Authentic Professional Learning

Making a Difference Through Learning at Work

  • Ann Webster-Wright

Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-2
    2. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 3-15
  3. Exploration

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 19-57
    3. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 59-77
    4. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 79-103
  4. Understanding

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-105
    2. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 107-142
  5. Integration

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-144
    2. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 145-169
    3. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 171-194
    4. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 195-227
  6. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 229-230
    2. Ann Webster-Wright
      Pages 231-251
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 253-258

About this book


Meeting the challenges of an unpredictable global future will be hard enough for all sectors, but one thing is certain: ongoing learning by all of the professions is vital. This book applies cutting-edge educational theory to the concept of lifelong learning. It argues for a significant paradigm shift from the traditional practice of providing programs to develop professionals, towards enabling professionals’ capability for authentic inquiry into their own practices. In doing so, the text contributes much to the ongoing debate about how professionals can be supported in ways that nourish them as individuals as well as leading to worthwhile and sustainable outcomes for society as a whole. The book highlights a disparity between the reality of professionals’ learning experiences and the rhetoric commonly employed in relation to professional performance development. Empirical data reveal that professionals take their responsibilities to improve their practice seriously, but consider their continuing learning needs to be more profound than that provided by narrow professional development rhetoric. The didactic and episodic nature of many professional development activities does not adequately support the multifaceted and idiosyncratic nature of authentic professional learning, as lived by professionals in practice. In this volume, the common themes across diverse experiences of learning are defined within a phenomenological framework as understanding, engagement, interconnection and openness. Realistic guidelines to support learning, in ways that balance professional accountability and agency, are elucidated in the context of this framework. The book highlights contemporary workplace dilemmas for professionals, including those working in healthcare, who are anxious to make a difference to the lives of those they care for. Drawing on phenomenological philosophy, Ann Webster-Wright explores the issue of authenticity in professional life as well as the contribution that professionals can make to society. ‘This book is a pioneering example of the kind of studies that are needed to further understanding of professional practice and how it can be improved. It focuses on what practitioners can do to act together for themselves. It applies the notion of being professional to the core of practice: learning from what one does.’ David Boud ‘This book does more than merely challenge the traditional way of conceptualising professional development. It also offers bases for reshaping efforts to secure all ongoing professional learning in ways centred on the learners themselves.’ Stephen Billet


Adult Education authenticity community-based education continuing education phenomenology professional learning work workplace learning

Authors and affiliations

  • Ann Webster-Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Teaching & Educational Development, InstituteUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-3946-0
  • Online ISBN 978-90-481-3947-7
  • Series Print ISSN 2210-5549
  • About this book