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The three facets of knowledge: A critique of the practice-based learning theory
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business.
2010 (English)In: Research Policy, ISSN 0048-7333, E-ISSN 1873-7625, Vol. 39, no 1, 39-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The community of practice learning theory (Lave and Wenger, 1991) can be credited with establishing the social basis of learning, viewing it as occurring through participation in social practices and activities. However, it remains silent on the cognitive content of what is learned by participants in a community of practice. Nor does it address explicitly the role of individuals in the knowing process. Individuals are merely depicted in terms of a desire to belong to a community, progressing from a peripheral participation position to a more central one. The aim of the present paper is to assess the contribution of Lave and Wenger's (1991) practice theory for educational and other learning social settings. In a schooling context, for instance, Lave and Wenger's (1991) account of learning would imply that what students learn at school is how to relate and belong to the school community. By reducing learning and knowing to participation, and by displacing cognition from individuals to anonymous practices, the practice-based epistemology ignores the significant corpus of content knowledge (such as curriculums) and ascribes too passive a role to individuals and glosses over their differentiated access to resources for changing practices and their differentiated efforts in their social and cognitive development. The present paper suggests an approach to knowledge that takes into account the various facets of knowledge, that is, knowledge as knowledge-productive practices, as content, and as relation to a knowing subject, at the same time preserving the sociality of knowledge and learning. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 39, no 1, 39-46 p.
Keyword [en]
Community of practice learning, Knowledge as participation, Knowledge as content, Knowledge as a relation
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-49116DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2009.11.005ISI: 000274958400004OAI: diva2:376480
authorCount :1Available from: 2010-12-10 Created: 2010-12-10 Last updated: 2010-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Yakhlef, Ali
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