Promoting Learning Development as an Academic Discipline

Peter Samuels

Abstract


Over the past 10 years, Learning Development has become an established practice in many UK universities. Whilst this practice is generally understood and valued by students, its associated epistemology and community of practice is generally not perceived as an academic discipline in its own right by other academics, managers or policy makers. Recently, there has been a move within the Learning Development community to address the challenge of enabling it to discover its ââ¬Ëvoice' as a discipline within the conversation of disciplines. In addition, the current economic climate makes it desirable for the Learning Development community to organise and promote itself as a research-informed discipline so that its professional practice will not be over-embedded or absorbed within faculties to the detriment of students.

Firstly, we consider the current level of maturity of the practice of Learning Development in the UK. Secondly, we explore ways in which the Learning Development community might move forward by considering three case studies of disciplinarity: two external to Learning Development, namely Communications Theory and Educational Development; and one internal to it, namely Mathematics Support. Thirdly, with reference to data provided at a workshop on this subject, we apply relevant approaches identified in these case studies to Learning Development. Finally, Learning Development's progress towards the status of a discipline is discussed in comparison with the other case studies.


Keywords


Disciplinarity, Learning Development

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ISSN: 1759-667X