Contributor(s)Helen Bound and Peter Rushbrook
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AbstractThe introductory chapter outlines the book&#039;s central workplace learning themes from a socio-cultural perspective and situates them within the context of an Asia-Europe dialogue. Within this framework it problematises the idea of arguing that learning is not just acquisition, not just participation, but transformative of the self and circumstances, suggesting we need to consider learning as both acquisition and participation. However the acquisition metaphor or what Paulo Freire refers to as the banking concept of learning renders the learner(s) as passive, as having no agency, no will, no intent and that learners do not make their own meaning. Whereas learning as participation, deriving from the community of practice literature, places the emphasis on learning as being fundamentally social, as a matter of engagement, of the ability to negotiate new meaning, &#039;as a process of changing understanding in practice&#039; Unlike learning as acquisition, learning as participation recognises that learning is inherent in social relationships and that these relationships are embedded in practice, in the social setting of the practices and the activity of individuals and collectives. This is the strength of conceptualising learning as participation; however it does not account for the embeddedness of the wider social relations and conditions. Nor does learning as participation address the reality that we each bring our own understanding, our own mental image to what it is we are learning for. Our mental image, our understanding of an &#039;object&#039; is coloured by our individual and collective past experiences, our epistemological stance, our ethics and morals, our knowing. Therefore to understand learning we need to focus on who is doing the learning and under what circumstances.