Re-framing learning in VET: Social capital in (workplace) learning

Ian Falk

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


    Effective learning occurs when interaction occurs. Interaction occurs when people engage each other, and engagement can occur in many ways. Learning from engagement can take place face-to-face. Engagement on telephones and emails is also a site for learning. Learning occurs in the engagement between a person and various kinds of texts, and when a person engages with the texts of their thoughts. As the case study of the plumber’s apprentice presented here illustrates, in all these interactions, it is the engagement that brings to the fore the past experiences (skills and knowledge) of the interactants. Simultaneously, these often unconscious choices from past experiences are guided by two factors: (a) facets of the interactants’ identities, and (b) expectations of future scenarios that mix with identity resources to define the experiences selected. That is, the identity-shaped selection of experiences forms the essence of learning that occurs in these engagements. Put another way, the outputs (benefits, impacts) of ‘the essence of learning’ are situationally formed and determined. However, the resources to engagement are only partly formed from the skills and knowledge we have come to refer to as human capital. The essential resource component is, in fact, aspects of the human participants’ identities. When the knowledge and skills of human resources blend at the point of engagement with the relevant components of identity resources, social capital is at once produced and built. Learning is, in these moments of engagement, the simultaneous using and building of the knowledge and identity resources from which social capital is formed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe sixth Australian VET Research Association Conference "The Changing Face of VET"
    Place of PublicationSydney
    PublisherAustralian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA)
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    EventThe Sixth Australian VET Research Association Conference: The Changing Face of VET - Sydney
    Duration: 9 Apr 200311 Apr 2003


    ConferenceThe Sixth Australian VET Research Association Conference: The Changing Face of VET
    Abbreviated titleAVETRA


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