course 13-T3: Learning in and for vocations and professions

Nowadays organizations are dealing with a variety of challenges. Knowledge evolves very quickly and there are continuous technological, economic and social innovations. In this respect, more than before, human capital is the main asset of organizations. Given the dynamic environment of organizations, investment in human capital implies a strategic approach of supporting learning at the workplace, from the beginning onwards (e.g. internships). 

Central focus in this course is Learning and Development of professional expertise. This learning already starts in initial vocational education and continues during working life in professional organizations. In this course the following topics will be discussed: I) the genesis of workplace learning, II) how does initial vocational and professional education prepares for professional expertise of (future) professionals; III) which mechanism and strategies facilitate the syntheses between what is learned in the various contexts (i.e., in particular school and workplace) ?, and IV) what can organizations do to support continuous development of professional expertise on an individual, team and network level in order to improve the employment of human capital?
Furthermore, the course pays special attention to current research questions in the field (i.e. can informal learning be supported, what are outcomes on the level of the individual – competencies- and on the level of teams and networks) and the challenges related to the different research methods (how to study informal learning, how to study the outcomes on individual and team/network level) used to investigate those questions. 

This course will stimulate PhD students’ conceptual thinking on learning in the workplace and development of professional expertise and broaden their perspective on relevant research questions, research methods and discussions.

course objectives:
After successful completion of the course, the PhD students:
- understand the fundamental issues in the scientific domain of workplace learning in the context of initial vocational education, professional expertise (development) and team/network learning;
- have insight into different research methods (inquiry about professional expertise; educational design research; case studies; HR tools);
- are able to apply notions from literature into a scientific argumentation beneficial for their own PhD trajectory.

requirements: The students should have an academic master degree, but no further requirements need to be fulfilled.

maximum number of participants: 24

course coordinators:
Dr Renate Wesselink (
Dr Simon Beausaert (
Prof. dr Elly de Bruijn (
Drs. Sara van Waes 

The course consists of 7 modules. 5 modules are half a day (about 4 hours) and 2 sessions will take the whole day. In the morning the PhD’s get lectures and in the afternoon they have the opportunity to work on the assignment. The first session is an introduction session and the final session is dedicated to presentations of the final assignment. Each module will focus on a theme related to workplace learning. 

Each module will consist of (guest-) lectures, alternated with interactive activities (discussions, small assignments and reflection moments). The PhD’s have to work in groups and as a group they are going to discuss in depth one topic (of their own choice). First assignment is to deliberately make a choice for a topic related to discussions. We expect that PhD students read the suggested literature beforehand and actively participate in discussions during the sessions. 

The sessions will take place on the following moments:
Session 1 (1/2 day – Elly and Renate) – Thursday September 26 morning
Session 2 (1/2 day - Elly) – Thursday September 26 afternoon 
Session 3 (1 day - Renate) – Wednesday October 9 
Session 4 (1/2 day- Elly) – Thursday October 10 morning 
Session 5 (1/2 day – Rob and Simon) – Wednesday October 30 morning 
Session 6 (1/2 day -– Piet and Renate) – Wednesday October 30 afternoon 
Session 7 (1/2 day – Elly, Simon and Renate) – Thursday November 21 morning 

The modules have the following focus. Sessions and modules correspond:

1. Learning in and for vocations and professions; an introduction
2. Professional expertise 
3. The role of workplace learning in initial vocational and professional education 
4. Workplace learning from the perspective of the learner 
5. Workplace learning and career development 
6. Collective learning in the workplace 
7. Final session: Paper presentations and discussion


September, 26: Ruppertgebouw, ruimte 104
October 9: Langeveldgebouw, 3e verdieping, E314
October 10: 9.00 - 12.45h: Rupertgebouw, ruimte 115
October 30: Langeveldgebouw, 3e verdieping, E314 
November 21, 9.00 - 12.45h: Ruppergebouw, ruimte 123
This is a 3-ECTS credit course, which will be finished by writing a position paper en a presentation (about 10-12 minutes) in which the group of PhD’s (3-4 PhD’s per group) show what they have learned and how it applies to their research (research materials, research design, research question, research instruments). Attendance and active participation to the course are conditional. The quality of the position paper, presentation and defence will be graded.

For more information on this course, download the course manual

ICO Education,
18 Jun 2013, 23:46