Teaching Matters

Presentation 4 FR2

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Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018


From community to quasi-community


Gholam Reza EMAD, Australian Maritime College


Excellent teaching happens by design

Presentation Type



Flexible Learning Space 2




Until a few decades ago apprenticeship was the most common means of developing knowledge and competencies in many fields (Hutchins, 1995). In recent decades most of the vocational education and training became regulated and shifted from workplaces to formal education in training institutes. Situated learning theories such as communities of practice provide rich conceptual frameworks for analysing the processes by which apprentices become full participants in their workplace (Lave & Wenger, 1991). However, this concept has shortcomings for theorising learning in formal educational settings especially when it comes to adults’ academic and career preparation. Conceptual framework of quasi-communities developed to address these problems (Emad & Roth, 2016; Emad (under review)). This concept retains some of the dimensions of the original concept of community while abandoning others.

I report on a qualitative case study of the continuing training of mariners as evidence to show how this framework developed to identify and eventually improve learning in formal adult and vocational education. The quasi-community redefines the role of teacher to a facilitator and a resource, who coordinates the activities and assists the progress of the community members toward achieving their objectives. The objectives of the quasi-community is the product of negotiation between its members (course participants and the teacher). In the quasi-community students take an important role in design and delivery of the pedagogy. Here students actively participate in teaching practice and take responsibility for their own learning process. The pedagogy involves tasks that inspire students to invest in collaborative practices. It also promotes participants to bring into the open their expertise and share with their classmates their contextualised knowledge gained through their experiences. The study illustrates the variable learning opportunities that are available or might be developed within this framework.


Emad, G. (under review). Quasi-community: a Novel Framework for Vocational Technology Education, Manuscript submitted to the journal of Educational Technology Research and Development.

Emad, G., and Roth, W.-M. (2016). Quasi-Communities: Rethinking Learning in the Adult and Vocational Formal Education, Instructional Sciences, 44(6), 583—600.

Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the Wild. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Lave, J., and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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