Developing agentic professionals through practice-based pedagogies

2007 ALTC Associate Teaching Fellow

Keywords: ,

Professor Stephen Billett

Fellowship years: 2007 - 2009

Abstract: Work integrated learning is of growing interest both within Australia and internationally. This fellowship sought to understand how to maximise students' learning experiences by developing and appraising pedagogies for practice-based learning in four discipline areas (nursing, physiotherapy, human services and midwifery) that integrate work-based and academic learning in developing students as ’agentic professionals,’ (ie independent practitioners and intentional learners). Academics from Griffith, Monash and Flinders Universities and associated clinical practitioners participated in a program: i. integrating practice-based experiences in response to discipline specific teaching and learning issues, including developing students' capacities as agentic learners ii. enacting and appraising selected approaches to teaching and learning iii. evaluating their outcomes and their applicability to other disciplines in each university iv. developing and sustaining the capacity to enact these approaches through staff development activities within these universities that can be replicated across the sector. Summary of findings Across the projects a series of practices was identified that – if selectively enacted before, during and after student experiences in practice settings – could secure rich learning through fostering and developing agentic qualities in students. These practices are: • Preparation of students prior to practice settings enables them to most effectively participate and learn. • Processes to heighten awareness about the capacities required to be agentic are central to effective practice and learning. • Peer and other forms of support during their participation in practice are helpful for developing professional understandings, and the procedures and dispositions required for effective practice. • Processes in the university setting after practice-based experiences enabling students the opportunity to share, reflect and critically appraise their experience are central to developing students’ professional capacities and to maximise learning. Beyond the outcomes associated with the development of these curriculum and pedagogic practices, the fellowship trialled a process of staff development termed ’nondirective guidance’ with some success.

Fellowship discipline: Education, Practice based learning