Professional trainees in the workplace are increasingly required to demonstrate specific standards of competence. Yet, empirical evidence of how professionals acquire competence in practice is lacking. The danger, then, is that efforts to support learning processes may be misguided. We hypothesised that a systemic view of how expertise is acquired would support more timely and appropriate development of technology to support workplace learning. The aims of this study were to provide an empirically based understanding of workplace learning and explore how learning could be facilitated through suitable application of technology. We have used the medical specialist trainee as an exemplar of how professionals acquire expertise within a complex working environment. We describe our methodological approach, based on the amalgam of systems analysis and qualitative research methods. We present the development of a framework for analysis and early findings from qualitative data analysis. Based on our findings so far, we present a tentative schema representing how technology can support learning with suggestions for the types of technology that could be used
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