Freddie is a teacher who teaches environmental issues at school. To enhance students’ learning, he organized an excursion trip to Europe for his students who get a chance to observe the environment measures and visit the factory of wind turbines there. Students will also need to complete a small group project to investigate the pollution problem in Hong Kong and come up with feasible measure after the excursion. This enables his students to connect what they have learned in school with what they observed in Europe and apply their knowledge to the group project. The strategy that Freddie employed in the above case is called situated learning and please find out more about this strategy in the paragraphs below.
As it is closely related to socio-culturalism, situated learning emphasized the idea that much of what is learned in specific to the situation in which it is learned (Lave & Wenger, 1991).
According to Brown et al. (1989), meaningful learning will only take place if it is embedded in the social and physical context within which it will be used. Therefore,
Central to the perspectives of situated learning is the belief that (Barab & Duffy, 2000)
In contrast with most classroom learning activities that involve abstract knowledge which is and out of context, Lave argues that
Her work has been instrumental in providing the research base for the situated learning theory, including the now widely adopted concepts of
Learner inevitably participate in communities of practitioners and that the mastery of knowledge and skill requires newcomers to move toward full participation in the sociacultural practices of a community.
A community of practice is a collection of people who engage on an ongoing basisin some
common endeavor. Communities of practice are everywhere and that we are generally involved in a number of them - whether that is at work, school, home, or in our civic and leisure interests.
According to Wenger (1998), a community of practice defines itself along three dimensions:
Four claims of situated learning identified in a report of the National Research Council (Reder & Klatzky, 1994)
Herrington and Oliver (1995) propose a model of instruction based on situated learning to be used in the design of learning environments.
Context should reflect the way the knowledge will be used in real-life including the complexity of the real-world situation, providing purpose and the possibility for extended exploration.
Activities should be ill-defined demanding that learners 'find' and 'solve' problems inherent in the situation and determine how they will accomplish the task.
Observation of expert performances allow for the accumulation of narratives and strategies that use the social environment as a resource. Video clips of experts at a task, for example, can be a rich resource.
Providing the learner with multiple opportunities to engage in an activity from differing perspectives will reveal different aspects of the situation.
Activities should encourage collaborative searches for suggestions and solutions to promote critical thinking.
The learning environment should be available to intercept and offer hints and strategies when learners are unable to progress in the task.
The environment presentation of problems should require that the learner take the entire environment or situation into consideration when problem solving. In contrast to Mastery learning, a linear path through the content that is presented in isolated component is discouraged.
Lave and Wenger (in Herrington and Oliver, 1995) Articulation of the vocabulary and the stories of a culture of practice that is an integral part of the situation presented within the learning environment deepen a learner's understanding of a topic.
Assessment and feedback on a learner's progress and during tasks should be offered without resorting to tests.