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