Individuals’ Mediation of Learning Professional Practice: Co-working and Learning to Prescribe

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Billett, Stephen
Noble, Christy
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Goller, M

Paloniemi, S

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The role of workers’ agency and intentionality in mediating their work-life learning is key basis for understanding how that learning occurs through and across their working lives. This proposition arises, in part, from the realisation that much of individuals’ learning and development across working life required for effective work and employability occurs through workers’ engagement in everyday work activities and interactions, that is, outside of the circumstances of intentional education or training interludes and being taught, instructed or guided by co-workers. It is individuals’ agency and intentionality that mediates learning in these circumstances, as it also does in close interactions with others (i.e. more experienced workers, trainers, teachers). There is nothing particularly new here. Personal mediation has probably been the key means of learning across human history for most workers and across their working lives. Interactions with more informed others are, however, necessary for learning not able to be secured through individual discovery alone. Indeed, there are clear limits to what can be realised solely through this agency and intentionality. The mediation of other workers is often required for learning concepts to be understood, procedural capacities to be developed and when dispositional aspects of work practice require to be made accessible and appropriated. Co-working and learning, however, also requires individuals’ mediation of what they experience interpersonally. Rather than being the unidirectional passage of knowledge from the expert to novice, these processes are bidirectional and interdependent. Understanding how this interdependent means of learning might be supported through everyday co-working activities and interaction offers ways to promote the potency of work settings as learning environments. This chapter sets out how the development of occupational capacities can be supported in, through and across working lives through co-working. These processes are illuminated and discussed through considering how co-working between novice doctors and pharmacists promotes this learning. This illustrative example is used to offer some initial considerations about the kinds of practice curriculum and pedagogies that can support learning through co-working. Conceptual considerations are also advanced to capture and explain this process of learning as being agentic.

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Agency at Work: An Agentic Perspective on Professional Learning and Development

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Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified

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