GoogleTranslate Service


Work Process Knowledge, Developmental Competence and rhizomatic knowledge

November 11th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

A number of years ago I did a couple of studies, funded by the European Commission on the use of technology for learning in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are defined by the European Commission as those employing less than 350 employees. My overall conclusions were that whilst few enterprises were using Virtual Learning Environments or indeed any other formal e-learning platforms or technologies for learning this did not mean that learning was not happening. Instead many employees used computers everyday for informal learning. Learning was motivated by the need to solve problems in the workplace or surprisingly often by curiosity and interest.

The technologies employed varied but they included Google, Bulletin Boards and email. Ask-a-friend was a common pedagogic strategy.

Now several years on, the European Commission’s Research Programme on information technologies has launched another call for projects designed to crack the perceived issue of the lack of use of Technology Enhanced Learning in SMEs.

And they still haven’t got it. They seem to have an assumption that there are hard to reach sectors or that the technology just isn’t good enough. Or, often is cited, the lack of access to hardware and connectivity.

Of course, since I did my orginal study, there has been considerable changes in technology. The biggest is probably the widespread use of mobiles, (handys, GSM, cells), many of them internet enabled.

But talking to employers this week I don’t see many changes in how the internet is being used for learning. There is one big change though. The employers I have spoken to are aware that computers can facilitate learning and knowledge exchange and support those processes. Back before few employers even knew their employees were involved in learning (mind, many of the employees also didn’t call it learning!).

but the learning processes remain informal. Human communication is most valued, albeit technology mediated. There remains little take up of formal e-learning programmes.

There does seem to be an increasing awareness of the need to link learning and information and knowledge management processes. There is also intense interest in the ability of new technologies to be utlisied at or near the work process and to support the development of what I call work process knowledge or developmental competence.

The concept of Work Process Knowledge emphasises the relevance of practice in the workplace and is related to concepts of competence and qualification that stress the idea that learning processes not only include cognitive, but also affective, personal and social factors. They include the relevance of such non-cognitive and affective-social factors for the acquisition and use of work process knowledge in practical action. Work often takes place, and is carried out, in different circumstances and contexts. Therefore, it is necessary for the individual to acquire and demonstrate a certain capacity to reflect and act on the task (system) and the wider work environment in order to adapt, act and shape it. Such competence is captured in the notion of “developmental competence” (Ellstroem PE, 1997) and includes ‘the idea of social shaping of work and technology as a principle of vocational education and training’ (Heidegger, G., Rauner F., 1997). Work process knowledge embraces ‘developmental competence’, the developmental perspective emphasising that individuals have the capacity to reflect and act upon the environment and thereby forming or shaping it. In using technologies to develop such work process knowledge, individuals are also shaping or appropriating technologies, often developed or designed for different purposes, for social learning.

it seems to me that if we really want to introduce Technology Enhanced Learning in the workplace (and especially in SMEs) we have to find ways of supporting the development of work process knowledge and developmental competence. The problem is that most formal elearning programmes are tied to very traditional notions of competences, which are often only loosely connected to practice. This is one of the reasons I like the idea of rhizomatic knowledge, as put forward by Dave Cormier and currently being discussed on the #Change11 MOOC. Rhizomatic knowledge in the sense of work process knowledge is  generated by practice in communities and technology can be used to scaffold the development of developmental competence through practice (incidentally I think this overcomes many of the objections to the idea of rhizomatic knowledge as discussed on Dave’s blog).

Comments are closed.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information


    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @mrmwardphd Me and @ingram_nicola are seeking two new convenors to help run the BSA soc of ed study group! Deadline for expressions of interest is 31st July 2019. All career stages welcome, but you must be a BSA member. More info here es.britsoc.co.uk/sociology-of… @britsoci

    About 3 days ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter Web Client

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories