Learning to Practise, Practising to Learn: Doctors’ Transitions to New Levels of Responsibility

  • Miriam ZukasEmail author
  • Sue Kilminster
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 8)


This chapter draws on a collective case study of doctors’ learning in transition to show that different ways of explaining learning in practice (e.g. situated learning and learning cultures) cannot fully account for what happens when doctors make these transitions. We develop Hodkinson, Biesta and James’ (Vocations and Learning 1:27–47, 2008) theories of learning cultures and cultural theories of learning in two ways to help us understand learning in transition. First, we draw on Thévenot’s (Pragmatic regimes governing the engagement with the world. In Schatzki TR, Knorr Cetina K, von Savigny E (eds) The practice turn in contemporary theory. Routledge, London, 2001) notion of pragmatic regimes of practice to show how most approaches to doctors’ learning focus on the public regimes of justification and regular action; transitions, however, always involve regimes of familiarity which are usually ignored in theorising their learning. Second, we introduce our notion of doctors’ transitions as critically intensive learning periods, in order to explain the interrelationships between learning, practice and regimes of familiarity. We ground our discussion in three scenarios to illustrate how practice always involves the socio-material world. We examine the theoretical and practical implications, particularly in respect of learning local practices or, as Thévenot would say, learning regimes of familiarity.


Local Practice Cultural Theory Regular Action Learning Culture Public Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Science, History and Philosophy BirkbeckUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Leeds Institute of Medical EducationUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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