The LDHEN hive mind: Learning Development in UK higher education as a professional culture
Keywords:Learning Development, professional identity, distributed communities of practice, professional culture, social identity
AbstractThe Learning Developer in higher education (HE) works with students to help them make sense of the language and practices of HE. It is a relatively new role and has grown in response to the Widening Participation agenda which has seen an increase in entry of 'non-traditional' students into HE. Learning developers' job descriptions, employment contracts and institutional location vary between institutions and the role is often misunderstood across academia. There has long been discussion and debate within the learning development community regarding the professionalisation of the role and what this might look like. The literature in this area is sparse and to date consists of small-scale surveys of learning development practitioners with inconclusive findings. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of learning developer professional identity by analysing six months of discourse from the Learning Development in Higher Education Network (LDHEN) Listserv. This is explored through the lens of social identity theory and findings suggest that the learning development community functions as a professional culture based on collegiality, trust, shared values and a protected collective knowledge base. This attitudinal perspective of professional identity as professional culture is proposed as a more productive approach to the debate than more traditional interpretations of professionalism based on qualifications and formal training.
How to Cite
Stapleford, K. (2019) “The LDHEN hive mind: Learning Development in UK higher education as a professional culture”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (16). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i16.510.
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).