Purpose – Using data drawn from two cohorts of learners studying the Bachelor of Arts (Professional Practice) programme at Middlesex University, the purpose of this paper is to critically analyse the effectiveness of work based learning in improving the skills bases of early career arts professionals in the twenty‐first century and to explore the changing place and role of “traditional” concepts of knowledge and teaching. Design/methodology/approach – This study utilised a collaborative action research approach in order to categorise and theorise the themes that have emerged from the practice of delivering the programme, and to provide data that informed the on‐going curriculum development. Findings – The study identified three emerging themes in terms of the role of knowledge attainment for the early career arts professional undertaking work based learning. First, knowledge attainment processes shift from a push model to a pull model, second the authors noted a change in the inequalities in knowledge attainment facilitated by the use of the web 2.0 platforms and third it is argued that there are recognisable differences in the value and use of experientially gain knowledge in the establishing and in the established practitioner. The study then suggests changes that may occur in terms of curriculum design, delivery and pedagogy to support establishing arts professionals through a work based learning programme. Originality/value – There is a limited research discourse on the authenticity of the use of work based learning with early career professionals. Further, the study of this emerging cohort for work based learning programmes at Middlesex University points to a wider discourse in terms of positioning work based learning in volunteer environments, third sector and other creative industries contexts where the notion of work is challenged and the connection of learning to practice less firmly set in the established identity of a workplace.
Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 15, 2013
Keywords: Professional practice; Connected learning; Web 2.0; Establishing practitioner; Work based learning; Learning
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