Professional Learning: A Continuum Reimagined
- Common Ground Research Networks
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- The International Journal of Learning, 2018, 25 (1), pp. 39 - 55
- Issue Date:
Professional learning is integral to being in the workforce. In this article, “professional learning” ranges from student preparation for work, to the ongoing development of graduates in their careers. Given the rise of corporate learning academies and other capability-building programs within organizations, and the changing nature of work, this article highlights a need for universities to reimagine professional learning approaches. We argue that professional learning needs to be considered as a continuum by universities, employers of graduates, and graduates themselves, beyond current ideas about work-integrated learning. Otherwise, the risk is that universities will be left behind or left out of the evolving world of professional learning. We believe the transition between university studies and workplace careers will be smoother and more meaningful if professional learning approaches are aligned, with the student/employee learning journey centre stage. This article uses a comparative personal narrative methodology in exploring what can be learned from the experience of university educators to inform future models of professional learning. Based on the literature and practice examples discussed, future models are likely to include a clear focus on motivation for interdisciplinary social learning in networks. This involves a combination of mobile technology and face-to-face experiences, with a sense of belonging fostered for collaborative “meaning making” and enhanced personal and organizational productivity. It is vital to understand the learner context and culture, enable iterative practice using best-fit technology, and encourage critical reflection for transfer of learning to new situations.
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