Training for Basic Skills or Educating Workers?: Changing Conceptions of Workplace Education Programs

K. Schultz

This paper takes a critical look at workplace education programs through an examination of their assumptions about literacy, curriculum and curriculum development, teachers and teaching, and learners and learning. A set of matrices is proposed for program developers and planners, instructors, policymakers, and researchers to classify programs in order to understand the range and variation of existing programs; to clarify and assist in decision-making processes; and to aid in the conceptualization of new, existing, and future programs. The paper concludes that although workplace programs funded by the federal government have had a brief history, a new orthodoxy of program development based on particular understandings of literacy and learning has already emerged. The validity of continuing to use these commonly accepted practices is questioned, especially in light of the changes many workplaces are making in their organization of work.

MDS-255 / March 1993

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