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Affording learning environments in workplace contexts: an interactional and multimodal perspective

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The present article seeks to contribute to reflections about learning in and through practice by addressing some general questions about the role of action and context in work-related training practices. It aims at a better understanding of the conditions under which work-production environments may or may not afford rich learning opportunities to novice workers. How can workplaces produce learning environments for newcomers in a profession? Under what conditions may workplace practices support learning opportunities or, on the contrary, generate obstacles to such opportunities? How can one assist vocational trainers or workplace supervisors to shape adequate learning environments in work-production contexts? To address these general questions, the article adopts a specific theoretical and methodological perspective, linking social theories of vocational learning with concepts and analytical tools borrowed from the fields of sociolinguistics and applied linguistics. It is proposed that an interactional and multimodal approach, based on a fine-grained analysis of discourse and interaction between learners and trainers, may inform about the challenges faced by both learners and trainers in practice-based training programmes. In the present article, these claims are elaborated and illustrated with empirical data gathered in the context of apprenticeship programmes as they are implemented in Switzerland.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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