Creating and Managing Expansive Learning Environments: Improving Vocational and Professional Education and Training

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9780415662383: Creating and Managing Expansive Learning Environments: Improving Vocational and Professional Education and Training

This book applies Fuller and Unwin’s increasingly influential concept of ‘expansive and restrictive learning environments’ to a range of settings engaged in education and training including, workplaces and educational institutions providing upper secondary, tertiary and higher education. "Expansive learning" features include the opportunity for learners to:

  • engage with multiple communities of practice;
  • gain broad experience across the organisation;
  • pursue knowledge-based as well as competence-based qualifications;
  • learn off-the-job as well as on-the-job;
  • have a recognised status as a learner; and
  • have access to career progression and extended job roles.

An expansive learning environment develops a broad range of 'key skills', by encouraging learners to cross boundaries and experience different work-related contexts.

The approach challenges the assumption behind situated learning theory that all novices proceed on a linear journey from 'newcomer' to competent or even 'expert', with their progress dependent on the extent to which their participation is facilitated by 'experts'. Through a series of ‘real life’ case studies, the book provides a practical guide that illustrates the ways in which an expansive approach was developed within the context of diverse types of organisational setting. The reader will be shown how to analyse the characteristics of the particular environment and how to design a set of questions that need to be asked in order to develop the conditions for expansive learning. Each case study will also be accompanied by ‘boxes’ providing the reader with the tools to analyse the specific setting and to apply the lessons learned to their own professional contexts. By adopting the ‘expansive-restrictive framework’ presented in the book, readers will be able to apply the principles of expansive learning environments to their own unique contexts.

A key aim of the book is to encourage and support educational institutions to see themselves as workplaces which create for their employees (at all levels) the type of expansive learning environments they provide for their learners. Two specific case studies (of a community college in the US and a university in the UK) will illustrate how the learning potential of the educational ‘workplace’ can be transformed.

This ground breaking book will support educators, trainers, and Human Resource and Management personnel in designing, managing and sustaining environments that maximise the potential for individual and collective learning.

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About the Author:

Alison Fuller is Professor of Education at Southampton University, UK

Lorna Uniwin is Professor of Vocational Education at The Institute of Education, Univesity of London, UK

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