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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Expansive Learning Across the University/Worplace Activity Systems: Learning to Teach in Further Education

Ian Finlay.

Situated cognition theorists emphasize the role of the workplace situation in learning a vocational practice and suggest either no role or a very limited role for universities in professional learning.

This paper provides a critique of the extreme situated cognition approach and adopts an activity theory approach which posits the potential of working across activity systems for expansive learning. The position is taken, that for practising further education lecturers who are undertaking an in-service initial teacher development course, the university provides an alternate activity system to the workplace (the further education college) and thereby provides the potential at least for expansive learning.

The paper concludes with a case study which reports on the perceptions of a group of further education lecturers undertaking a teacher development course on the extent to which the potential for expansive learning was achieved.


Ian Finlay  (United Kingdom)
Senior Lecturer
Department of Educational Studies
University of Strathclyde

Ian Finlay is a teacher and researcher who specialises in post secondary education. His research interests are in the organisational and institutional environments within which learning takes place.

  • Professional Learning
  • Situated learning
  • Activity Theory
  • Expansive Learning

(30 min Conference Paper, English)