• A case study in the development of Work Based Learning and the possibility of transfer to continental European universities: The WBIS program at the University of Chester, England

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (SUNY Empire State College, 2014)
      The paper describes the principal features of the WBIS programme for an international audience.
    • A framework for judging the ‘quality’ of first-person-action-research projects on the work based & integrative studies (WBIS) programme: Extracts from a practitioner research Masters dissertation

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2008)
      How do we judge the quality of ‘reflective research’ projects? This paper presents extracts from a practitioner research project undertaken in 2007 which develops a framework to answer this question. The original contents page is presented at the end of this paper, for reference.
    • A more holistic form of higher education: The real potential of Work Based Learning

      Major, David; Chester College of Higher Education (Open University Press, 2002-12)
      This article takes, as its starting-point, the concept of ‘ critical being’ developed by Barnett in Higher Education : A Critical Business (1997). It then examines the potential of Barnett’s position for a philosophy of Work Based Learning in a higher education context, arguing that Work Based Learning, appropriately conceived, combines the three key features of Barnett’s critical being, namely critical reasoning, critical self-reflection and critical action. The article goes on to consider the place of both the ontological and the epistemological dimensions to Work Based Learning, in an attempt to make a case for Work Based Learning as a more holistic way of being and knowing than conventional University education provides for.
    • A partial review of Work Based Learning in English and Welsh universities

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2016-02-11)
      The presentation briefly summarises what is known about Work based learning departments in England and Wales
    • A transcultural dance: Enriching work-based learning facilitation

      Wall, Tony; Tran, Ly Thi; University of Chester ; Deakin University Australia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015-10)
      This book chapter discusses what it might mean being an international work-based learner, the vibrant array of different perspectives work-based learners offer, a pedagogic model for work-based learning contexts, strategies for integrating diverse examples and cases which connect to and validate diverse experiences and prior knowledge, and accommodate diverse work-based learner needs, and strategies which enable and sustain a learning environment across cultural boundaries conducive to work-based learning success.
    • An accelerated practitioner research approach (APRA) for leaders and managers

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2012-01-31)
      Negotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/from the outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice to enable professionals to design rigorous practitioner research. An action research approach approach, drawing on appreciative inquiry and grounded theory, involved peer questioning, validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. Within the ‘situated’ model, the professional starts/focuses on problems or areas for development in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’) and adopts a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical lens. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We also expect greater strategic impact when the designs area implemented.
    • An accelerated practitioner research approach for professionals: A study

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2011-11)
      Negotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice with professionals across professions and disciplines, to enable them to design rigorous practitioner research. Data is drawn from one of the largest centres for negotiated work based learning. Procedure and/or instruments : This study draws on practice and data from the University of Chester’s Centre for Work Related studies, one of the largest providers of negotiated, work based university-level learning, globally. Academics at the Centre worked with practitioners who were studying the ‘Research Methods for Work Based Learning’ module as part of their work based learning undergraduate or postgraduate degree. The module delivery team developed facilitative approaches and tools through multiple action research cycles over the last two years. Each cycle involved a grounded, appreciative inquiry approach by the delivery team (four academics), and the wider Centre for critical peer questioning of evidence and logic, peer validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. The latest version is openly shared and critiqued. What are the findings and interpretations? : Critical reflections amongst the delivery team highlighted the initial challenges above. As a result, a new approach was defined based on a ‘situated knowledge’ model, whereby the professional focuses on problems and developmental areas in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’). With such a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical underpinning, a new ‘core process’ and key questions was developed. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We are also expecting greater strategic impact when the professionals implement these designs.
    • Approaches to supervising work based learning students’ workplace research

      Talbot, Jon; Lilley, Andy; University of Chester (Emerald, 2014-02-11)
      The paper describes a small research exercise designed to identify the practices of Work Based Learning tutors facilitating student research projects.
    • Can universities deliver regeration skills? Reflections on the experience with the University of Chester's 'regeneration for practitioners' using a work based learning framework

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2008-05-29)
      This conference paper discusses the development of a regeneration programme at the University of Chester.
    • Changing power relations in work based learning: Collaborative and contested relations between tutors, learners and employers

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2010-12-13)
      This book chapter discusses some of the implications for the role of university tutors and the centrality of educational objectives in circumstances where there is a 'cultural shift' towards meeting the needs of learners and employers. The work based and integrative studies (WBIS) programme at the University of Chester is used as a case study to examine the changing power relations between university tutors, learners, employers and the university, compared to relations on traditional programmes.
    • Co-delivery of higher level learning and role perceptions: A practitioner research study

