In the situated learning approach, knowledge and skills are learned in the contexts that reflect how knowledge is obtained and applied in everyday situations. Situated cognition theory conceives of learning as a sociocultural phenomenon rather than the action of an individual acquiring general information from a decontextualized body of knowledge (Kirshner and Whitson 1997).This Digest presents an overview of the concepts related to applying situated cognition in adult learning. It should be noted that situated learning theory has not yet produced precise models or prescriptions for learning in classroom settings.
The Concept of Situated Learning
As an instructional strategy, situated cognition has been seen as a means for relating subject matter to the needs and concerns of learners (Shor 1987). Learning is essentially a matter of creating meaning from the real activities of daily living. By embedding subject matter in the ongoing experiences of the learners and by creating opportunities for learners to live subject matter in the context of real-world challenges, knowledge is acquired and learning transfers from the classroom to the realm of practice. To situate learning means to place thought and action in a specific place and time. To situate means to involve other learners, the environment, and the activities to create meaning. To situate means to locate in a particular setting the thinking and doing processes used by experts to accomplish knowledge and skill tasks (Lave and Wenger 1991). In the adult classroom, to situate learning means to create the conditions in which participants will experience the complexity and ambiguity of learning in the real world. Participants will ...
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...Multiple Influences on Application Following an Adult Education Program." Adult Education Quarterly 47, no. 2 (Winter 1997): 92-107. (EJ 540 408)
Schell, J., and Black, R. "Situated Learning: An Inductive Case Study of a Collaborative Learning Experience." Journal of Industrial Teacher Education 34, no. 4 (Summer 1997): 5-28. (EJ 548 508)
Shor, I. Critical Teaching and Every Day Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Shor, I. When Students Have Power: Negotiating Authority in a Critical Pedagogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
Wilson, A. "The Promise of Situated Cognition." In An Update on Adult Learning Theory, edited by S. B. Merriam, pp. 71-79. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.
Young, M.F. "Instructional Design for Situated Learning." Educational Technology Research and Development 41, no. 1 (1993): 43-58. (EJ 462 809)
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