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Article – Communities of Practice
(Learning and work as social activities)

by David Stamps
associate editor of TRAINING Magazine.
Copyright © 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Learning is social. Training is irrelevant?

As the end of a century draws near, the air is sure to thicken with prophecies about the future, including the future of work. The “knowledge worker” will be a favorite topic of management soothsaying; so will “the learning organization.”

But for a clear vision of how learning should happen in a business setting, you need only talk to Dede Miller, a customer service representative for Xerox Corp. For two years she was treated to a tantalizing glimpse of the future. Today she finds herself wishing she could go back to it.

To know her story is to understand just how wide a gap still separates learning theory and common training practice – and how hard it will be to apply new approaches to workplace training, even those that make incontestable sense.

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