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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Action Learning in the Workplace: An Australian Experience

Ellen-Jane Browne, Philip Craig, Laura Brearley.

This paper highlights the role of action learning in the workplace in enabling educational administrators to transform workplace experience into theoretical and strategic knowledge.

The paper is written from the perspectives of the student, facilitator and management. It explores experiences and describes the process and outcomes of taking an integrated learning approach within a tertiary environment.

It draws on the experience of the presenters in implementing the Diploma of Frontline Management within the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at Melbourne’s RMIT University. The program uses an action learning approach and real workplace issues to develop the students understanding of the organization, develops their capacity to critical reflect on key workplace issues, and integrates their learning with their workplace practice.

A central outcome of the program has been the development of a community of practice of administrative staff whose relationships and networks are both enhanced by their participation in the program - these staff have in turn become mentors for others within the organization.

The paper will address issues of:
- The inter-relationship of learning to the construction of self,
- Reflective practice within problem solving, and
- Constructivist learning through the encouragement of student responsibility and active engagement in shaping the learning experience.


Ellen-Jane Browne  (Australia)
Executive Manager
Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services
RMIT University

Philip Craig  (Australia)
Project Officer, Office of the Dean
Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services
RMIT University

Administrator with 24 years experience over the Public and Private sectors, including Local and State Government authorities and Tertiary institutions.

Laura Brearley  (Australia)

Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services
RMIT University

Laura Brearley has worked in the field of adult education for 23 years in the Adult Community Education sector, the Vocational Education and Training sector, in private enterprise and in Higher Education. She is currently a lecturer at RMIT University. In her PhD, she has explored the creative voice in an academic context.

  • Action Learning
  • Workbased Education
  • Intergrated Learning
  • Communities of Practice
  • Contructivist Learning
  • Reflective Practice

(30 min Conference Paper, English)