Lave and Wenger (Situated Learning) are great at questioning traditional assumptions about learning. They suggest that there is a "folk epistemology of dichotomies" (have to remember to slip that phrase into conversation....). eg. "between 'abstract' and 'concrete' knowledge. These categories do not reside in the world as distinct forms of knowledge, nor do they reflect some putative hierarchy of forms of knowledge among practicioners. Rather, they derive from the nature of the new practice generated by sequestration. Abstraction in this sense stems from the disconnectedness of a particular cultural practice. Participation in that practice is neither more nor less abstract or concrete, experiential or cerebral, than in any other. Thus, legitimate peripheral participation as the core concept of relations of learning places the explanatory burden for issues such as 'understanding' and 'levels' of abstraction or conceptualisation not on one type of learning as opposed to another, but on the cultural practice in which the learning is taking place, on issues of access, and on the transparency of the cultural environment with respect to the meaning of what is being learned." (p104).
Great, hey! So it's not that the classroom deals in abstract theory (or cognition) and the field setting in concrete practice (or experience). Rather, the classroom is abstracted from the field setting because what happens there is in fact a different set of cultural practices. So its not that there's a burden on the classroom to the transmit the theory correctly and on the field setting to inculcate people with the right experiences. Rather BOTH settings involve learning new understandings and practices that are designed to replicate the kinds of communities in which they take place!
But more than that, the classroom teaching may be designed to withhold certain kinds of information or experience on the assumption that "theory" must be learned before "practice". The issue here is that the control of information may have more to do with the institution's ways of replicating itself than with a sound theory of learning for effective practice in a field setting.
I do like this stuff!