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The rules of the Game: informal learning and the development of identity during the transition to higher education

Rutherford, Stephen 2017. The rules of the Game: informal learning and the development of identity during the transition to higher education. Informal Learning: Perspectives, Challenges, and Opportunities, Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World, United States of America: Nova Science Publishers, Inc, pp. 135-174.

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Abstract

Arguably the most important aim of Higher Education is the development of an independent, critical, and inquiring learner. This transformation is codified as the transition from a ‘child-focused’ model of learning (pedagogy) which is highly-driven by the teacher, to an ‘adult-focused’ model (andragogy), which is more self-motivated by the student. This progression is strongly reliant on the impact informal learning experiences. As this transition to independent, ‘student-mediated’ learning is not something that is typically taught in the formal learning sense, it must develop through the situations the student’s experience, and the social interactions they undertake. Enfolded within this development of student-mediated learning skills, is the parallel development of the learner’s own identity as a member of either a community of practice of learners, or a community of practice of the discipline, or both. Informal learning experiences have great potential to shape the evolving identity of the learner at this fundamental transitional stage. This development of identity can either be positive, creating a robust identity that can adapt to change and endure failure, or a fatalistic, negative identity, which can limit the learner’s potential for growth. This chapter uses the findings from a small qualitative study to consider the impact of informal learning on the development of a learner’s identity within a community of practice. The findings suggest that identities form very strongly, very quickly, and are induced by (and reinforced by) the ongoing informal learning experiences of the learner. Labelling one’s self as either an outsider or an imposter within a community of practice can lead to later challenges and low confidence. Conversely, identifying in a positive way as a successful learner can accelerate one’s entry into that community of practice

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers, Inc
ISBN: 9781536122503
Funders: National Teaching Fellowship
Date of Acceptance: 1 May 2017
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2018 15:24
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/107785

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