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Supporting Continuous Professional Learning in the Academic Staff through Expertise Sharing

Apoyar el desarrollo profesional continuo del personal académico a través del intercambio de experiencias

Abstract

This article reports a small-scale experiment of a strategy designed to support the sharing of academic expertise at a Distance Learning University. Two small and separate groups of academic staff members (one of four professors and one of five instructional designers, both including experienced and new employees) volunteered to meet regularly, over a one-year period, to elaborate a collective knowledge map representing a portion of their professional knowledge. This tool- and peer-mediated mentoring activity created a professional learning context in which participants were encouraged to externalize and thus share some tacit knowledge developed through professional practice, as well as explicit but sometimes ambiguous organizational knowledge. The data analyzed so far includes audiotaped individual interviews conducted before and at the end of the experiment, audiotaped group debriefings at the end of each meeting and the knowledge map constructed in each group. Results suggest that combining group mentoring with collaborative knowledge modeling is a promising strategy to foster the elicitation of professional expertise and thus support the professional development of academic staff in universities. This strategy can be defined as an intentional but non-formal professional learning activity that fits well with conceptualisations of learning at the workplace as both a knowledge participation process and a knowledge creation process.

Resumen

Este artículo expone un experimento a pequeña escala sobre una estrategia diseñada para apoyar el intercambio de experiencias académicas en una universidad de educación a distancia. Dos pequeños grupos independientes compuestos por personal académico (uno con cuatro profesores y otro con cinco diseñadores de contenidos educativos, ambos con empleados con y sin experiencia) se ofrecieron voluntarios para reunirse periódicamente durante un período de un año para elaborar un mapa de conocimientos colectivos que representara una parte de sus conocimientos profesionales. Esta herramienta y actividad de tutoría entre compañeros de trabajo estableció un contexto de aprendizaje en el que se potenció que los participantes exteriorizaran y compartieran algunos conocimientos tácitos desarrollados a través de su práctica profesional, así como determinados conocimientos organizativos explícitos aunque algunas veces ambiguos. Los datos analizados hasta el momento incluyen la grabación de las entrevistas realizadas a cada participante antes y después del experimento, la grabación de las conclusiones al final de cada reunión y el mapa de conocimientos elaborado por cada grupo. Los resultados sugieren que combinar las tutorías de grupo con la modelización de conocimientos colaborativos es una estrategia prometedora para promover la adquisición de experiencias profesionales y por lo tanto apoyar el desarrollo profesional del personal académico en las universidades. Esta estrategia puede definirse como una actividad de aprendizaje intencional pero no formal que se adecua a las conceptualizaciones de aprendizaje en el lugar de trabajo a la vez como proceso de intercambio de conocimientos y proceso de creación de conocimientos.

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Correspondence to Josianne Basque.

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Basque, J. Supporting Continuous Professional Learning in the Academic Staff through Expertise Sharing. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 10, 294–311 (2013). https://doi.org/10.7238/rusc.v10i1.1572

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Keywords

  • professional learning of academic staff
  • group mentoring
  • collaborative knowledge modeling
  • sharing and transfer of expertise

Palabras clave

  • desarrollo profesional del personal académico
  • tutoría de grupo
  • modelización de conocimiento colaborativo
  • intercambio y transferencia de experiencias