 : learning is about acquisition of new knowledge and skills </li></ul>
<ul><li>Assumption 3 :  </li></ul><ul><li>the ‘older worker’ is in decline and has ‘special needs’ </li></ul>
The problem is often the system, not individual worker’s skills   <ul><li>Ageist culture  -  expectations based on narrow ...
Let’s think differently about learning <ul><li>Examine entire  work system </li></ul><ul><li>Cognition lives as   embodied...
Four perspectives of the system Participating Communities of practice  Expanding Cultural-historical activity theory Emerg...
Learning as   participating   ( communities of practice view )
“ Participating” view  <ul><li>People learn to participate through activity alongside community members </li></ul><ul><li>...
Learning as desiring and fearing ( psycho-analytic view ) Cultural fears and desires - play out unconsciously Examine thes...
Learning as expansion of objects and ideas  ( cultural-historical systems view ) <ul><li>Tool </li></ul>Rules Subject Obje...
“ Expanding” view (cultural-historical) <ul><li>History  shapes the system -  </li></ul><ul><li>Tools, language, and archi...
<ul><li>Learning happens through  aggravated contradictions  -  </li></ul><ul><li>Expansion of system purpose and activity...
Learning as emerging ( complexity science view )
The system is viewed as <ul><li>Emergence </li></ul><ul><li>arises through </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic nonlinear interaction...
<ul><li>One excites response in another </li></ul><ul><li>Shape one another </li></ul><ul><li>New unity emerges </li></ul>...
 
<ul><li>diversity  </li></ul><ul><li>redundancy  </li></ul><ul><li>interaction </li></ul><ul><li>decentralized organizatio...
“ Emerging” view (complexity science) <ul><li>Focus on bodies, biology in action </li></ul><ul><li>Complex system  adapts,...
Four perspectives Participating Communities of practice  Expanding Cultural-historical activity theory Emerging Complexity...
What they highlight <ul><li>COMPLEXITY </li></ul><ul><li>THEORY </li></ul><ul><li>Biology, embodiment </li></ul><ul><li>Pr...
What they all emphasise <ul><li>Examine entire  work system </li></ul><ul><li>Cognition lives as   embodied action </li></...
Learning Issues in the System <ul><li>Ageist culture </li></ul>Acknowledge needs of all bodies Understand how architecture...
Poor processes Inflexible job design
Uncritical uptake of “good worker” discourses
A-historical bias <ul><li>Talk about shifting work traditions, languages and values held by different generational groups ...
Non-recognition  of knowledge politics <ul><li>Collective learning </li></ul><ul><li>Name what counts most as knowledge </...
 
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Session 05

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From the conference Competence 50+ 2007 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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  • Session 05

