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Mastering professional competencies via peer networks

By Hanna Yakavenka and Riccardo De Vita


Today’s rapidly changing highly competitive global environment has created a strategic need for an entirely different breed of professionals – reflective practitioners. Reflective learning is a continuous, situation-embedded process that develops according to the specific characteristics of the professional, social and cultural context while being significantly determined by individual characteristics of learners. Diversity between individuals has been viewed both as a barrier and a catalyst to master the critical culture-aware competencies required from professionals by modern businesses. Sharing of experiences and knowledge has been facilitated by the flourishing of on-line communications. Belonging to on-line communities, allows fostering new approaches to knowledge creation, learning and professional development. A method capable of capturing the relational tissue in which learning through peer socialising occurs and to consider the effects of individual differences in shaping the learning process is Social Network Analysis. The main example the authors propose using is an informal, learner initiated online learning initiative, where postgraduate culturally diverse group of learners exchange knowledge and expertise while undertaking their work placements abroad. While SNA has already been successfully applied in the field of education, its implementation in this new context will contribute to theories of reflective professional learning. By combining data about learners’ networks with qualitative evidence from their reflections, the study will allow to demonstrate how desire to learn, specific learning skills, characteristics, experiences and traits held by the participants may affect their willingness and ability to exchange ideas and create knowledge

Topics: HM
Year: 2012
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