Background

The Professional Practice Learning and Education (PPLE) Research Group continues to build on the research of the former Charles Sturt University Research Institute for Professional Practice Learning and Education (RIPPLE) and the University’s Education for Practice Institute (EfPI). RIPPLE conducted research into professional practice across the professions; EfPI conducted research and development work in the initial and continuing education of professional practitioners in initial and continuing professional education across the University. It also builds on the work, continuing since 2008, of the Pedagogy, Education and Praxis international research network (with researchers in universities Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Colombia, and the Caribbean). The network has produced several hundred research publications including more than twenty books, and hundreds of chapters, refereed journal articles, and conference presentations.

Professional practice: The challenge of change

In every profession, professional practice continually evolves and changes in response to changing conditions in the contemporary world. While at this moment, professional practitioners might be especially aware of the challenges caused by COVID-19 (changing some general practitioners’ practices to telemedicine, and pushing teaching from classrooms to online settings for example), PPLE researchers have been investigating changing conditions in relation to many topics of contemporary concern including:

  • neoliberalism and New Public Management in the professions (especially the public sector professions),
  • the challenges of climate change and sustainability,
  • the digital revolution, and
  • changing funding and administrative conditions in universities.

In general, PPLE researchers are exploring how professional practice evolves in response to changing cultural, discursive, economic, environmental, social, and political conditions in the world, and especially the impact of change on the professions.

Four foci

The work of PPLE has four main foci:

  1. Research on the initial professional education of professionals (including, for example, professional placements);
  2. Research on the continuing professional education and other professional learning of practitioners;
  3. Research on the professional and workplace learning of practitioners; and
  4. Research on the nature, conduct, impact and change of professional practice itself (including, for example, the impact, development and change of professional practice, and the development of practice through individual and collective self-reflection).

These four foci are considered in relation to i) all individuals (as practitioners of practices) involved in different professions (e.g. teachers and students, nurses and patients, social workers and clients), ii) different institutional, clinical, workplace, and community settings, and iii) the intersections between them (including inter-professional practice and discipline specific practices).

Contributing to theory, policy, and practice

PPLE researchers are interested in contributing to theory, policy, and practice in the professions generally, and in relation to particular professions (including education, social work, health professions, etc.). For example, several researchers in the group (Kemmis and colleagues) have been responsible for the development of the theory of practice architectures now being widely used in research on professional practice; and Edwards-Groves and Davidson have contributed to the theory, policy, and practice of dialogic pedagogies in schools.

This outline sketches the overall research program of PPLE. Within this framework, researchers identify and pursue particular research projects in relation to particular research topics. PPLE researchers currently have a range of projects underway and in development.

We welcome comments and inquiries from professionals, researchers, potential future research partners, and PhD students.

Please contact Associate Professor Christine Edwards-Groves at cgroves@csu.edu.au.

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