‘Effective Learning: Mainly Social’

Posted in SSZ Briefings  ·  July 5th 2016

In response to our recent 5-minute Briefing on ‘Academic Mindsets’, one of our readers replied that she enjoys the Briefings and finds them very relevant to her own thinking and practice. We welcome all feedback – positive and negative – so, if you’ve time, please feel free to drop us a line to let us know what you think.

We are doubly grateful to this reader, who also drew our attention to the link between ‘academic communities’ that we had mentioned in the Briefing and the work of Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger on ‘Communities of Practice’. (1)

One aspect of Lave and Wenger’s work is the emphasis they place on the fact that “learning is in the relationships between people”.

In our workshops, we always stress to students that learning is about relationships – about the brain forming relationships or making connections between something it already knows and something new it is learning. But all of our programmes also promote team work and the value of people working together, in relationship, to achieve outcomes.

Some of the ways people talk about learning seem to imply that learning is mainly an individual activity. Lave and Wenger say no: effective learning is mainly social. Good examples of this that we put forward are ‘study groups’ and having a ‘study buddy’. If you would like more information about either of these or how Study Skills Zone can assist you and your students, please contact us.

(1) Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation, Lave and Wenger (1991)

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