Developing professional expertise for safety: a learning design framework

Sarah Holdsworth, Jan Hayes, Orana Sandri, Sarah Maslen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Continuing professional development recognises that changes in the contemporary world demand that engineering professionals continuously learn. Today’s professional landscape requires the provision for ongoing learning relevant to evolving workplace requirements. This is particularly the case for engineers working in hazardous industries who make decisions every day with significant consequences. Despite this, the safety literature has paid little attention to best practice in professional learning. There is a large literature regarding lessons to be learned from accidents. Other published studies focus on training methods such as simulation. Educator-focused approaches such as these separate learning from real day-to-day workplace contexts and the learning needs of professionals. It is increasingly recognised that professionals learn, in a way that shapes their practice, from a diverse range of activities. Learning must therefore be active, social, and situated within the sphere of professional responsibilities, contexts, and groups. This paper presents a learner-centred framework that can be used to develop professional learning for safety that is grounded in day-to-day work practices and professional context needs. The framework aims to move away from the limitations that have been found with the current professional development approaches to enhance learner-centred professional learning. The framework was developed and used in the context of engineering practices regarding safety, but, because the framework encourages learning to be designed based on workplace contexts, it is applicable across a range of training needs and professions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-472
Number of pages14
JournalCognition, Technology and Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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