Social Communities of Learning

Topics: Sociology, Adult education, Social movements Pages: 6 (2124 words) Published: March 31, 2013
Since the early 1900’s there has been a shift in the emphasis from learning with the focus being on the individual (local) to learning as part of a community (global). The emergence of social communities have worked in tandem with established forms of learning to educate the masses. These social communities were called by various names each having a different function and or terms of reference. Local learning takes place within ‘self’, as we learn people learn with us and from us, in a non formal or informal way. As we learn we tend to build social communities of learning, to enable us to counter the challenges we face, either individually or in groups. Social communities act in unison to bring about change and influence to structure social values. In social movements/civic organisations we challenge our individual roles to become one structure with a varying impact on civil society. When we identity with groups of similar nature on the global stage, our learning becomes globalised and we then participate on the public domain. The conceptualisation of ‘learning communities’ is currently what is at the fore of much educational and organisational literature and debate. Learning communities are being defined and used in diverse and flexible ways. Learning communities have grown in the different learning spaces afforded to them, be it social, political or economics. This learning has taken different forms and has been adapted to meet the social norms, the political lobbying and the geographical needs of the various communities of purpose.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have facilitated the emergence and rapid growth of learning communities whose members interact from remote corners of the globe to form online learning communities. The use of pop education in the early sixties also gave rise to new and non formal ways of learning. Using these mechanisms, adult learning has impacted on civic participation through changes in resources, networks, values and skills (Schuller et al, 2004). More recently there has been tremendous influence of adult learning on changes in values, which together with civil participation form components of social capital, ( Preston and Feinstein, 2004), supporting evidence that adult learning might lead to civic engagement, tolerant attitudes which in turn supports community cohesion and some knowledge of casual mechanism through which education may have effects. Adult learning, is continuously building resources in human capital (people) which provides them with knowledge and skills to engage civically. Human capital, has the potential to access basic competences such as literacy, generic competences (transfer of skills), and meta competences (leadership) which is useful in civil/social settings. The increase of social networks around issues of commonality increase civic and social participation, resulting in a lower personal identity but strengthening collective identity. In this assignment, I am interested in the contexts in which learning occurs in society, class distinction, gender and ethnicity both in a global and local context. From my readings, there is a strong gender and social distinction in the level of participation from communities, local and global. There is a blurred line between learning in informal as opposed to non formal participation. Learning amongst working class women may lead to increased informal participation without resulting in formal political or civic engagement (Ismail 2009). This assignment looks at how adult education contributes to popular struggles for democracy in its various forms, i.e. social justice and equality. Of the various forms of popular education, I would like to highlight the issues of popular education and transformative learning through social movement or civic society. Importantly the issues effecting those that are displaced from their own communities, who are working as hired labour in foreign countries. Being in a country not...
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