Monday, September 02, 2013

Keynote on 'learning through practice' - Professor Stephen Billett

Came across this presentation on youtube, uploaded October 2012. Professor Stephen Billett's keynote at a seminar at the University of Paderborn in Germany for their Department of Wirtschaftsp√§dagogik (Centre for Vocational Education and Training).

The presentation is titled 'Towards an account of learning through practice: Traditions, practices and potentials' with some overlap with keynote at AVETRA this year. However, a few important and relevant points to note.

The presentation begins with brief overview of the historical record on learning at work and through practice.

Billett argues for the need to identify opportunities for learning to take place – the pedagogically rich experiences – eg. nurses’ ‘hand-over’. If we study the principles of what makes this activity high learning and  how it is afforded, then there may be some transfer of these principles to other activities.

A note that personal epistemologies also important -  learners' agency, based on their knowing, beliefs and acts they use (listen, engage, deliberate practice)

Practical learning takes place through imitation (mimesis), observations, ontogenetic ritualization, active engagement and construction (‘stealing’ apprehending knowledge). Again learner needs to assent to wanting to become and be ready to capitalise on learning opportunities.

 Recommends – need for science of practice that  goes beyond educational science. Learning through practice premises made accessible by drawing on a range of explanations, dimensions of curriculum, pedagogy and personal epistemology. Includes need to also recognise particular cultural, societal and situational factors. 

Therefore the dimensions of personal and social interact and cannot be easily separated. Practice-based learning, especially when it takes place in the workplace, will always be complex. Individual workplace contexts add to the difficulty with imposing a 'one size fits all' curriculum. Individuals and importantly the workplace need to structure opportunities for learning that fits into the training needs of the organisation while still ensuring individuals affordances are availed.