The paper "What Is Being Learned Informally in the Workplaces" is a great example of a literature review on education. The aim of this paper is to construct a theoretical framework that will help understand and investigate informal learning in the workplace. According to the author, informal learning provides a simple contrast to formal learning that suggests greater flexibility or freedom for the learners. It takes place in a much wider variety of settings than formal education. It is a form of learning that recognizes the social significance of learning from others but implies a greater scope for the individual agency than socialization.
This type of learning can be considered as a complementary partner to learning from experience. The author is guided by three main questions that are the basis of his research work: to understand what is being learned; how it is being learned; and what factors affect the level and directions of learning effort. Key themes in the article Nature of informal learning Informal learning according to the author is a form of learning that can be well defined by the characteristics of the informal end of the continuum of formality which includes implicit, unintended, opportunistic, and unstructured learning and the absence of a teacher.
Implicit learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge independently of conscious attempts to learn. According to the author, most learning experiences include some form of implicit aspects and it should not be held that awareness of explicit learning means that explicit learning is not taking place. explicit learning can, therefore, be likened to deliberative learning where there is a definite learning goal, the time set out for acquiring knowledge, and also for engagement in deliberative activities such as planning and problem-solving.
There is a clear work-based goal with learning being the pre-defined by-product. Implicit learning and, on the other hand, be similar to reactive learning because although it is intentional, it occurs in the middle of the action when there is little time to think and therefore is not pre-defined in any substantial way (Hunter, Vickery and Smyth, 2010). Deconstructing learning from experience According to the author, most of the education literature focuses on the process of reflection on experience with scant attention to the nature of the experience itself.
When we refer to an experience we are probably thinking about a single episode or incident but when we talk about what we have learned fro experience, we are refereeing to accumulated learning from a series of episodes. It is a fact that all of us throughout our lives go through a continuous flow of experiences that will otherwise be lived through if not accorded due attention. Experiences only become meaningful when they are accorded attention and reflected upon.
The act of attention brings experiences to the area of conscious thought where treatment may vary from actual comprehending culminating into learning to merely noting or hardly noticing value in the experience. Considering the fact that most of the episodes in one's life and in the workplace occur within social contexts, it becomes clear to us that other social actors may be participating in the same episodes and contributing through their actions and discourse both during and after episodes. These actors may influence what is noticed and what is recalled in the future for the purposes of learning.
It is therefore right to hold the view that episodic memories of individuals are influenced by both semi-conscious socialization process through which societal norms, values, and perspectives are shaped by the workplace culture and by conscious learning from others and with others as they engage in cooperative work and tackle challenges (Coetzer and Vasanthi, 2011).
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