Adult Learning Theory in Human Resources Assignment Sample

Situated Learning Theory for Strategic Training, Collaborative Culture & Skill Development in Human Resources

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Introduction of Situated Learning Theory in Human Resources Assignment

“Andragogy” is also known as adult learning theory which is a concept of learning human behaviour in adults and in children. This study article presents different types of adult learning theories like “Fordism, Taylorism, and Kolb’s ‘learning cycles” which have their own advantages for implementation. On the other hand, situated learning theory provides an opportunity for children to engage themselves in real-life and problem-solving contexts. This study focuses on the usefulness of the situated learning theory for a practitioner in the human resource department. The study further highlights the similarities and differences between situated learning theory and adult learning theory. Further, the criticism and example of the situated learning theory are discussed in the study that highlights its significance in the industries and the effectiveness of the same for HR practitioners. The importance of situated learning theory in human resources is also mentioned in this research. This enhances and helps in identifying the impact of the theories as their implementation can be beneficial to the company and employees in an organisation. Finally, a small brief summary of the entire research is presented at the end.

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Adult learning theories

Andragogy commonly referred to as adult learning theory, is a theory of how both adults and children may learn human behaviour. The various principles and assumptions of this theory by the adult learners result in effective guidance and designing of the learning approach. As per Schott and Marshall, (2018) this theory helps in engaging people with experience to help them guide themselves and others based on their experience. This theory includes a self-concept that is self-directed, motivation to learn that is intrinsic in nature, and experienced knowledge. According to Sudria et al. (2018) along with this development in the role of readiness to learn and finally the right orientation to learning that solves problems are the basic adult learner assumptions that further lead to principles of adult learning theory. These principles include problem-centred, involvement, experience and relevant nature. These principles accumulate together to form the foundation of adult reading theory. Suggested by Lave and Wenger, (2014) In case of community practice, generation and sharing of idea repertoire, memories and commitments are necessary. Resources such as routine, documents, symbol and vocabulary is mandatory for knowledge accumulation in the community practice. In these aspects, the similarities can be observed with theories such as Kolbe’s learning cycle. As referred to by Mukhalalati and Taylor, (2019) these theories are implicated in industries for HR practitioners. They can implement these in the best way possible to represent their company.

The principles encompass people who want to get involved in planning and evaluation. Also, the prior learning of the HR practitioners might be leveraged with different learning activities. As mentioned by Mattar, (2018) further relevance has an impact on the subject who gels the lease to focus on solving the issues and making the right decisions. The application of many adult learning theories, such as "Fordism, Taylorism, and Kolb's learning cycles," has its own benefits. As opined by Fromm et al. (2021) the effective engagement of the learner's cost saves effective designing and it also brings a change in the behaviour of the learner in a company. Effective training is required to implicate these theories in the organisation. Fordism theory is an “economic theory” that institutionalised management prerogatives of the workers to raise their wages. Taylorism theory too is close to Fordism which chose the labourers scientifically to train them according to the requirement of the company.

The Taylor management scientific theory works for cooperation and harmony but not for discord or enthusiasm. This helps HR practitioners to learn and develop themselves for the global market and helps in representing their industry in the best way. Through taylorism, the employees are under constant eye and they work in strict timing. The next Kolb's learning cycle under adult learning is a 4 phase learning process that focuses on concrete learning, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation”. This is an effective way of learning as the learner gets a logical perspective to think critically and help their co-workers in solving any issue. The situated learning hypothesis gives kids the chance to interact with real-world situations where they must solve problems. As stated by Merriam, (2018) the situated learning theory's applicability to a practitioner in the human resources field is highlighted. Thus, this study also discusses the value of the contextual learning theory in human resources. According to Sommerauer and Müller, (2018) this improves and aids in determining the impact of the ideas because their application can be advantageous to the firm and its personnel.

The study's critique and illustration of the situated learning theory emphasise its importance to many industries and the usefulness of the theory for HR professionals. On the other hand, Sitthiworachart et al. (2021) determine that this approach places the person in a situation where they can learn new skills that are very useful and can aid them in resolving the issue by making the appropriate choices. As mentioned by Bednarek and Parkes, (2021) the hypothesis also increases the possibility that similar situations would be implied. The theory carefully applies the learner's knowledge to a particular situation. According to this idea, contextual practice with real embedding is the best way to put the knowledge acquired through situated learning theory into practice. The situated learning theory is socio-cultural learning. It helps in improving the ability of HR practitioners in increasing their knowledge in “behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connections.". It provides support to the practitioners to socially interact and manage the HRM in the organisation.

