Understanding Workplace Judgements: Internal and External Goods

Australian Academic Press
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Conference Proceeding
Vocational Learning: Transitions, Interrelationships, Partnerships and Sustainable Futures. Proceedings of the 13th Annual Conference on Post-compulsory Education and Training Vol 1, 2005, pp. 258 - 265
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A current ARC Discovery project is investigating learning at work. Detailed case studies of learning in a range of workplaces are being constructed. These will be used to test and refine a theory of learning at work that conceptualises it, at its best, as a growing capacity to make appropriate context-sensitive judgements. This research views judgements, along with activities, narratives, and traditions, as being nested in practices. The understanding of practice used in this project grows from the work of MacIntyre (1981, 1990, 1999). A practice is defined by the following joint characteristics: it includes any form of human activity that is identifiable by a single word or phrase; it is identifiable through reference to some purpose and some community that shares a common way of doing things; and it has a tradition of maintaining both internal and external goods. MacIntyre s work suggests that those practices in which internal goods predominate are more likely to lead to productive learning than those in which external goods predominate. This paper will illustrate the value of these ideas for understanding learning at work by applying them to some case studies on judgement at work developed in previous research.
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