‘In my case’ … the recruitment and recognition of prior informal experience in adult pedagogy

Publication data:

  • Author(s):
    • Breier, Mignonne
  • Date:
  • Country:
    South Africa
  • Document Type:
    Journal article
  • Keywords:
    curriculum, Experiential Learning, Assessment, formal education, law, universities, South Africa



Educators of adults are often urged to use the prior personal experience of their students as a pedagogic resource. Students have expectations that their narratives will be heard and valued. Whether this can—or should—be achieved in a particular discipline, in a course with a relatively fixed curriculum and formal assessment, is the issue addressed here. The paper explores programmes in Labour Law at two South African universities, using a systemic network approach to data analysis. The conclusion is that students’ experience can provide a useful starting point for induction into the more abstract reaches of a field of professional education (in this instance, legal principles and concepts as well as case law). However, this will require conditions that are very difficult to achieve in the current university context. [Author Abstract]