The metaphor and reality of contextual transfer
The article reports on the first phase of a large-scale qualitative research project that explored the perceptions of training practitioners on how they understood the process by which we carry our knowledge and skill across different contexts. Clearly, this is a process of transition, where it is the individual who moves across the contexts and consequentially adapts, reshapes and makes decisions as to the applicability of his/her current competence within the new context of situation. The research has uncovered the complexity of this transition and the decision making involved, and provided participant support for some of the emerging theories of learning which take the concept of learning away from that of bounded learning where the material to be learnt in already known and there are experts who can transmit the necessary knowledge and skill to one of expansive learning where what is to be learned is not stable or well defined or understood ahead of time. The outcomes of the research, which are embedded in the developed model, suggest that we need to use formal learning to prepare our learners for the challenge of expansive learning.
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