Working life and learning
Working life and learning

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4 Experience, practice and reflection

A crucial setting for your learning in this course will be the workplace (in the broad sense referred to earlier). You may benefit from taking a fresh look at your workplace to see if you can incorporate some of the ideas in this course.

An important word throughout this course is ‘practice’. This is a bit of a catch-all word. By it, we mean to draw your attention to the way you work. Our focus here is to take the process of learning to improve your practice and to change it from a mundane idea that ‘practice makes perfect’ into an arena of life that deserves thought, reflection and action.

We want to help you take control of your working and professional practice, to ask informed questions about what is (or is not) good practice, and to use this as a basis for developing your learning, reflecting skills and creativity.

To summarise then, this course's model of work-based learning is illustrated in Figure 4 and contains the following features:

  • Learning is an ongoing process and a journey rather than a one-off experience.
  • Learning is iterative rather than straightforward or linear.
  • Learning comes from a mixture of experience, new ideas and action.

Reflection on all three elements is vital to developing your learning, which in turn develops your work practice.

Described image
Figure 4 Model of work-based learning

The importance of relationships in work-based learning

Much of what we have said about learning seems to indicate that it is a solitary activity, but in our view this couldn’t be further from the truth. Learning is often a social activity.

In all aspects of our model of learning – your past and current experiences, your absorption of new ideas, and the actions you take to develop your practice – other people are involved. Identifying your key relationships – with your colleagues, your staff and/or your boss, your friends and your family – and the impacts and changes your learning will have on them are vital parts of your learning.


Activity 4 Identifying your key relationships

Timing: Allow about 40 minutes

Make a note of individuals in your working life (in the broad sense that we have already defined it) and your life outside work who may be affected by changes you might make in your working life. Make a second list of those who might support you in your learning.

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