Jean Lave is a social anthropologist who theorizes learning as changing participation in on-going changing practice. Her lifework challenges conventional theories of learning and education.
Her studies of apprenticeship are recognized as a significant critique of educational psychology. She pioneered the theory of situated learning and communities of practice, with the assistance of her student Etienne Wenger.
In 1988, Lave and her students showed that grocery shoppers in Orange County, California who could successfully do the mathematics needed for comparison shopping were less able to do the same mathematics when they were presented with the same problems in a formal test.