New paper on emergent learning at work

I’m delighted to announce acceptance of a paper by the Journal of Workplace Learning, co-written with my UTS School of Education colleagues Ann Reich and Donna Rooney. I will update this and my publications list with final publication details as they become available.

The paper draws on data from three different studies to specify particular kinds of learning that can occur when people do work about how work gets done.

The reference is:

Reich, A., Rooney, D., & Hopwood, N. (in press). Sociomaterial perspectives on work and learning: sites of emergent learning. Journal of Workplace Learning.

The abstract is:

Purpose
This paper introduces, explains and illustrates the concept of ‘sites of emergent learning’,
which pinpoints particular instances of learning in everyday practice. This concept is
located within contemporary practice-oriented and sociomaterial approaches to
understanding workplace learning.
Design/Methodology/Approach
This conceptual development has been resourced by a secondary analysis of data from
three workplace learning studies. These were: (1) an ethnographic study of a residential
parenting service; (2) a case study of learning among engineers working on a railway
construction site; and (3) a case study of a multicultural unit that aims to enhance health
services for a diverse community. All were based in Sydney metropolitan area. The
secondary analysis was undertaken by identifying regular practices within each setting
where professionals discuss past and future work. These were then subjected to
theoretical scrutiny, identifying common and distinctive features.
Findings
Sites of emergent learning were identified within the handover, site walks and catch-up
meeting practices. They arise through and are constituted in relationships between social
practices and the materialities of work. Sites of emergent learning involve negotiating,
exploring and questioning practice and knowledge associated with it; they are instances
within work practices in which work is done about how work gets done, developing new
understandings of the past in order to reshape visions for the future. Alongside these
commonalities, each site of emergent learning displayed distinctive features shaped by the particularities of the practices and materialities of each site.

Originality/Value
This concept is presented as a valuable tool to assist researchers of workplace learning. It elucidates particular learning-intensive features of practice, extending sociomaterial conceptualisations of professional and workplace learning.

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