Transformational learning for capability in the workplace

Bridget Leahy, Narelle Patton

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    In this chapter, we move beyond student learning in clinical workplaces to encompass ongoing professional learning through an exploration of how clinical contexts and practice experiences have (and continue to) shape the development of professional practice capabilities. In particular, we use the notion of transformational learning, meaning ongoing development of abilities and qualities that coalesce to strengthen professional identity in the pursuit of practice expertise, to explore this professional development. We explore this topic through our experiences as practitioner (Bridget) and researcher (Narelle). Bridget’s story was told to Narelle through several conversational interviews. Bridget commenced her study of physiotherapy at a regional Australian university straight from school. Interestingly Bridget’s
    experience resonates with Melanie Walker’s research participants’ description of their social work students in South Africa as “very green eighteen year olds” who “come on a journey” (see Chapter 4). As a final year undergraduate student, Bridget participated in Narelle’s research exploring contextual influences on physiotherapy students’ clinical learning (see Chapter 8). As a research participant Bridget provided insightful commentary highlighting how clinical workplaces shaped her practice development as an undergraduate physiotherapy student. Since graduation, Bridget has undertaken eight years of physiotherapy practice including five years as a clinical educator. A guided reflection of Bridget’s professional learning experiences, from student to physiotherapy practitioner to clinical educator, is used to identify how clinical workplaces and practice experiences shape transformational learning for professional capability. Bridget’s journey of professional practice capability development (particularly through her workplace experiences) has progressed from her undergraduate student days, through her time as a physiotherapist to her transformation from practitioner to practitioner-educator. The latter involved simultaneous development of her own capabilities as well as those of others – students and junior colleagues. We narrate this reflective journey to illuminate transformational learning for capability development in the workplace.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDeveloping practice capability
    Subtitle of host publicationTransforming workplace learning
    EditorsNarelle Patton, Joy Higgs, Megan Smith
    Place of PublicationLeiden, The Netherlands
    PublisherBrill | Sense
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9789004366923
    ISBN (Print)9789004366916, 9789004366909
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018

    Publication series

    NameHigher Education Horizons
    PublisherBrill Sense


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