General Idea of Situated Learning


If you put a learner in a real world situation (authentic context) and interact with other people then learning occurs. Situated learning usually involves engaging in tasks which parallel real world applications. The goal is to improve learning by motivating students and by providing a rich context for learning. It emphasizes the context and application of knowledge rather than memorizing facts (Heeter, 2005).

Situated Learning Theory

In contrast with most classroom learning activities that involve abstract knowledge which is and out of context, Lave argues that learning is situated; that is, as it normally occurs, learning is embedded within activity, context and culture. It is also usually unintentional rather than deliberate. Lave and Wenger (1991) call this a process of “legitimate peripheral participation.” Knowledge needs to be presented in authentic contexts — settings and situations that would normally involve that knowledge. Social interaction and collaboration are essential components of situated learning — learners become involved in a “community of practice” which embodies certain beliefs and behaviors to be acquired. As the beginner or novice moves from the periphery of a community to its center, he or she becomes more active and engaged within the culture and eventually assumes the role of an expert.

Research on Situated Learning