Investigating professional engineer’s professional learning: a practice theory perspective

Reich, Ann, Rooney, Donna, Gardner, Anne, Willey, Keith, Boud, David ORCID logoORCID: and Fitzgerald, Terry (2015) Investigating professional engineer’s 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 inter-disciplinary 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, 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
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
Item ID: 21362
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Depositing User: Louis Van Baelen
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 14:35
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2019 16:22

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