Legitimate peripheral practice revisited

Being a geek, I brought Lave and Wenger’s 1991 classic, Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral practice as Spring Break “pleasure reading.”

The book is packed with profound, carefully worded thoughts. But one phrase in particular really hit me over the head…

“If participation in social practice is the fundamental form of learning…..” (p. 54). WOW, what a claim! Participation in social practice THE (my emphasis) fundamental form of learning.  The implications of that claim are astounding. If we are studying the learning of engineering students, then we cannot ignore that we are studying them learning to be engineering students.

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2 thoughts on “Legitimate peripheral practice revisited

  1. I can’t find (at the moment) which paper I got this thought from, but most students in engineering school are not part of an “engineering community of practice.” Rather, they are part of an “engineering student community of practice” where the practices are not things like “design better heart monitors” but rather things like “pass a multiple-choice test while studying as little as possible.” And this is disturbing.

  2. This is the part of conceptual change that I struggle with, what is the end result of conceptual change? Is it to do better on concept inventories, exams; probably not according to Lave. It would be able to engage in engineering practice, a complex social, linguistic, and conceptual web of abilities and interactions

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