Incorporating principles of expansive learning and activity theory in curriculum design to bridge work and education contexts for vocational teachers

  • James Garraway Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
  • Christine Winberg Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Keywords: Academic staff development; vocational and professional education; activity theory; expansive learning; transformative agency

Abstract

The focus of this study is a development course for academic staff that is informed by activity theory and transformative agency. It is intended to help vocational and professional educators to link academic curricula to current work practices. The course content first helped the participants to develop a systematic understanding of the different purposes and contexts of educational institutions and workplaces. After that, these contradictory elements were harnessed in order to develop innovative boundary-crossing concepts and practices. The process in which participants engage in developing new possibilities for practice is termed ‘expansive learning’. Through expansive learning, participants may develop ‘transformative agency’ for dealing sustainably with challenges in times of change. The study traces how transformative agency developed among the course participants. It argues that activity theory provides an innovative, sustainable approach to the academic development of vocational and professional educators, especially with a view to them adapting their course content to changing industry needs.

Author Biographies

James Garraway, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

James Garraway is a researcher in the Professional Education Research Institute with a special
interest in using activity theory to investigate work and learning and institutional change
within the higher education sector.

Christine Winberg, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

Chris Winberg holds the South African National Research Foundation Chair in Workintegrated Learning and leads the Professional Education Research Institute at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. Chris’s research focus is professional and vocational education (with a particular focus on engineering education), the professional development of university lecturers, and technical communication.

Published
2020-10-28
How to Cite
Garraway, J., & Winberg, C. (2020). Incorporating principles of expansive learning and activity theory in curriculum design to bridge work and education contexts for vocational teachers. Journal of Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training, 3(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.14426/jovacet.v3i1.121
Section
Articles