Harnessing Technology to Enable the Flow of Professional Capital: Exploring Experiences of Professional Learning in Rural Scotland

Helen Coker (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

Technology is becoming ubiquitous in daily life and intertwined with professional practice. With the growing prevalence of online and digital technologies comes an expectation of connectivity but this is not yet consistent in rural areas. For professionals working in rural settings digital technology opens opportunities to connect with their wider professional communities, building social capital and accessing resources and knowledge which build human and decisional capital. This qualitative study captured the experiences of three groups of professionals in rural Scotland. Using thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with rural professionals the potential of technology to enable the flow of professional capital was explored. Rural professionals stand to gain exponentially from the use of technology for professional learning, but it is not a panacea. The distributed nature of rural professional networks, the breadth of information available online and the influence of technology on interactions are important factors for consideration. This research was carried out before the Covid-19 pandemic which led to many professionals working from home. Following the pandemic many professional learning opportunities have moved online, the experience of rural professionals may foreground some useful considerations for those developing online professional learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-666
Number of pages16
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Volume47
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Technology
  • professional capital
  • professional learning
  • rural professionals

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