How to learn and what to learn
Thanks to my colleague Gill Roberts for pointing me to a paper 'Who Learns What at Work?' by Alison Fuller et al.
They have been interviewing employees in the food processing and retail sectors and argue that much attention is paid to how learners in these sectors learn, but less on what they need to know and what it means to know.
This quotation spoke volumes:
  1. "Importantly, the van drivers’ role contradicts stereotypical assumptions about what apparently ‘low level’ employees know and can do. It provides a particularly evocative example of why it is important for researchers to look closely at what it means, for differently positioned employees,‘to know’ in the workplace."
In Ultraversity we have asked employees to be researchers themselves. Considering what it is 'to know' and what to know are aspects of our notions of co-research and of reflection.
We would reject the idea that we, university researchers, could know best and try to offer the 'correct' learning diet to the van driver. We believe the van driver should engage with this question for herself, in the dialogue with work colleagues, our community of learners, her learning facilitator and with the hotseat 'expert'.
How else could they respond effectively to a rapidly changing world of work and to the highly specific nature of their work?
Ricardo’s Blagado
Thursday, 14 September 2006