Knowledge, Practice, and Workplace Learning

  • Jim HordernEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter examines conceptualizations of the relationship between vocational knowledge and practice and explores implications for workplace learning suggested by contrasting approaches. A distinction is drawn between theories that foreground practice as a site of vocational learning through participation and those which have tended to highlight the acquisition of systematic knowledge as the basis for expertise in occupations. It is suggested that these divergent approaches assume different conceptualizations of practice itself and involve distinctive treatments of issues of vocational knowledge and identity. It is argued that greater attention needs to be paid to the differentiation between specialized and nonspecialized aspects of vocational knowledge, and this provides a basis for differentiating forms of vocational practice in terms of the specialization of underpinning knowledge and through the extent to which that knowledge is acknowledged, recognized, and foregrounded in workplace curricula. This then provides a means for evaluating the potential for learning profitably from aspects of workplace activity and for considering what constitutes full participation in an occupational practice.


Vocational education Knowledge specialization Vocational practice Systematic knowledge Learning as participation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bath Spa UniversityBathUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Karen Evans
  • Natasha Kersh
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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