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Building the foundations of professional expertise: creating a dialectic between work and formal learning

Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark and Hutchinson, Steven (2010). Building the foundations of professional expertise: creating a dialectic between work and formal learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE), 4(1) pp. 69–90.

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Recent critiques of management and teacher education curricula and teaching pay particular attention to the disconnection between the de-contextualised, formal knowledge and analytical techniques conveyed in university programs and the messy, ill-structured nature of practice. At the same time research into professional expertise suggests that its development requires bringing together different forms of knowledge and the integration of formal and non-formal learning with the development of cognitive flexibility. Such complex learning outcomes are unlikely to be achieved through a 'knowledge transmission' approach to curriculum design. In this article we argue that in many ways current higher education practices create barriers to developing ways of knowing which can underpin the formation of expertise. Using examples from two practice-focused distance learning courses, we explore the role of distance learning in enabling a dialogue between academic and workplace learning and the use of 'practice dialogues' among course participants to enable integration of learning experiences. Finally, we argue that we need to find ways in higher education of enabling students to engage in relevant communities of expertise, rather than drawing them principally into a community of academic discourse which is not well aligned with practice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 The Authors
ISSN: 1742-240X
Keywords: expertise; professional; distance-learning; practice-based learning
Academic Unit/Department: Open University Business School
Education and Language Studies > Education
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 22935
Depositing User: Mark Fenton-O'Creevy
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2010 14:31
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 15:16
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