Learning the Ropes: The Social Construction of Work-Based Learning

S. Hart-Landsberg, J. Braunger, S. Reder, M. M. Cross

This study explores as examples the ways hospital unit secretaries "learn the ropes" of their jobs by developing and applying their knowledge and abilities in the contexts of the organizations in which they work. The paper emphasizes learning the ropes as distinct from two previously studied kinds of workplace learning--apprenticeship learning and on-the-job-training. Broad implications can be drawn for two arenas of workplace training: (1) workplaces can take advantage of the essential, pervasive role of learning during work by structuring assisted practice; and (2) schools can improve occupational learning by attending to thought about social systems as contexts in which content and skills are applied.

MDS-413 / November 1993

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