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (2011-11-06)
      Models of higher education which support personal and organisational transformation have emerged in various forms over time. One of these forms has been the negotiated, work-based learning framework which allow learners to integrate interdisciplinary study into their work activity. Such frameworks remain as innovative approaches for learning, and are more widely recognised than ever before. So much so, more and more learning and development departments of public, private and voluntary sector organisations are seeking recognition of their in-house training courses – so trainees can be awarded university credits or awards upon successful completion of a training experience. Although this may be seen as an innovative form of widening access and diversity in universities, it is also a strategic recognition that higher level learning is facilitated out of the classroom, in the workplace, in an applied setting (professional knowledge, ‘mode 2’ learning). In designing and delivering this provision, staff from the organisation offering the training (called Associate Tutors) and the university (called Associate Tutor Advisor) work together in a close relationship to ensure adherence to quality assurance standards, requirements and processes. Even though this is a growing area within higher education, this relationship is un-researched, and this paper raises important questions. Overall, this paper investigates how staff from organisations providing such training perceive their role: Do they see themselves as trainers? Do they see themselves as academics of the University? A hybrid? Or both? This paper draws data from innovative practice through a qualitative action based research methodology. It is argued that Associate Tutors can primarily see themselves as delivering a commercial training service with a brand-value, which is focused on a ‘mode 1’ transmission of knowledge – whereas the teaching, learning and assessment activities associated with being an academic in higher education is a secondary consideration. The implications and challenges of these perceptions are shared, discussed and critiqued in order to further develop innovative practice in facilitating partnerships for mode 2 knowledge creation, outside of universities.
    • Commodification in practitioner research

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2011-11)
      Action research can be described as a family of approaches and methodologies rather than a well-defined, particular form of enquiry. One strand of ‘relations’ within that family is first-person action research (FPAR), sometimes referred to as self-inquiry or self-study. A growing literature on ‘quality’ in this form of research indicates the need to be questioning and critical – and there are various tools and techniques available to do that such as cycles and models of reflection. These tools have been criticized for not being emancipatory, or actually reinforcing powerful ideological forces at work. This paper offers additional theoretical apparatus which enables the practitioner to glimpse into the possibility of ideological forces as play, and the choices that may become available once these forces become known. The theoretical ideas are drawn from psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan and Zizek), in a form of psychoanalytical FPAR, in the particular style of Tony Brown and colleagues in the UK. Within psychoanalysis, the notions of the Imaginary, Symbolic and the Real create a situation whereby we can identify with *commodified* versions of things (not ‘real’ versions), which ‘miss the mark’, but which nonetheless create a view of the world and how we should act in it. Data from a particular case is offered from cutting-edge practitioner research whereby academics are working with commercial organisations. The case provides a living example of how the theoretical apparatus can helps explain some of the professional struggles and tensions of the academic, and bring supposed ideological forces into some level of awareness. Using the ideas, the paper demonstrates how the academic variously identifies with and understands his practice – caught between a desire to be a ‘client-oriented academic’ whilst governed by a drive to be a guardian of quality assurance. The approach is questioned and critiqued, with a view to create new approaches and ideas. We will: - provide data examples for 'live' interpretation, questioning and challenge - offer challenging questions throughout - ask for ideas and feedback throughout - be provoking, reflective and collegial
    • Contesting ownership and responsibility: A practitioner research study

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (2011-11-05)
      It is clear in higher education quality and policy guidance and frameworks that higher education institutions (HEIs) are responsible for the awards which are granted in their name, and for the student experience. Within the traditional direct-delivery model of ‘HEI-provides-to-student’ relationship, it is possible to map ownership and responsibility across an HEI, approximating functional and departmental demarcation. Yet this is fundamentally challenged in the context of collaborative provision, whereby organisations which are external and separate to the HEI deliver and assess learning which to lead to HEI credits and awards (also termed co-delivery). This remains an innovative area of consistent growth in the UK, especially for accrediting the training activity of commercial training providers – but also remains an un-researched area. Within co-delivery contexts, the student selects the training provider, pays them, and undertakes their training – and unlike the ‘HEI-provides-to-student’ relationship, the student may never come in to contact with the HEI – but the HEI is still responsible in the same way. Within such a context, who owns the student? Do students belong to the providers of the teaching and learning activity (it is their training, they deliver and assess it, they are paid for it)? Or, do students belong to the HEI, whereby the so-called ‘ultimate’ responsibility of quality assurance, assessment and awarding powers lie? Within this context, a sense of contested ownership and contested responsibility emerges and is never resolved. This paper draws on rich and authentic data from on-going practitioner research from one of the largest frameworks for co-delivery in Europe. It highlights the contested notions of ownership and responsibility in the context of the co-delivery of higher education, and the resultant professional tensions and challenges. The paper also questions these notions more generally, and examines the implications for practitioners in co-delivery and practitioners more broadly.
    • Delivering distance education for modern government: The F4Gov programme

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2007-05-01)
      This article discusses the development and operation of an innovative, work based, distance delivered foundation degree developed by the University of Chester and the British Civil Service. Three areas for formal evaluation are identified - the implications of employer involvement in the design and management of the programme, the differential nature of the learning experience and factors underlying performance, and the impact of the programme in meeting employer goals.
    • Delivering distance learning for modern government: The F4Gov programme at the University of Chester

