Work-Based Mobile Learning Environments: Contributing to a Socio-Cultural Ecology of Mobile Learning

Work-Based Mobile Learning Environments: Contributing to a Socio-Cultural Ecology of Mobile Learning

Graham Attwell (University of Warwick, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0053-9.ch015
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Abstract

This paper examines the idea of a Work Oriented Mobile Learning Environment (WOMBLE) and considers the potential affordances of mobile devices for supporting developmental and informal learning in the workplace. The authors look at the nature and pedagogy of work-based learning and how technologies are being used in the workplace for informal learning. The paper examines the nature of Work Process Knowledge and how individuals are shaping or appropriating technologies, often developed or designed for different purposes, for social learning at work. The paper goes on to describe three different use cases for a Work Oriented Mobile Learning Environment. The final section of the paper considers how the idea of the WOMBLE can contribute to a socio-cultural ecology for learning, and the interplay of agency, cultural practices, and structures within mobile work-based learning.
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Using Technology To Support Work Based Learning

Work-Based Learning

A series of studies have pointed to an increase in work-based learning (Livingstone & Scholtz, 2006; Felstead, Gallie, Green, & Zhou, 2007). Felstead et al. (2007) report on a survey noting that

The proportion strongly agreeing to the statement ‘my job requires that I keep learning new things’ has consistently moved upwards during the 1992-2006 period – rising from 26% in 1992 to 30% in 2001 and then to 35% in 2006.

This may be due to a number of reasons: probably foremost are the pressures of technological change and changing products, work processes and occupational profiles (Guile, 2002). Work-based learning is seen as more efficient and effective and facilitates situated learning. The move towards work-based learning has been accompanied in some countries by a revival in apprenticeship training (see, for example, Learning and Skills Council, 2008). Some industries, for example in computing, have seen the spread of informal mentorship models for work-based learning ‘borrowed’ from traditional craft-based models of training (Hoover, 2009). It has also been accompanied by a spread of the training function (Attwell & Baumgartl, 2008), with increasing numbers of workers taking some responsibility for training as part of their job.

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