Working at community boundaries: A micro-analysis of the activits's role in participatory learning networks

Thorpe, Mary and Kubiak, Christopher (2005). Working at community boundaries: A micro-analysis of the activits's role in participatory learning networks. Studies in the Education of Adults, 37(2) pp. 151–165.

URL: http://open.library.ingentaconnect.com/content/nia...

Abstract

The interaction of agency and context in workplace learning is explored through a micro-analysis of the implementation of networked learning communities in schools in England. Interviews with local activists show evidence of co-participation between individuals' responses and their workplace roles and experience as they take up the opportunity to create a networked learning community for their schools. The paper raises issues about the community of practice model as promoted for workplace learning, with its emphasis on group participation rather than individual agency. Activists make strategic use of existing power relationships in order to facilitate networked learning, and develop skills in influencing and communicating across existing practice communities. Sustaining the network also depends on continuing intervention and strong support from activists' personal communities of trusted peers and colleagues with whom values and goals are shared. The opportunities, challenges and risks of using a networked approach to foster workplace learning are explored.

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