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2006-11-30)
      The Foundation for Government (F4Gov) programme developed for the Civil Service is an innovative low cost accredited programme of distance learning using a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) designed to improved individual and hence organisational performance. It is flexible in terms of design and delivery and enables individuals and organisations to devise learning which meets their needs. The emphasis upon integrating theory and practice is designed to reflective practice as well as embed deeper learning associated with higher education. The content of the programme is designed to equip participants with the skills neccessary to deliver modern government. Progress with F4Gov is ongoing as new departments participate for the first time and additional HE providers are identified.
    • Developing a pedagogical model for facilitating situated learning: A study

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (European Association for Practitioner Research in Improving Learning, 2011-11)
      Learning through workplace activity and workplace projects, as part of a university level qualification, is an increasingly common approach for practitioners to study part-time higher education. In facilitating such ‘learning through work’ approaches, it is appropriate to adopt a learner centred pedagogy which is grounded in that workplace, and which creates ‘situated knowledge’ (Lave and Wenger, 1991). As described by Gibbons et al. (1994), this can create ‘mode 2’ knowledge which is situated, messy, problem-based and trans-disciplinary – rather than ‘mode 1’ knowledge which is academic/theoretical, sequential and organised by disciplinary boundaries. In assessing such ‘learning through work’ approaches, we have identified three recurring practical issues: learners focusing on describing rather than critical reflecting on their work for new insight, learners rejurgitating theory, and/or critically reflecting on practice without reference to mode 1 academic knowledge. As a result, the projects and assessments were considered to hold greater potential for change. This study draws on practice and data from the University of Chester’s Centre for Work Related Studies, one of the largest providers of negotiated, work based university-level learning, globally. In order to develop the facilitation of mode 2, situated knowledge, a pedagogical model was developed and refined over a period of two years – with learners across professional fields and disciplines, across different ‘learning through work’ subject foci including negotiated project learning, stress and stress management, communication skills, coaching practice and skills, academic skills, research skills, and so on. Using a cyclic first person action research methodological approach (see Whitehead and McNiff, 2006), the model was used in group workshop contexts and one-to-one facilitation contexts with professionals studying work based learning degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Individual feedback was sought after each interaction and learner feedback and grades for assessments were monitored. What are the findings and interpretations? The University’s distinctive pedagogical model (reported by Brodie and Irving, 2007) provided a starting point for the investigation. In trying to develop an effective and practical tool to explain and facilitate learning in mode 2 knowledge generation, another model emerged. Three distinctive aspects emerged based on Gibbons et al’s (1994) conception of mode 1 and mode 2 knowledge, in the shape of a triangle: 1. theoretical knowledge (mode 2 academic ideas, principles, theories), 2. critical reflection (questioning for new insight), and 3. the workplace (activity in it, as a location/space focus). During the development period, we have identified that learners place a high value on the model to structure own thinking and to help them articulate and structure the assessments. For them, it clearly distinguishes three important elements to pay attention to. Teaching staff have also found it easier and quicker to explain the mode of learning and assessments.
    • Developing effective pedagogies for lifelong learning: The Work Based and Integrative Studies program and its impact on the Forum Mobility project

      Talbot, Jon; Meakin, Robert; Jones, Gary; University of Chester, University of Chester, Forum Mobility Centres (NOVA Publishers, 2016-02-01)
      The chapter reviews the way the Work Based and Integrative Studies programme has transformed the forum mobility Centres into a learning organisation
    • Developing new work based learning pathways for housing practitioners whilst participating peripherally and legitimately: The situated learning of work based learning tutors

      Talbot, Jon; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2009-04-30)
      This paper discusses the experiences of two work based learning tutors at the University of Chester in the context of developing work based learning for housing practitioners.
    • Enabling and disabling discourses in promoting RPLO policy and practice in Higher Education

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010-10-25)
      This paper captures and presents some of the powerful and sometimes contradictory discourses, which limit the diffusion and uptake of the recognition of prior learning outcomes (RPLO) in higher education: quality, funding, capacity, and student experience. Each of these is analysed and ‘opened up’ (Derrida, 1978; Bhabha, 1994). In doing so, it aims to ‘open up’ some of those discourses for practitioners and/or leaders to initiate or develop policy and practice in institutions further afield (Kemmis, 2008). The data that forms the basis of this paper was generated through various action research projects in a UK University and multiple development events in the UK.
    • Exploring the Impact of Reflective and Work Applied Approaches

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The impact agenda is now a global phenomenon with great expectations for ‘transformational’ impacts in the wider world (Gravem et al 2017). Paradoxically, such demands can hinder discovery through the avoidance unpredictable outcomes (ibid), and problematically, there is an over reliance on very narrow conceptualisations of impact, oftentimes adopting the metrics used by research councils or governments to allocate research monies. Such metrics are fiercely debated, partly because of a disconnect with practice, and their significance in creating and shaping industries whose primary purpose it is to administer and optimise the administration of research assessment activity...