Similarities and differences between situated learning theory and adult learning theory


Both the adult learning theory and situated learning theory have few similarities. The andragogy encompasses the situated learning theory. These two theories conceptualise the apprenticeship, partnership, consideration, collaboration, coaching, reflection, multiple practices, and articulation of learning skills”. The theory suggests learning for unintended contextual; knowledge and connecting the learning with people to bond different associations. Both of these theories negotiate with principles that lie in implementing the behaviour of an HR practitioner or any other employee in an organisation (Lave and Wenger, 2004). The acquired traits along with the skills that are in-built into a person are retained and re-called during formulating the theory in impending it in real life. The process includes “visual, aural, physical and verbalwhich are auxiliary to each other.


The concept of teaching human behaviour to both adults and children is known as andragogy, commonly referred to as adult learning theory. Different adult learning theories, such as "Fordism, Taylorism, and Kolb's learning cycles," each have benefits for application. This notion aids in involving experienced individuals in guiding others and themselves based on their expertise. As opined by Taylor, (2018) this idea incorporates a self-directed self-concept, intrinsic motivation to study, and experienced knowledge. The fundamental adult learner presumptions that further lead to the principles of adult learning theory goes hand in hand with this growth in the function of willingness to learn. Besides this, Sitthiworachart et al. (2021) state that in the end, the proper orientation to learning addresses the difficulties.

Problem-centred, involved, experience-based, and relevant nature are some of these guiding ideas. The cornerstone of adult reading theory is made up of these ideas taken together. As determined by Morris, (2020) HR professionals are affected by these beliefs in various sectors. They may put these into practice in the most effective way to represent their business. People who desire to participate in planning and evaluation are covered by the principles. The theories of adult practice have been implemented in the majorly in large environmental background, whereas community practice has been applicable in local region, and learning factors (Lave and Wenger, 2004). Additionally, various learning activities may be used to capitalise on the prior learning of HR practitioners. The subject is affected by the additional relevance, which helps the tenant concentrate on resolving the problems and choosing the appropriate course of action.

The situated learning hypothesis, on the other hand, gives kids the chance to interact in real-world, problem-solving situations. As referred by Ashford, (2020) this highlights the practical value of the contextual learning theory for a practitioner in the human resources field. This study also mentions the significance of contextual learning theory in terms of human resources. In addition to this, Sudria et al. (2018) state that as their application may be advantageous to the business and its employees, this improves and aids in detecting the influence of the ideas. In this study, the situated learning theory is critiqued and given an example to demonstrate its importance to many businesses and how useful it is for HR professionals.

In accordance with Maia et al. (2019), this theory puts the individual in a realistic scenario to acquire new ways that are especially valuable and can help them to overcome the problem by implementing the right decisions. On the other hand, Watson, (2019) proposes that the theory also enhances the likelihood of the implication of contexts that are similar in nature. The theory strategically implements the knowledge of the learner in a given scenario. On the contrary, Bednarek and Parkes, (2021) this theory holds authentic embedding for the practice of the contextual scenario as an effective way of implementing the knowledge that has been learned through situated learning theory.

Criticism and example of the situated learning theory

The relationship development between various people is identified as the concept of situated learning theory. As per the view of O’Brien and Battista (2020), the application of situated learning theory developed some critics as the theory does not have “internal representations or concepts in mind”. On the other hand, the implementation of the present theory is related to a parameter where a limited number of constraints are identified. As an example of the present limitation identified in science 10 curriculums in British Columbia, students do not get much time to determine direction based on the course metals (Boström et al. 2018). Therefore, such a situation impacted the preparation level, which impacted the real-life situation of exam preparation. On the other side, another barrier or criticism of the present learning theory is identified as a lack of context specificity. Therefore, the application of the present theory in an organisation raises issues for the transformation of knowledge among employees.

Application of present learning theory in case of an individual developing and formulating issues and creates complications for management of the varied situations. As per the view of Wise and Jung, 2019, “apprenticeship, collaboration, reflection, coaching, multiple practices, and articulation of learning skills” are identities as different characteristics of situated learning theory. As an example of the use of situated learning theory in the workplace that is identified, corporate internships help students to apply those in the workplace. Three major elements have been identified that need to be applied while using situated learning theory Content, Context and community (Collins, 2021). As an example of the application of the present theory, identified employees are learned about any particular skills, such as technical skills development and apply those in the workplace. In addition, another criticism of the present learning theory is identified as the development of “professional and psychological risks” in the learning process.

In the workplace, the present theory, therefore, "situated learning theory," can be applied, which impacts the performance of the employees positively or negatively. An example of the use of situated learning theory at the workplace is identified as the use of internship skills in the workplace. On the other hand, some examples of the application of situated learning theory are "group activities, group discussion and training for technical skill development", which are used in the workplace (Bower, 2019). As an example of the use of situated learning theory at the workplace as X is trying to learn a new machine learning skill, where Y, as a leader, helps X to learn those. Besides those active applications, various criticisms are identified, application of the present theory leads to failure in an acknowledged activity (Lave and Wenger, 2004). They have also acknowledged that there are certain risks for the community learning procedures, such as public knowledge, power relations, access and public accountability. As the theory does not acknowledge people to learn with the use of independent study, their barriers are identified in social interaction (Stewart, 2021). Obstruction is identified in the use of situated learning theory as those create complications for the application of flexibility in learning.

