A research student I supervise has started blogging his research on Learning in an Engineering Environment.
There are many theories of learning and practices of teaching around. Some of them actually relate to each other. Most of what we do in life consists of spontaneous learning episodes (i.e. unplanned and self-directed), but funnily enough most of the economic action in teaching and learning revolves around formal teaching/learning.
These are undertaken when, to disparage it unjustifiably I am sure, the learner hasn't got (or been given) anything better to do.
For example, amongst the tedium that new employees undergo, they are often "sent on a course".
A UCL student in Systems Engineering, Dan Singh, is looking at these phenomena in an engineering context. His main question is "what knowledge-related practices affect the effectiveness of engineers", or something like that. One way this is manifested is in the way an engineer, let us say a software developer, adapts to the knowledge (tacit and explicit) about a complex system they will work on. Clearly there are different ways of storing and transmitting system-specific information and translating this into useful knowledge. The question for a manager or an organisation is what methods actually work for them? Writing man pages? Going on courses? Having a wiki? Writing blogs? Anyway, enough of me, watch Dan's blog, Learning in an engineering environment.