    1. 1. Understanding Learning in/for Work Implications for Older Workers Tara Fenwick University of Alberta, Canada
    2. 2. <ul><li>a process of change or transformation </li></ul><ul><li>expanding our range of possibilities and action </li></ul><ul><li>embodied and enacted, not mentalist </li></ul><ul><li>emphasis on process, not product or outcome </li></ul>Learning:
    3. 3. Traditional View of Learning <ul><li>Assumption 1 : </li></ul><ul><li>learning happens solely within the individual </li></ul>
    4. 4. Context? Tools? Other actors?
    5. 6. <ul><li>Few generalizations about older workers are accurate . . . . </li></ul>different desires different identities different career stages different health states
    6. 7. <ul><li>Assumption 2 : learning is about acquisition of new knowledge and skills </li></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><li>Assumption 3 : </li></ul><ul><li>the ‘older worker’ is in decline and has ‘special needs’ </li></ul>
    8. 9. The problem is often the system, not individual worker’s skills <ul><li>Ageist culture - expectations based on narrow norms </li></ul><ul><li>Poor processes </li></ul><ul><li>Inflexible job design </li></ul><ul><li>Uncritical uptake of technopreneurist discourses </li></ul><ul><li>A-historical bias </li></ul><ul><li>Non-recognition of knowledge politics </li></ul><ul><li>Non-recognition of inter-generational workplace </li></ul>
    9. 10. Let’s think differently about learning <ul><li>Examine entire work system </li></ul><ul><li>Cognition lives as embodied action </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on practices - </li></ul><ul><li>Examine what is valued as knowledge/skill </li></ul><ul><li>Examine forces/discourses sustaining these values </li></ul>
    10. 11. Four perspectives of the system Participating Communities of practice Expanding Cultural-historical activity theory Emerging Complexity theory view Desiring/Fearing Psychoanalytic view
    11. 12. Learning as participating ( communities of practice view )
    12. 13. “ Participating” view <ul><li>People learn to participate through activity alongside community members </li></ul><ul><li>CoP assumes adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>CoP tends not to critique own practices </li></ul>
    13. 14. Learning as desiring and fearing ( psycho-analytic view ) Cultural fears and desires - play out unconsciously Examine these, how they are learned Examine how selves are made Learning - becoming aware of deep desires and fears - unlearning old survival strategies
    14. 15. Learning as expansion of objects and ideas ( cultural-historical systems view ) <ul><li>Tool </li></ul>Rules Subject Object  Outcomes Community of significant others Division of Labor
    15. 16. “ Expanding” view (cultural-historical) <ul><li>History shapes the system - </li></ul><ul><li>Tools, language, and architecture shapes how people act, what they know - </li></ul><ul><li>Contradictions are carried within system </li></ul>
    16. 17. <ul><li>Learning happens through aggravated contradictions - </li></ul><ul><li>Expansion of system purpose and activity - </li></ul>“ Expanding” view (cultural-historical)
    17. 18. Learning as emerging ( complexity science view )
    18. 19. The system is viewed as <ul><li>Emergence </li></ul><ul><li>arises through </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic nonlinear interaction among parts </li></ul><ul><li>co-specify each other </li></ul><ul><li>create new possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>self-organizing </li></ul><ul><li>self-similar </li></ul><ul><li>Unpredictable directions </li></ul>
    19. 20. <ul><li>One excites response in another </li></ul><ul><li>Shape one another </li></ul><ul><li>New unity emerges </li></ul>Co-specification <ul><li>Person & context </li></ul><ul><li>inseparable </li></ul>
    20. 22. <ul><li>diversity </li></ul><ul><li>redundancy </li></ul><ul><li>interaction </li></ul><ul><li>decentralized organization </li></ul><ul><li>enabling constraints </li></ul><ul><li>feedback loops </li></ul>Emergence - in a complex adaptive system
    21. 23. “ Emerging” view (complexity science) <ul><li>Focus on bodies, biology in action </li></ul><ul><li>Complex system adapts, emerges in unpredictable novel directions </li></ul><ul><li>Requires diversity (e.g. different generational values, forms of knowledge, ways of working) </li></ul><ul><li>Requires sufficient redundancy to draw difference together </li></ul><ul><li>Requires decentralized organization - for experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Requires feedback loops - many kinds, many levels </li></ul>
    22. 24. Four perspectives Participating Communities of practice Expanding Cultural-historical activity theory Emerging Complexity theory view Desiring/Fearing Psychoanalytic view
    23. 25. What they highlight <ul><li>COMPLEXITY </li></ul><ul><li>THEORY </li></ul><ul><li>Biology, embodiment </li></ul><ul><li>Process of continuous adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Co-specification </li></ul><ul><li>Creative experiments </li></ul>ACTIVITY THEORY Contradictions Negotiations of “object” Diff perspectives Power relations, history Learning as emerging Learning as expanding Learning as participating COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE Actual practice Tools, activity, actors Cultural norms Entrenchment
    24. 26. What they all emphasise <ul><li>Examine entire work system </li></ul><ul><li>Cognition lives as embodied action </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on practices - who, what, how, why </li></ul><ul><li>Examine what is valued as knowledge/skill </li></ul><ul><li>Examine forces/discourses sustaining these values </li></ul>
    25. 27. Learning Issues in the System <ul><li>Ageist culture </li></ul>Acknowledge needs of all bodies Understand how architecture, tools favour ‘normal’ bodies Critically examine norms of attractiveness, function & mobility
    26. 28. Poor processes Inflexible job design
    27. 29. Uncritical uptake of “good worker” discourses
    28. 30. A-historical bias <ul><li>Talk about shifting work traditions, languages and values held by different generational groups </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge differences, and their strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Look for complementarities </li></ul>
    29. 31. Non-recognition of knowledge politics <ul><li>Collective learning </li></ul><ul><li>Name what counts most as knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Name knowledge holding age-ist norms in place - and why </li></ul><ul><li>Name anchors - that hold old practices in place </li></ul><ul><li>Name knowledge viewed as unimportant </li></ul><ul><li>Look at all generations, their different needs and assumptions, their appreciation of one another </li></ul>

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