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Professions, Competence and Informal Learning

Graham Cheetham, former Senior Policy Adviser, The Department for Education and Skills (UK Government) and Tutor in Human Resource Development, University of Leicester, UK and the late Geoff Chivers, former Professor of Professional Development, Loughborough University, UK
This book takes a fresh look at professions – their history and sociology, and at the nature both of professional practice and professional competence.
Extent: 360 pp
Hardback Price: $164.00 Web: $147.60
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 978 1 84376 408 3
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  • Business and Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management Education
  • Education
  • Management Education
This book takes a fresh look at professions – their history and sociology, and at the nature both of professional practice and professional competence.

Based on research by the authors across 20 varied professions, the book offers an innovative model of professional competence and throws new light on how competence is acquired. It identifies a range of informal learning processes, which seem to be just as important to becoming competent as formal training. As a result, the authors suggest a paradigm of professional development that combines informal and formal learning and also brings together academic and competence-based approaches.

Professions, Competence and Informal Learning provides practical advice to professional developers on programme design as well as tips for individual professionals on how to exploit their informal learning opportunities. It draws on the research to forecast the future skills needs of professionals and suggests how professional development programmes may need to change in response.

The book should be of value to anyone who is interested in professional competence, whether as a professional educator or developer, or as an individual professional. It is also potentially of use to trainers and educators in non-professional areas, especially those with an interest in informal learning.
‘It is a very good read. . . This book ought to appeal to a diverse readership: Those simply interested in their place in society as professionals and wishing to further develop themselves, those for whom the development of other professionals is their own professional interest, and those with an academic interest in the development of professions and the changing nature of employment. It pulls together a wide range of material, both theoretical and empirical, in a very readable and ultimately practical form.’
– Chris Alder, Personnel Review

‘The book provides an in-depth synthesis of continuing professional development (CPD) and adult learning literature. It brings into focus a myriad of published work from disparate sources . . . One test of the perceived value of a book such as this is “would I want to keep it on my bookshelf and will I use it?” Professions, Competence and Informal Learning will have a place on my bookshelf.’
– Leadership in Health Services

‘This book offers clear and informative accounts of the history of professions, theories of professional competence and learning, and the debates surrounding continual professional development, interwoven with carefully described empirical research which allows an insight into the perceptions and experiences of professionals themselves. It is a fascinating and useful book, which will appeal especially to those concerned with designing and running professional development programmes and, perhaps more importantly, to individual professionals who wish to understand and improve their own learning experiences.’
– Continuing Professional Development Spotlight

‘I highly recommend this book to HRM-professionals within all organizations; this book is an advanced HRD-source for the 21st century."
– Celeste Wilderom, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Contents: Preface Part I: History and Sociology of Professions 1. When is a Job a Profession? 2. Once upon a Time: A Brief History of Professions 3. Here and Now: Professions in the Twenty-first Century Part II: Nature of Professional Competence and Professional Practice 4. Competence: A Problematic Concept? 5. Figuring it Out: Modelling Professional Competence 6. Ringing the Changes: Testing and Revising the Professional Competence Model 7. Professional Competence – Through the Eyes of Professionals 8. Practice Makes Perfect: How Professionals Do What They Do Part III: Professional Development – Theory and Practice 9. Learning in Theory: A Look at Learning Theories of Relevance to Professional Development 10. Beyond Competence: From Novice to Expert in Professional Practice 11. That’s the Way to Do It: A Critical Look at Some Techniques used in Developing Professionals 12. Learning in Practice: How Professionals Learn Informally 13. Making the Best of it: Maximising Informal Learning within Professional Development Programmes 14. Do it Yourself: Getting the Most from Your Learning Opportunities Part IV: Beyond the Here and Now 15. Learning is Lifelong: A Look at Continuing Professional Development 16. Over There: International Issues in Professional Development 17. Over the Horizon: Where are Professions Heading? References Index