Understanding workplaces as learning environments: Staff Development at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in the Western Cape (WC)
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The main objective of this research is to understand workplaces as learning environments. More specifically, the research explored how a TVET college affords opportunities for lecturers for learning through participation in work activities with guidance and support for learning on the job from peers and more experienced colleagues. The research also explored factors which enable or constrain their learning and how they elected to engage with workplace affordances for learning. Drawing on data gathered through analysis of national and institutional policies and semi structured interviews this paper argues that The TVET College does offer opportunities for learning on the job for lecturers. The TVET College affords opportunities for participation in authentic work activities through which lecturers can develop knowledge and understanding of the practices which are relevant and applicable to their particular work context. It is also evident that guidance and support from peers and more senior colleagues are available to lecturers, both less and more experienced. Practices which could become elements of a strategy for co-participation and learning through work do exist at The TVET College. However, there are also limitations and it cannot be argued that intentional strategies for learning exist at The TVET College which can be seen as aspects of workplace pedagogy and workplace curriculum. Finally it is clear that TVET colleges are seen primarily as sites of learning for students; there is little focus on TVET colleges as sites for workplace learning for lecturers. This is an under-researched area in the policy and academic literature on TVET colleges and it is hoped that this study has made a contribution, even if a small one, to filling this gap.