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Mapping the development of professional praxis of Higher Education work-based learners via a case-study approach

IONS, KEVIN,JOHN (2016) Mapping the development of professional praxis of Higher Education work-based learners via a case-study approach. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This study explores ways in which sixteen mature learners develop their professional praxis through participation in a Higher Education work-based learning (HEWBL) programme. It examines the theoretical underpinnings of work based learning (WBL) emphasising the role reflection plays in developing learners’ professional praxis. Outcomes indicate how learners’ engagement can be mapped, suggesting a typology that may support future HEWBL developments.

UK-based HEWBL has expanded significantly since the 1980s in response to Government pressure, as a means of meeting demand for higher-level skills necessary to compete globally. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) play a crucial role in providing effective workforce development opportunities through HEWBL, as these widen participation and develop and support employees becoming self-managing professionals and autonomous learners. Reflective learning is central to many HEWBL programmes aiming to develop professional praxis, yet its efficacy as a pedagogical strategy is contested. This thesis provides empirical evidence for praxis development through reflective learning, thus illuminating its effectiveness as a pedagogical strategy.

The study adopted a multiple-case study approach. The sixteen learners were primarily public sector employees aged over 25, engaged in professional roles. As such, participants were under-taking HEWBL voluntarily to promote their career prospects. Detailed accounts of learners’ WBL experiences were obtained via analysis of semi-structured interviews, completed novel reflective learning templates and essays. The thesis reports that learners develop professional praxis in four learning domains, namely affective, lifelong, professional and organizational. The study established a method for mapping praxis across each domain, thus making each observable. Scoring “strength” of evidence for each domain generated maps that enable identification of two distinct learner groups: one comprises predominantly lifelong and the second predominantly affective learners. This finding implies HEWBL generates contrasting outcomes for learners, and, in turn, suggests that planning HEWBL may be improved by taking these into consideration.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:Professional praxis; Reflective learning; Work-Based Learning
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 Oct 2016 10:59

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