Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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2 Workplace learning

Learning happens in school and outside of school. If you think of yourself as a learner, where do you think you have done the most learning? What learning was most important or memorable to you?

If you have ever learned in a workplace, or ‘on the job’, this probably felt different to how you learned when you were in school. Perhaps it felt more meaningful and motivating. Although you learn as an individual, of course, you are also very likely to learn collaboratively with others in a workplace situation. These may be colleagues who are more experienced than you, or those who share your level of experience. You also learn when you support less experienced adults, or children.

Research (such as Hodkinson and Hodkinson, 2004) has identified four overlapping dimensions to workplace learning:

  1. Your prior knowledge, understanding and skills.
  2. Your dispositions (habits of mind, or attitudes, which you learned about in Session 3).
  3. Your sense of identity and belonging to the workplace community.
  4. Your opportunities for learning in or through the workplace.

The first two dimensions are what you bring to any new work or volunteer situation. The third and fourth dimensions develop over time as you gain experience as a worker or volunteer.

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