Purposes, processes and parameters of continuing professional learning

  • Kate Martin

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


    This study examines boundaries and synergies between continuing professional learning contexts of academy, workplace and profession, and considers what factors and approaches of learning contribute to common good in societies. In a review of literature, historical trends in professions and professional learning, concerns of managerialism and performativity, and educational theories of socially constructivism, developmental and ethical learning were considered. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to collect and analyse data from eighty work-based student documents and from twelve semi-structured interviews with practitioners in four Scottish professions. The findings indicated that learning across contexts was disconnected, creating additional demands for professionals. Increased academic study indicated a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce, with a caveat of market-led credentialism in response to demands for higher qualifications. Professional CPD provided benefits of quality assurance and public safety, but was reported as individualised procedural accountability. Interpersonal communicative action was identified as key to workplace learning, although was afforded less significance than accredited learning in professional and academic contexts. Factors of individualism, accountability and credentialism were noted to have effect on participative workplace learning, which, the study argued, impacted on ethical agency in professions. To address these trends, adaptability, reciprocity and dialogical critical thinking were identified as necessary factors for a continuing professional learning that contributes to common good in societies.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorYolande Muschamp (Supervisor) & Jane Fenton (Supervisor)


    • Continuing professional learning
    • Constructivist grounded theory
    • Ethical learning
    • Professions and professionalism
    • Social constructivism
    • Activity theory
    • Credentialism
    • Performativity
    • Phronesis
    • Participative learning

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