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Title: Applying a model of viral transmission to the development of professional practice in learning and teaching in higher education : a case of Personal Development Planning
Author: Neame, Charles W. G.
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2009
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‘Good educational practice’ is difficult to define generically, because it is always context-dependent. It must therefore be locally defined and developed, rather than be ‘transferred in’ from elsewhere. This principle of local adaptability replaces notions of practice ‘transfer’ with one of practice which is developed more locally and democratically. Such practice nevertheless draws on networks which transcend contextual (e.g. departmental) boundaries. Thus development can happen locally, but local definitions of good practice remain open to valid models from elsewhere. In the context of educational practice in higher education, the research problem can be characterised as how to reconcile good practice from one context with new practice being developed in another. This problem is addressed using a case study of the implementation of Personal Development Planning (PDP) programmes in a postgraduate institution. It uses action research to engage academic staff (including the author) in participatory activities across the institution, to propose a model of the process of good practice development. This model draws on a metaphor of viral transmission to explain how academic communities exposed to forms of practice may adopt, reject, or adapt them. The model is integrated with a framework of educational development orientations to suggest how receptivity to new practice may be enhanced at different phases of the adoption or development process. This can be achieved by prioritising different features of the relationship between members of the academic community concerned. Notwithstanding the role of PDP as a case study in the research, the primary focus thus falls on practice development in new contexts generically, rather than on ‘good PDP practice’ specifically. The study presents a novel model of academic practice development, which exploits and responds to the varied aspects of academic community relationships, enabling innovators to overcome cultural and structural obstacles to new practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available