Situated learning: what does it consist of?
The world is no longer the same as it was years ago, however, some tools and strategies that are used to know and apprehend it do continue to be. In this article we will talk about situated learning as an alternative to static.
Education tends to maintain a traditional teaching scheme, oriented more to impart knowledge than to produce it collectively. In this sense, some theories and proposals seek to change course. This is the case of situated learning.
What is situated learning?
As the name implies, situated learning take into account the sociocultural context when considering the different situations, so it is specific and sensitive to the community in which it works. In this sense, it is very useful, practical and close, since all those topics that we can link with things that are familiar and everyday to us are fixed in a much stronger way.
As Sagastegui (2004) expresses, situated learning summarizes the ideal to arrive at a pedagogy that builds solid and flexible bridges. Education and daily practices are inseparable.
On the other hand, as it promotes the construction and the search for solutions collectively, it also strengthens group work and exchange skills. A situation is approached jointly, with as many nuances as people participate, which allows the development of a rich vision based on diversity.
In this way, the learning procedure ceases to be abstract and transcends the transmission of knowledge or content to become a participatory, active and social process.
We must look for the great theoretical and conceptual framework to understand situated learning in constructivism, which takes as its antecedents figures like Piaget and Vygotsky. Constructivism starts from the idea of a motivated, active subject that interacts with the environment.
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Phases and components of situated learning
Situated learning theory was developed by Etienne Wenger, an educational theorist and professional, and Jean Lave, a social anthropologist. For both, learning is related to a process by which knowledge is acquired in practice, through multiple actors, which involve both the teacher and the students.
From there also arises the idea of communities of practice as social groups that are constituted to develop knowledge, from the interaction between their members and the reflection of their experiences. Their common concern leads them to engage in the search for a solution.
Regarding the components, Wenger mentions 3 components that must always be present: participation, praxis and belonging. In other words, opportunities will be provided to intervene within a group that recognizes a problem and shares an identity.
In addition, Lave and Wenger cite some characteristics that any situated learning process must meet and they are the following:
- Relational and social character, since learning happens in interactions and in a specific context, so it also has a location.
- Character of negotiation. Being a collective construction, the different points of view are valid, but to reach an agreement you have to reach a consensus.
Stages of situated learning
Various authors, including Hernández and Diaz (2015), proposed the development stages of situated learning. They could be synthesized in the following:
- Take reality as a starting point: the content must be linked to something that is close and everyday. This will make it easier to establish the connection. To choose activities that are culturally and socially relevant, you must get to know the community.
- Analysis and reflection: At this point, triggering questions are applied to open the debate and share. Teachers should moderate the debate and add reflections and knowledge that allow orienting and linking the content with real situations. His role is more supportive. Different subjectivities must be validated and recognized.
- Solve in common: The objective of this stage is that students can put what they have learned to the test, make it more concrete. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most important stages, since it requires a prior design.
- Communicate and transfer: it is about socializing the learning experience, recognizing achievements and difficulties, sharing the process.
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Examples of activities
It can be applied at all stages, with the sole condition of adapting to the evolutionary cycle of the people it is aimed at. How do boys and girls learn more: visiting a farm and getting to know in situ animals or with pictures in the classroom?
In the case of teenagers, they can learn much more about notions of economics and management by setting up their own company, for example. Even in the workplace it can be applied; in medical residences.
Situated learning is not intended to devalue traditional forms of education, but it does point to the contribution of new and more creative ways, valuing cooperation and reciprocity.
Situated learning democratizes education
"Knowledge that does not come from experience is not really knowledge." This idea of Vygostsky reflects the interest in praxis, present in situated learning.
Promote participation, accompany as a teacher from a horizontal place and consider that everyone has something to teach are aspects that facilitate learning experiences. Aspects that also make them closer, enjoyable and memorable.
Furthermore, situated learning invites us to overcome individual educational trajectories to promote what can be taught and learned together, from the collective point of view. Education is always being and happening and we are all participants and builders.
Lastly, it expands opportunities by taking them out of the classroom, making education more democratic again.
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