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Unit information: Learning Lives in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Learning Lives
Unit code EDUC10003
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Wenham
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to some of the main social theories of learning that account for how we learn with and from significant others, in a range of different settings and across the life course. This process will include looking beyond formal education structures to what and how we learn in the settings of: family, community, workplace and digital spaces. Students will explore the diversity of social, cultural and material resources that shape learning over the life course and consider differences in the experiences of individuals and communities in access to, and use of, such resources.

The aims for this unit are to enable students to:

  • become familiar with key concepts and theories that define learning as a social process;
  • understand how learning practices and purposes differ across the life course;
  • consider how the range of social actors and resources that shape learning vary across settings and across ages;
  • research and reflect upon case studies of experiences of learning in different settings and relate them to their own experience.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

  1. recognise how learning practices and purposes differ across the life course;
  2. understand and be able to describe key research traditions that theorise learning as a socially-situated practice;
  3. review the different social actors and resources that shape learning across settings and across ages and the issues these raise for social justice in education;
  4. examine and reflect upon case studies of learning across the life course and in diverse settings, in light of the theoretical perspectives introduced on this course unit.

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including lectures, seminars, reading and discussions. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a regular basis.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment:

A 500 word summary of key concepts in the literature; and a group presentation reflecting on the themes from the literature and applications in practice.

Summative assessment:

ILO 1-4: A 2,000 word essay which applies key concepts from the literature studied on the course to the kinds of learning experiences identified in the group presentation.

Reading and References

Biesta, G., Field,J., Hodkinson, P., Macleod, F.J., & Goodson, I.F. (2011) Improving Learning Through the Lifecourse: Learning Lives. Abingdon: Routledge.

Bloome, D & Greene, J. (2015) The Social and Linguistic Turns in Studying Language and Literacy. In J. Rowsell, and K. Pahl (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

Gergen, K. (2015) An Invitation to Social Construction. London: Sage. ( Ch 6 'Education as relational process').

Illeris, K. (2009) Contemporary Theories of Learning: Learning Theorists - In Their Own Words, London: Routledge. [electronic resource & copies] (Chapters 1 and 5).

Illeris. K. (2007) How we learn: an introduction to learning and non-learning in school and beyond, Routledge. (Electronic resource and copies). (Ch 7. 'The Interaction Dimension of Learning'). pp 96-123.

Sefton-Green, J. (2013) Learning at Not-School: A Review of Study, Theory and Advocacy for Learning in Non Formal Settings. MacArthur Foundation.

Wenger, E. (2000) Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems. Organization. 7(2): 225-246.

Whitehead M (2010) Language & Literacy in the Early Years 0-7 (4th Ed.) London: Sage.