Collective learning practice

Publisher:
Springer
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Practice, learning and change: Practice-theory perspectives on professional learning, 2012, 1, pp. 249 - 265
Issue Date:
2012-01
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The social and, often, collective character of practice challenges the strong tendency of learning literature to focus exclusively on individuals. The relatively neglected topic of collective learning is the major concern of this chapter. We deploy findings from recent Australian research with three diverse vocational groups to theorize collective learning from a âpractice turnâ perspective. We discuss how groups learn contextually and dynamically using their patterns of interactions formed with others. This patterned, relational and emergent character of learning challenges conventional theories of how groups learn by, for example, analyzing group properties or outcomes, as in theories of team performance; linear progressions of competence as in communities of practice; or through resolving contradictions in activity systems using activity theory. We conclude that collective learning is a holistic relational complex that is irreducible to the sum of its parts whilst drawing on specifiable and non-specifiable aspects that are only obtained through engagement in practice.
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