Learning and Construction in Engineering Jobs.Report as inadecuate

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Knowledge production and learning in engineering is a local, situated, negotiated, and thoroughly social process. Although engineering work entails the construal, production, and application of artifacts and technical devices belonging to the "object world," the process of designing is a process of achieving consensus among real or virtual participants with different interests in the design, and those interests are vested in the local social practices of the involved engineers. The establishment of consensus is a "social world" activity that can be described as a collective learning achievement, and when this "social world" activity aims at establishing a consensus about technical devices, the generation and manufacture of "object world" phenomena are also rooted in social interest. Evidence supporting this thesis exists in discussions of the sociology of scientific knowledge and in empirical investigations of the learning processes that occurred as a team of seven engineers employed by a high-tech telecommunication company worked on a design project for the development of new facilities for telephone centrals. The investigation documented how the engineers were embedded in organizational culture stressing commercial aspects while being simultaneously united by their technical interests and problem-solving methods in a complex and self-referential system of shared values, commitments, beliefs, and emotions. (MN)

Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Structures, Cooperation, Cooperative Learning, Education Work Relationship, Engineering, Engineers, Group Dynamics, Informal Education, Knowledge Representation, Learning Processes, Learning Theories, Literature Reviews, Participative Decision Making, Peer Influence, Postsecondary Education, Professional Development, Social Behavior, Social Influences, Teamwork, Telecommunications

Roskilde University Press, Postbox 260, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark (Papers not sold individually; Complete volume: ISSN-1395-6833; ISBN-87-7867-120-5, $15). Fax: 45-3815-3857; e-mail: kac[at]ruc.dk; Web site: http://www.esrea.org.

Author: Buch, Anders

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=6502&id=ED465860


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