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Communities of practice and ways to learning: charting the progress of biology undergraduates

ORSMOND, Paul and MERRY, Stephen and Callaghan, Arthur (2013) Communities of practice and ways to learning: charting the progress of biology undergraduates. Studies in Higher Education, 38 (6). pp. 890-906. ISSN 0307-5079

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Abstract or description

This article discusses social learning outside of the overt curriculum. A thematic approach was used to analyse data from semi-structured interviews with 30 biological sciences students from a post-1992 university in the UK. The results indicate that: (1) students form communities of practice which function outside the formal curriculum, (2) there is a changing profile to community practice over three years of study as undergraduates revise their sense of academic identity, and (3) students' communities of practice seem to be influenced by external social networks which remain constant in their nature over three years of study. Findings are discussed in terms of Wenger's framework for the development of communities of practice, the role of distributed cognition in student social learning, and the importance of social capital within student social learning networks. Implications for the taught curriculum and how it is delivered are considered.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: X300 Academic studies in Education
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences > Sciences
Depositing User: Paul ORSMOND
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2013 17:50
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2013 16:11
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/375

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