wk 4 Act 2 Situated cognition and the culture of learning

Based on “Situated cognition and the culture of learning” by Brown Collins and Duguid
As this paper was written around 20 years ago how has its central message held up? What lasting value does this paper have today?
In reading this paper and trying to understand cognitive apprenticeship, i was reminded of my own experiences learning mathematics at school.  We were given the price of an item which had been increased by 12% and we had to calculate the original price.  After some discussion in a small group we came up with a theory on how to calculate the original price which worked, the teacher named the this the “Group B Theory” which we then explained to the rest of the group.   Even though this was many years ago, i still clearly remember the experience and the knowladge learned.  This suggested that this method works, although I am not sure if it is any more or less relevent today than it was 20 years ago (roughly the time I had that maths lesson)

If you had to summarise the authors’ arguments in a short paragraph what would you write? The article argues that learning successful learning is dependent on the the environment and knowledge should never be taught independent of the appropriate environment.  Examples given include learning vocabulary from a dictionary out of context,  not being able to remove a stone from a horses hoof dispite having the tools, carpenters and cabinet makers using chisels in different ways, Apprentice tailors ironing clothes, the faliar of authentic activities being transferred to a school environment and apprenticeships.  The paper refers to the work of Lave (1988) who compared the the learning styles of students, practiotioners and “Just Plain Folks” (JPFs).  Lave proposed that the the learning styles of JPF’s were more closely related to practitioners than students and gave an example of a dieter who measured the required 1/4 their allowance of 2/3 of a cup of cottage chesse by measuring the 2/3rds of a cup then cutting the cheese into quaters.  The paper goes on to highlight the values of cognitive apprenticeship.  As i understand it, cognative apprenticeship is a process learning as a group not only how to resolve a problem or complete a task, but also following, understanding and being able to explain the the tinking behind this process ( I am not sure if my understanding is correct and would appreciate any comments of clarification on this).

In the late capitalism of the twenty-first century is apprenticeship still a relevant model for learning? Try and think in terms of the kinds of knowledge required for the work that is common in a modern economy.

In 2006 the Leitch review of skills, otherwise known as the Leitch Report, stressed the importance of relating education to practical skills which would benefit the economy.  this has led to a number of incentives including a vocational training programme “train to gain” and an increased focus on apprenticeships.  The current credit crunch has led to a number of businesses collapsing which cold lead to less places being available for apprentices and existing apprentices loosing their positions.(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/further/apprentices-are-victims-of-the-credit-crunch-955002.html)


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