Evaluating retrospective experiential learning as process in scholarship on a work based professional doctorate


  • John Fulton University of Sunderland
  • Catherine Hayes University of Sunderland




Work-based learning, practice based research, professional doctorate


Acknowledging retrospective experiential learning as a unique contribution to knowledge in the context of the workplace is the fundamental focus of the work-based professional doctorate. This report details an evaluation of a 'Second Generation' professional doctorate programme. The programme provides a mechanism for both learning development and the acknowledgement and development of pre-existing, discipline-specific, professional practice. Evaluation was used as a means of highlighting how the theory-praxis gap might be bridged via translational knowledge construction. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with eleven doctoral candidates to explore their experiences and perceptions of the programme. The interviews were then transcribed and thematically analysed during which a 'base superstructure model' was identified. This model identified the underpinning skills of critical reflection, investigation and adaptive capacity necessary to inform and facilitate the research phase of the professional doctorate programme. The facilitation and upskilling of doctoral candidates in the use of emergent technology was identified as the basis for the development of professional and academic practice. The role of the doctoral supervisor, as a facilitator of the development of these skills, was also established as pivotal to learning development for doctoral candidates; in terms of developing their 'base super-structure' to become independent, reflective and adaptive learners.




How to Cite

Fulton, J. and Hayes, C. (2017) “Evaluating retrospective experiential learning as process in scholarship on a work based professional doctorate”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (11). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i11.255.