oa Journal of Education - A network analysis of formal and informal knowledge in adult pedagogy

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



This paper presents an analytic framework whereby the relationship between formal and informal knowledge can be viewed in a pedagogic context. The framework is the result of a dialectical conversation between the theories of Bernstein and Dowling, primarily, and the empirical data from case studies of two university courses in Labour Law. A major feature of the framework is a systemic network, showing the relationships between pedagogic strategies associated with the particular, the local and the concrete and those associated with the general, the distant and the abstract. The research arises out of concern about the extent to which prior informal experience can be recruited usefully in the pedagogy of adults in a higher education context where there is commitment to the valuing of adult experience and learning but a pre-defined and relatively non-negotiable curriculum.

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