Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply



Published on

Published in: Technology, Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. Learning to be a social worker in the 21 st century Lesley Cooper and Joan Leeson Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada
  • 2. The 21 st century workplace
    • Recognition that learning occurs in every workplace.
    • Government policy acknowledges value of workplace learning.
    • Changing patterns of technology and competitiveness in global economy demand immediate work skills and workplace knowledge.
    • Job specific skills: to an organization and industry.
    • Workers require ability to continuously learn and reconstruct practice in the light of these challenges.
    • Linking of individual learning needs with the organization: cannot be provided by educational institutions.
  • 3. The 21 st century workplace
    • Greater emphasis on ‘learning organizations’ and their continual evolution of practice throughout the workplace.
    • The importance of learning with others to ensure competition and innovation in a global world.
    • From training (transmission learning) to using the construction and reconstruction of knowledge in work places.
  • 4. The 21 st century workplace
    • Human service organizations: also respond to competition for funds and other resources and demands for efficacious services eg. foundations.
    • Doing much more with much less.
    • Structure of agencies changing with less hierarchy, flatter structures, devolution of decision making, increasing number of work teams, collaborative workplaces and cross functional decision making.
    • A more diverse workforce; less toleration for workers not adding value (IR legislation)
    • What is the impact of these changes on the practicum and the educational institutions’ relationship with the sector and can we maintain separatist structures?
  • 5. Is what we profess, what we practice?
  • 6. Paradigm for social work practice education
    • The profession, university and students value learning in the workplace.
    • Focus is on instruction, teaching and supervision
    • Roles are supervisor, instructor, practice teacher and student
    • A one-to-one learning relationship with the instructor only being a social worker
    • Development of professional identity
    • A professional curriculum, regulated by government, registration boards, or the profession
  • 7. Paradigm: theory to practice
    • The transfer of knowledge from the classroom to the placement, the acquisition of an application of skills and the development of a professional identity are considered to be the essential learning processes in practice learning regardless of the country of origin (Rogers 1996)
  • 8. Paradigm continued
    • Approaches to practice learning grounded in psychotherapeutic practice often irrespective of the setting.
    • Theoretical frameworks based adult education frameworks including Kolb, Knowles and more recently Schon
    • Students as learners.
  • 9. Work based learning
    • Definition of work based learning:
    • Acquisition of knowledge and skills by learners as they learn authentic practice whilst being supported by skilled peers and experts (Billett 1994)
    • Theoretical framework: situated learning and the importance of a community of practice
  • 10. Situated learning and community of practice
    • Situated learning: Dewey, Vygotsky, Bateson, Lave and Wenger and social construction of ideas and knowledge.
    • The focus is on how learning occurs and the way knowledge is constructed. It is a dynamic process, that includes talking, responding, interacting, reflecting and thinking about what is happening.
    • It happens in workplaces with novices, peers and a range of experts. Knowledge construction in an evolutionary process.
  • 11. Concepts underpinning situated learning
    • Learning involves the whole person in a complex system of social interaction with others
    • We learn from others in a process of guidance, scaffolding and immersion in activities
    • We learn through our interactions with others in a culture whether that is a team, office, project group or professional collective
    • We learn with others so that practice becomes part of the knowledge of the collective.
  • 12. Research on work based learning
    • Affordances and engagement in a process of co-participation.
    • Unintended and intended learning.
    • A process of guided learning (coaching, scaffolding, cognitive apprenticeship).
    • The workplace curriculum: a socially organised stock of knowledge in use in the work place as experienced by participants especially newcomers (Billett 2001).
    • The work based curriculum has several stages.
  • 13. Analysis based on changing workplaces and situated learning
    • Learning in workplaces is valued.
    • Move from teaching, instruction and supervision to learning.
    • Move from transmission and expertise to learners and learning and co-construction of knowledge.
    • The learner to be at the centre not the supervisor, practice teacher or instructor.
    • Review our theories of social work practice education to include situated learning and communities of practice. In addition include understandings of cognition, meta-cognition and human development for adults.
  • 14. Analysis based on changing workplaces and situated learning
    • Students do learn from every person in the workplace: other students, work groups, other professionals, peers and those with greater expertise. There are multiple learning relationships.
    • Identity comes from work place culture and from SW’s, the field of practice, the occupational area, other professionals and the community of practice.
    • Rethink concept of curriculum: it comprises core occupational skills (problem solving, communication, group work skills) required for all SWs, the regulated curriculum and the work place curriculum.
  • 15. Analysis based on changing workplaces and situated learning
    • Revalue the constructed knowledge from practice.
    • Revisit the separatist nature of theory and practice.
    • Revisit placement process by acknowledging concepts of affordances, engagement and co-participation.
  • 16. Where to from here?
    • Review our mental schemas on social work practice education and re-conceptualize.
    • A collective change process for social work educators, profession, industry, and government.
    • Higher education has to review its separatist views on learning and respond to the changing workplace.
    • International research…in a community of practice.
    • An invitation for other researchers and practitioners?