Engineers' professional learning: a practice-theory perspective

Reich, Ann, Rooney, Donna, Gardner, Anne, Willey, Keith, Boud, David ORCID logoORCID: and Fitzgerald, Terry (2015) Engineers' professional learning: a practice-theory perspective. European Journal of Engineering Education, 40 (4) . pp. 366-379. ISSN 0304-3797 [Article] (doi:10.1080/03043797.2014.967181)


With the increasing challenges facing professional engineers working in more complex, global and interdisciplinary contexts, different approaches to understanding how engineers practice and learn are necessary. This paper draws on recent research in the social sciences from the field of workplace learning, to suggest that a practice-theory perspective on engineers' professional learning is fruitful. It shifts the focus from the attributes of the individual learner (knowledge, skills and attitudes) to the attributes of the practice (interactions, materiality, opportunities and challenges). Learning is thus more than the technical acquisition and transfer of knowledge, but a complex bundle of activities, that is, social, material, embodied and emerging. The paper is illustrated with examples from a research study of the learning of experienced engineers in the construction industry to demonstrate common practices – site walks and design review meetings – in which learning takes place.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 20 Oct 2014
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 15794
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Depositing User: Sidharth Bahadoor
Date Deposited: 06 May 2015 11:40
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2019 16:22

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