Since 1989 the Open University has offered a distance learning MBA, designed to draw upon, and be applied to students’ professional practice. It is based upon the ‘reflective practitioner model’, and we believe we successfully combine practical relevance with academic rigour. In 2007 we realised that despite this, many students are not behaving as we assume, and instead learning in an instrumental way, with no ‘re-thinking of practice’ as intended. During 2008 we looked at why this was happening, with a view to influencing redesign of the MBA. The proposed workshop uses this project as a starting point for a more general collaborative reflection on how educators can best help managers to use concepts and theory to challenge and inform their work practice
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