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What is the relationship between guidance and learning?

Comment 1: What is the relationship between learning and guidance?

It can be argued that the principles of effective guidance interventions and effective teaching (learning) have considerable overlap. Both at best encourage individuals to reflect on and question the world around them, and their place within it. In career guidance terms this is sometimes expressed in relation to the DOTS mnemonic which identifies four learning domains around decision making, opportunity awareness, transition skills and self awareness.

To what extent do both career guidance and education more broadly share a central aim (albeit one that is not always realised) to enable individuals to become more autonomous critical thinkers rather than passive recipients of expert knowledge?

Comment 2: Development of autonomous critical users - this was, I think, an objective of classical liberal education.

It's just as relevant to guidance: you want the client to acquire the ability to make the decisions for themselves in the future and you go about it in various ways - demonstrating how to find resources, suggesting ways of dealing with a particular kind of problem, etc etc, The arrival of the Internet and World Wide Web, in particular, have meant that the old problem "where can I find out about...?" has been replaced by "how can I make sense of the many resources where I can find answers?" (The problem is no longer to find the info but to make sense of it and select from it - there are thousands of web sites that deal with job hunting and applications for example - you couldn't possible sift through them all).

Since quality control is practically non-existent on the Web, a prime task of guidance is to help develop critical users - you won't be there when they access the web pages anyway, 24/7, so you have to ensure they have the tools to deal with what they find, if you can. Similarly, the design of our own web sites, needs to prompt users to think critically about "information" (which in any case only exists in so far as they construe it for themselves - i.e. make personal sense of it). This is a careers educational task, of course, but also a web content design task and a guidance task (cf Consumers Association, Which, The Good Food Guide, etc etc). It just depends on which angle you come in from - education and learning happen all the time - not just in schools - and not just via teachers. Why do we need to establish a relation with guidance? I don't feel we ever got divorced - unless something has happened over the last decade that has particularly separated learning and guidance in some new way? A jolly little tool for young people on becoming critical users of the web is at

It may be a slight red herring, but illustrates one wayof starting to encourage critical users - unfortunately this is about health rather than guidance but it offers a model on how to encourage people to become "less passive recipients"....

Comment 3: This takes me straight into theory for practice!

Despite the development of new theories for guidance over the last decade or so, still the most dominant (in terms of influence on policy and practice) are those derived from differential psychology ('trait & factor'). Their purpose is to assess the abilities/aptitudes/interests, etc. of clients and match them to the best-fit job/course/training. There is no pretence within such frameworks that guidance should be, primarily, about learning. The client is assumed to be the passive recipient of the interview's expert knowledge/intervention (personified by the whole approach required for psychometric testing).

Developmental theories and social learning theories place individual learning more in the frame - but their use in practice is less conducive to delivering targets - so regarded as less feasible (in my experience) by both trainees and experienced practitioners.