• Facilitating situated learning: A 'mode 2' pedagogical model

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2011-09)
      Learning through workplace activity and projects, as part of a university level qualification, is an increasingly common approach for practitioners to study part-time higher education. In facilitating and assessing such ‘learning through work’ approaches, we have identified three recurring practical issues: learners focusing on describing rather than critical reflecting on their work for new insight, learners rejurgitating theory, and/or critically reflecting on practice without reference to academic knowledge. As a result, the work based projects and assessments were considered to hold greater potential for change. A pedagogical model to address this has been developed and refined over a period of two years (emerging from Brodie and Irving, 2007) – drawing on practice and data from one of the largest providers of negotiated, work based university-level learning. Using a cyclic first person action research methodology (Whitehead and McNiff, 2006), the model was used in group workshop contexts and one-to-one facilitation contexts with professionals studying work based learning degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Three distinctive aspects emerged based on Gibbons et al’s (1994) conception of mode 1 and mode 2 knowledge, where ‘mode 1’ knowledge which is academic/theoretical, sequential knowledge, organised by disciplinary boundaries and where ‘mode 2’ knowledge is situated, messy, problem-based and trans-disciplinary. The model highlights three key areas for professionals to consider: 1. theoretical knowledge (mode 2 academic ideas, principles, theories), 2. critical reflection (questioning for new insight), and 3. the workplace (activity in it, as a location/space focus). We have identified that learners place a high value on the model to structure own thinking and to help them articulate and structure the assessments. For them, it clearly distinguishes three important elements to pay attention to, and for facilitators, it provides an easier and more efficient way to enable learners to engage in this mode of learning and assessment.