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    Graduateness, transdisciplinarity and work-based learning

    Walsh, Anita (2010) Graduateness, transdisciplinarity and work-based learning. In: Graduateness, transdisciplinarity and work-based learning, 2010, Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning. (Unpublished)

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    The last decade has seen a development of interest in the nature of ‘graduateness’. Starting with the (former) Higher Education Quality Council’s Graduate Skills project in the mid-1990s and culminating in the current preoccupation with transferable skills, the question has been asked what the common skills or attributes are that distinguish graduates from non-graduates. In contrast with business or government’s interest in generic graduate skills, the view of graduateness within universities is very much associated with specific disciplines and undergraduate education with enculturation into a particular academic discipline. This focus on disciplinary content has posed some challenges for the design of Foundation degrees, which are intended to be a blend of academic and workplace learning, and it also reinforces the academic/vocational divide. Recently, a number of honours degrees entitled ‘Professional Studies’ have been developed; these awards are designed to offer successful Foundation degree students a route through to honours which uses work-based learning. These awards vary in content and structure but tend to be designed on the basis that generic graduate attributes, which Barrie defines ‘… as being the skills, knowledge and abilities of university graduates, beyond disciplinary content knowledge …’ (2004, p.262), can be developed outside a conventional academic discipline. This paper examines the pedagogic principles underlying the design of one work-based learning ‘top up’ programme which leads to a BSc in Professional Studies. It explores the issues involved in drawing directly on experience in the workplace as the material for higher level learning. The programme challenges conventional pedagogic approaches which are dominant in the university, and emphasises the importance of direct action and experience to learning. The authors outline the challenges which need to be addressed in programme design when moving away from a focus on disciplinary content, and explain the importance of a focus on process in reconciling graduateness and work-based learning.


    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 15:39
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:13


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