Working life and learning
Working life and learning

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Working life and learning

Activity4: Experience, practice and reflection

Allow about 40 minutes for this activity.

Acrucial setting for your learning in this module will be the workplace (in the broad sense we referred to earlier). In BU130, you will be taking a fresh look at your workplace to see if you can incorporate some of the ideas that you will read about on this module.

The approach we have taken means that there won’t be quite as much reading for you to do as in many Open University modules at this level, but instead you will devote time to learning how to learn from your workplace. You will do this by trying out new ideas from the readings, experimenting, and practising your reflective learning. All these will take up a fairly large amount of your time on this module.

An important word that we use throughout the module 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 in this module 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.

We will also ask you to act on your reflections – to change an aspect of your work practice – and then to reflect further on what happens.

To summarise then, the BU130 model of work-based learning is illustrated in Figure 1.3. In the module model, learning 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 1.3 The BU130 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.

You will also be forming new relationships with those who are studying BU130 with you.Your reflections will probably take account of their experiences, ideas and actions, how their learning impacts on you and how your learning impacts on them.

Additionally, you will have two Day Schools, one of which will take place during the first few weeks of the module. These will give you opportunities to learn with others and to meet with your tutor.


Task: Identifying your key relationships.

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.

There is no feedback for this task. When you are ready, move on to Activity 5


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