Learning architectures and negotiation of meaning in European trade unions
As networked learning becomes familiar at all levels and in all sectors of education, cross-fertilisation of innovative methods can usefully inform the lifelong learning agenda. Development of the pedagogical architectures and social processes, which afford learning, is a major challenge for educators as they strive to address the varied needs of a wide range of learners. One area in which this challenge is taken very seriously is that of trade unions, where recent large-scale projects have aimed to address many of these issues at a European level. This paper describes one such project, which targeted not only online courses, but also the wider political potential of virtual communities of practice. By analysing findings in relation to Wenger’s learning architecture, the paper investigates further the relationships between communities of practice and communities of learners in the trade union context. The findings suggest that a focus on these relationships rather than on the technologies that support them should inform future developments.