What is it about?

Situated learning theories such as communities of practice provide a rich conceptual framework for analyzing the processes by which newcomers become full participants in the communities they enter. However, some research shows that these concepts have shortcomings for theorizing learning in formal educational settings especially when it comes to adult academic and career preparation. The conceptual framework of quasi-communities retains some of the dimensions of the original concept while abandoning others.

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Why is it important?

Using a case study of the continuing training of mariners as evidence to show how the quasi-communities is developed to identify and eventually improve learning in formal adult and vocational education. Our analysis illustrates the variable learning opportunities in these settings that are available or might be developed within this framework.


This study was designed as a contribution to developing theory concerning the notion of community of practice (learning). Our research shows how a group of adults in the process of becoming certified practitioners attended a formal educational setting, developed a community, and succeeded in reaching their object/motives. We analyze how the pedagogy motivated them to engage socially, realize their common objectives, afford to pursue their joint enterprise and create a quasi-community. Praxis actively promoted the creation and cultivation of students’ community in the classrooms and created an environment in which the participants were afforded to evolve new competencies. We discuss how the quasi-community pedagogy can be co-developed through instructor’s practice and the students’ participation.

Dr G. Reza Emad
University of Tasmania

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Quasi-communities: rethinking learning in formal adult and vocational education, Instructional Science, August 2016, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s11251-016-9386-9.
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