Interrogating the Value of Learning by Extension in Enhancing Professional Quality: The Case of Australian and Venezuelan Engineers

  • David ThorpeEmail author
  • Emilio A. Anteliz
  • P. A. Danaher


Extension learning is a particular form of continuing professional development enacted in agriculture, engineering and science, whereby already qualified and experienced practitioners engage in periods of formalised training in specific, currently topical areas of study, whether “in the field” or “off base” at a university or other training provider. This kind of learning by extension inevitably bears the traces of the historically constructed and the geopolitically mediated regional, national and provincial contexts in which it is experienced. This is certainly the situation with the exploratory, dual site case study presented in this chapter of the provision of postgraduate engineering education with a sustainability focus by the relevant school of engineering in an Australian university, and also of the provision of extension learning by a specialised section in the faculty of engineering in a Venezuelan university.

The analysis of these sites addresses the chapter’s research question: “How can engineering professional quality be enhanced through extension learning in Australia and Venezuela?”. This analysis is clustered around the three themes of professional currency, professional agency and professional mobility. This discussion highlights the situated and increasingly politicised character of the provision of extension learning for Australian and Venezuelan engineers provided by the universities under review here. At the same time, there is considerable evidence of the ongoing effectiveness of that provision for generating quality practice in this professional enterprise/production field.


Australia Continuing professional development Engineering Extension learning Postgraduate education Practice Quality Sustainability Training Venezuela 



The authors are grateful for the inputs and insights afforded by their colleagues and the participants in the extension learning programs analysed in this chapter. The final version of the chapter has benefited from the constructive feedback of two anonymous peer reviewers. Professor Karen Trimmer has been an encouraging and facilitative editor.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Thorpe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emilio A. Anteliz
    • 2
  • P. A. Danaher
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.Central University of VenezuelaCaracasVenezuela
  3. 3.Central Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia
  4. 4.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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