- Aug 2018
Leaming viewed as situated activity has as its central defining characteristic a process that we call legitimate peripheral participation. By this we mean to draw attention to the point that learners inevitably participate in communities of practitioners and that the mastery of knowledge and skill requires newcomers to move toward full participation in the sociocultural practices of a community.
The phrase "situated learning" is contested (see pp. 31-35). Lave and Wenger use this definition:
"In our view, learning is not merely situated in practice — as if it were some independently reifiable process that just happened to be located somewhere; learning is an integral part of generative social practice in the lived-in world. The problem — and the central preoccupation of this monograph — is to translate this into a specific analytic approach to learning. Legitimate peripheral participation is proposed as a descriptor of engagement in social practice that entails learning as an integral constituent."
At the end of the chapter, Lave and Wenger offer this description:
"In conclusion, we emphasize the significance of shifting the analytic focus from the individual as learner to learning as participation in the social world, and from the concept of cognitive processes to the more-encompassing view of social practice."
There are central issues that are only touched upon in this monograph, and that need to be given more attention. The concept of "community of practice" is left largely as an intuitive notion, which serves a purpose here but which requires a more rigorous treatment. In particular, unequal relations of power must be included more systematically in our analysis. Hegemony over resources for learning and alienation from full participation are inherent in the shaping of the legitimacy and peripherality of participation in its historical realizations. It would be useful to understand better how these relations generate characteristically interstitial communities of practice and truncate possibilities for identities of mastery.
Lave and Wenger list a few limitations about LPP. Notably, for my study, the lack of definition around what is a "community of practice."
In this sense, peripherality, when it is enabled, suggests an opening, a way of gaining access to sources for understanding through growing involvement. The ambiguity inherent in peripheral participation must t�en _be connected to issues of legitimacy, of the social orgamzat10n of and control over resources, if it is to gain its full analytical potential.
Not sure I understand this entirely.
Are Lave and Wenger arguing that for LPP to be fully engaged as a learning theory, the organization's legitimacy must be fully on board.
Furthermore, legitimate peripherality is a complex notion, imRlicated in social structures involving rel�tions _of pow�r •.
Important to recognize that there are power dynamics in LPP within all 3 dynamics -- belonging, involvement, and relationship.
As noted later in this passage:
"In this sense, it can itself be a source of power or powerlessness, in affording or preventing articulation and interchange among communities of practice. The ambiguous potentialities of legitimate peripherality reflect the concept's pivotal role in providing access to a nexus of relations otherwise not perceived as connected."
But we intend for the concept to be taken as a whole. Each of its aspects is indispensable in defining the others and cannot be considered in isolation. Its constituents contribute inseparable aspects whose combinations create a landscape _ shapes, degrees, textures -of community membership.
LPP is constituted by each of its dimensions:
legitimate: belonging to a community of practice
peripheral: multiple ways to be involved in the community, that can/should change as learning is acquired
participation: the degree of relationship in community membership, which also can/should change as learning is acquired
In our view, earning is not merely situated in practice -as if it were some independently reifiable process that just happened to be located somewhere; learning is ao integral part of generative social practice in the lived-in world.
Lave and Wenger's definition of LPP.
"Legitimate peripheral participation is proposed as a descriptor of engagement in social practice that entails learning as an integral constituent." (p. 35)
The notion of situated learning now appears to be a transitory con-cept, a bridge, between a view according to w�ich cognit'.ve processes (and thus learning) are primary and a v�ew according to which social practice is the primary, generative p�eno�enon and learning is one of its characteristics.
Situated learning as a bridge beyond repetitive practice but learning as an actual social phenomenon.
The generality of any form of knowledge always lies i� the powe� to renegotiate the meaning of the past and future m constructing the meaning of present circumstances.
In a longer passage not clipped here, Lave and Wenger argue that knowledge is situated by context and circumstance -- not all knowledge is generalizable.
They also raise the point that knowledge also has a temporal component.
Second, this conception of situated learning clearly was more �nc�m�assi�� in i�tent than �onventional notions of '' learning in suu or learnmg by domg" for which it was used as a rough equivalent.
"Second, this conception of situated learning clearly was more encompassing in intent than conventional notions of 'learning in situ' or 'learning by doing' for which it was used a rough equivalent."
LPP came about because the definitions of situated learning were inadequate to describe how people learn while engaged in a social practice.
"Legitimate peripheral participation" provides a way to speak about the relations between newcomers and old-timers, and about activities, identities, artifacts, and communities of knowledge and practice. It concerns the process by which newcomers become part of a community of practice. A person's intentions to learn are engaged and the meaning of learning is configured through the process of becoming a full participant in a sociocultural practice. This social process includes, indeed it subsumes, the learning of knowledgeable skills.
This is an apt description for how SBTF volunteers are onboarded and learn how to contribute to a crowdsourcing process.