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  4. Fenton-O'Creevy (2007) Building the foundations of expertise: Towards a pedagogy of practice

Fenton-O'Creevy (2007) Building the foundations of expertise: Towards a pedagogy of practice

Resource author

Mark Fenton-O'Creevy

Resource type



Abstract: Recent critiques of professionally oriented curricula and teaching pay particular attention to the disconnection between the formal knowledge and analytical techniques conveyed in programs and the messy, ill-structured nature of practice. At the same time the developing field of research into professional expertise suggests that the development of expertise requires bringing together different forms of knowledge and the integration of formal and non-formal learning with the development of cognitive flexibility. Such complex learning outcomes are unlikely to be achieved through a ‘knowledge transmission’ approach to curriculum design. I argue that in many ways current higher education practices create barriers to developing ways of knowing which can underpin the formation of expertise. Using an example from a practice-focused distance learning course, I explore the role of distance learning in enabling a dialogue between formal learning and informal practice learning and the use of ‘practice dialogues’ among course participants to enable integration of learning experiences. Finally, I argue that we need to find ways in higher education of enabling students to engage in relevant communities of expertise, rather than drawing them principally into a community of academic discourse which is not well aligned with practice.


Building the Foundations of Expertise Building the Foundations of Expertise

Date added

7th Jul 2007