Monday, June 09, 2014

mimetic learning

Book chapter from Technology-enhanced professional learning a 2014 Routledge book edited by Allison Littlejohn and Anoush Margaryan.

I came across this book through my yearly browse of Professor Stephen Billett’s publication site. Much of Billett’s chapter on mimetic learning is available via the google books site for the edited book.

Billett’s chapter summarises the nature of mimetic learning and its relevance to professional practice. The basic principles of mimetic practice are discussed with respect to ‘professional learning’ i.e. ongoing learning for work and practice.

Mimetic learning can be explained through nativist approaches alluding to the evolutionary, physiological and neurosensory foundations for animal learning. Empiricist approaches suggest human learning to arise from experiences with individuals constructing concepts and responses and learning through social interactions. 

Billett favours the empiricist explanation as studies in anthropology, developmental science, cognitive and neuroscience and cultural psychology support current explanations.

Mimetic professional learning is discussed with both advantages and limits and perils.
The four specific suggestions for using technology to enhance professional learning include:
·         Authentic instances of practice need to be provided;
·         Engagement with practice needs to be progressive;
·         Engagement in workplace practice important to observe, hear and sense workplace learning requirements;
·         Practice requires time.

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