Creativity and individuality are much limited in the application of the situation learning theory. On the other hand, the application of creativity in learning, such as new technology, makes learning much more prosperous and efficient (Corbett and Spinello, 2020). In addition, the present theory helps the learners to reflect on authentic context rather than complications being identified due to a lack of creativity. Besides the presence of various adult learning theories, the present theory is a theory which is used in workplace learning. In the large-scale section, the implementation of the present theory is identified as a complex process that needs to be identified in alternative ways (Yeoman and Wilson, 2019). An example of the use of present theory in the workplace is where leaders or workplace managers help interns or new employees to participate in an unfamiliar environment. The use of learning theory helps in the development of learning skills for the adoption of activities for managing people in an adverse environment. Therefore, besides the prince of various effectiveness, some criticism is identified which impacts on application of the theory.

Importance of situated learning theory in human resource

In the above discussion that is identified, various criticisms are present in the use of present adult learning theory in the workplace. According to the view of Meyers et al. (2021), in human resources management, precise application of the present theory helps to adopt elements of talent management. In addition, the application of situated learning theory helps the employees of the workplace to use their real-life or internship experiences in the workplace. HR is given opportunities to the employees “to engage with real-life and problem-solving contexts” in the workplace by applying situated learning theory. Some other importance of situated learning theory is listed below;

  • Improve strategic training ability of HRM by including "behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connections."
  • Helps the HRM process for the development of collaboration in the workplace among employees (Cleland and Durning, 2019).
  • Give support to multiple practices and application of those practices in the workplace.
  • Social interaction is supported by the present theory, which is managed with the use of HRM practice.

The identified opportunities help to improve HRM practises in an organisation and support the workers to increase their ability to interact socially. There are various ways identified for the application of situated theory through HRM in the organisation, and those are listed below;

  • Group discussions
  • Sharing expertise with team members or colleagues
  • Replicating or following the behaviour of leaders
  • Training support, such as seminars
  • Learning mentorships by support leaders (Stewart, 2021).

The above-mentioned methods are an effective way to the application of situated learning theory in the workplace. The implementation and improvement of the HRM practice, along with the support of the mentioned methods, help the workers give support to other employees. As per the view of Collins (2021), “Learning and development” are two key elements for the professional development of employees and present elements are applied in HRM. Those elements are supported by the use of situated learning theory in the organisation, which is driven by the Human resource management practice. In the workplace, with the use of the present adult learning theory (Lave and Wenger, 2004), HRM is developing training programs to increase the performance of the employees in the organisation (O'Brien and Battista, 2020). Therefore, the application of the present theory helps in the development of the performance of employees. Application of learning and thinking skills helps in the management of the employees in the organisation and employees effectively.

The employees are able to learn the various skills which are required for adaptation of the effective process in the organisational support. Human resource management is focused on the talent management and skill enhancement of the employees (Meyers et al. 2020). Additionally, HRM management is improving the skills enhancement process by applying situated theory with increasing the strategic application perspective. The organisations may address the issues and related solutions for the issues which are transferred to the learners by use of various aids and application of situated theory (Boström et al. 2018). Therefore, Human resource management focuses on the training session for the use of adult learning theories for the management of employees and upskilling them. In a workplace, sharing experiences between employees help in the effective development of employees. Situated learning theory is oriented with the natural settings of the professionals and personal skills.

The capability development and project management process are supported by the use of the present adult learning theory. Therefore, for improvement of the present area and reduced challenges of the identified area, the present theory plays an effective role as the results of the human resource manager are selected as the present theory (Merriam, 2018). In the improvement of the internal and external environment use of the present theory adds value to improve the situation. Therefore in the critical analysis of the present theory that is identified, situated learning theory effectively contributed to the development of the HRM process.


Based on the present discussion that is identified in various adult learning theories, situated learning theory is such a theory which is applied as skill improvement theory in the workplace. It is concluded that similarity is present between situated and adult learning theories as those are mainly focusing on collaboration and skill enhancement processes. In addition, selected learning theories such as “Fordism, Taylorism, and Kolb's” are mainly focusing on self-direction, whereas situated theory focuses on the fundamental learning process. In addition, some criticism is identified associated with situated learning theory applications, such as “professional and psychological risks” and lack of flexibility for learners. Therefore it is concluded that various risk factors arise with the application of situated learning theory rather than the support also given by the present learning theory. Based on the above findings, the HRM of the organisation developed a training plan for the workers with the use of the present adult learning theory.

It is concluded that the use of the present theory helps the workers to use their previously learned skills or internship skills in the workplace. Therefore based on the present analysis, it is concluded that skill enhancement is supported by the use of situated learning theory in the development of HRM practice.


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