Situated Learning Theory (Lave)

Summary: Situated Learning Theory posits that learning is unintentional and situated within authentic activity, context, and culture.

Originator: Jean Lave

Key Terms: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP), Cognitive Apprenticeship

Situated Learning Theory (Lave)

In contrast with most classroom learning activities that involve abstract knowledge which is and out of context, Lave argues that learning is situated; that is, as it normally occurs, learning is embedded within activity, context and culture. It is also usually unintentional rather than deliberate. Lave and Wenger (1991) call this a process of “legitimate peripheral participation.”

Knowledge needs to be presented in authentic contexts — settings and situations that would normally involve that knowledge. Social interaction and collaboration are essential components of situated learning — learners become involved in a “community of practice” which embodies certain beliefs and behaviors to be acquired. As the beginner or novice moves from the periphery of a community to its center, he or she becomes more active and engaged within the culture and eventually assumes the role of an expert.

Other researchers have further developed Situated Learning theory. Brown, Collins & Duguid (1989) emphasize the idea of cognitive apprenticeship: “Cognitive apprenticeship supports learning in a domain by enabling students to acquire, develop and use cognitive tools in authentic domain activity. Learning, both outside and inside school, advances through collaborative social interaction and the social construction of knowledge.”

Albert Bandura

In 2014, a list of the Top 100 Eminent Psychologists of the Modern Era was published in the Archives of Scientific Psychology. [7] Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura was ranked number one. Former president of the American Psychological Association, winner of numerous awards and more than sixteen honorary degrees, and widely held as the most influential [...]

Erik Erikson

Once described by a colleague as “Freud in sonnet form”, [5] psychological giant Erik Erikson blurred the line between science and art. A prolific researcher best known for his model of human development as a series of eight stages, Erikson’s long and abundantly rich life demonstrated a keen appreciation for the art of living. A [...]

Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional method of hands-on, active learning centered on the investigation and resolution of messy, real-world problems. Contents Contributors Key Concepts Resources and References Contributors Late 1960s at the medical school at McMaster University in Canada Key Concepts Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a pedagogical approach and curriculum design methodology often used [...]

Classical Conditioning (Pavlov)

Classical conditioning is a reflexive or automatic type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus. Contents Contributors Key Concepts Resources and References Contributors Ivan Pavlov (1849 - 1936) John B. Watson (1878 - 1958) Key Concepts Several types of learning exist. The [...]

Identity Status Theory (Marcia)

Refining and extending Erik Erikson's work, James Marcia came up with four Identity Statuses of psychological identity development. The main idea is that one's sense of identity is determined largely by the choices and commitments made regarding certain personal and social traits. Contents Contributors Key Concepts Resources and References Contributors James Marcia Key Concepts Based [...]

Ethical Theories and Frameworks

Ethical theories are important to study in order to establish a strong foundation for challenging situations or guide decisions — how do we know whether something is right or wrong? How can we use ethical theories and frameworks to help us determine appropriate legislation or whether or not a particular technology is designed to be […]

Chaos Theory

Summary: Chaos theory is a mathematical theory that can be used to explain complex systems such as weather, astronomy, politics, and economics. Although many complex systems appear to behave in a random manner, chaos theory shows that, in reality, there is an underlying order that is difficult to see.