About the Situated Learning Theory

Situated learning is the type of learning which will occur in the very same context that it was applied. This learning type was initially proposed by Etienne Wenger and Jean Lave as a learning model for groups of individuals who share the same profession or craft. For example, a “community of practice”. The tenet of these theories involves that abstract knowledge typically provided in classrooms is difficult to retain.

Learning that is real only occurs once it has become contextual. This means when the students are able to apply it directly in authentic cultures, contexts and activities. An example of this would be would be students of electrical mechanics have a better and more knowledgeable understanding on electrical circuits compared to engineering students that mainly only have theoretical knowledge and a limited practical understanding on how these electrical circuits operate. This is due to the fact that the electrical mechanic students benefits directly when they achieve success and the outcomes when they make a mistake in their learning processes.

Four Ways That the Situated Learning Theory Can Be Applied

The environments for situated learning places the students into learning situations where they are immersed actively in activities, while they use problem-solving or critical thinking skills. These types of opportunities should be associated with social communities that are able to replicate a real world situation. Situational leadership courses should be able to encourage the students to use their previous knowledge and then challenge the other students in this community. Ways in which to apply these theories can include:

Group Activities

This can include a field trip whereby the students are allowed to participate actively in unfamiliar environments. Practical experiences and accommodative education whereby the students become physically involved and engrossed in the actual working environment. This can involve sports and music practice that imitates a real setting of such events such as: child-care centres, laboratories, training facilities, studios or orchestras used as a classroom setting. Here, the students are made to work in situations which imitate an actual working setting and then illustrate the scenarios where the students become involved actively in finding a solution to a real world issue. As this theory suggests, a student will be “situated” in learning processes and the knowledge acquisition forms a portion of these learning activities in its “context” and the “culture in which it is developed and used.”

Role Playing

Learning occurs through actions that involve the everyday situations when employees take on specific roles such as: marketing experts, operations managers, sales representatives, HR directors and more. The knowledge is obtained contextually and then transferred onto similar situations. This is why it is important for the students to be indulged in the role-playing situations which engage students in problem-centred, realistic and complex activities which offers the support in regards to acquiring the knowledge that is desired. In order to achieve this, the trainer has to recast their roles from teachers to facilitators. It is an important task to assess products, track progress that is produced by the learners, to build a learning environment that is collaborative, to encourage reflection as well as assisting learners in becoming aware of the contextual hints that assist in transference and understanding.

Scenario Based Learning

Learning should not be separated from what is known as the “world of action” but rather co-exist in social, complex and robust environments which is made up of situations, actions and actors. For this reason facilitators have to work on offering scenarios for the new students as well as an understanding of the intensity and type of guidance needed to assist learners on how to master such situations. As these learners acquire these additional skills, the support required will decrease. However, assessment of intellectual growth in regards to the individuals as well as the group that the student forms a portion of should be conducted through evaluation, reflection and discussion when necessary.

The Use of Technology

Facts and information which is difficult to retain can be dealt with by obtaining it from meaningful context. It is learned with far less complexity when the students have acquired it through parts of games or from social media such as micro blogs or blogs. The social networks such as Ning, Twitter and Facebook allow students once they progress past personal connections a way to embrace communities in a way that they are able to learn from one another. These social interactions can play a vital role in regards to the learning process. Contextual understanding that is gained allows a way for concepts to be understood in a better way as well as a way to learn from their peers on the method in which to apply it.

Eduard Lindeman argued years ago that learning is in fact a portion of our daily living. Learning and problem solving from experiences happen to be central processes. This is the reason why the educators should be reflecting on how they understand what actually constitutes practice and knowledge. An important aspect to take away from this is the extent that education involves committed and informed action. What has been mentioned in this article are interesting ideas that need to be explored and to an extent should take the informal educators into different directions in regards to prevailing pressure involved with formalisation and accreditation.