Empowering learners: An exploration of mediating learning for care workers
Miers, M. , Coles, J. , Girot, E. and Wilkinson, G. (2005) Empowering learners: An exploration of mediating learning for care workers. Learning in Health and Social Care, 4 (4). pp. 180-191. ISSN 1473-6853
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-6861.2005.00101.x
Care workers in learning disability services have welcomed the introduction of a university Certificate in Empowering Practice designed to meet their learning needs. An independent evaluation in 2001 confirmed students' and employers' satisfaction with the award. Subsequently, four colleagues – two evaluators and two lecturers on the empowering practice modules – engaged in a co-operative inquiry to explore lecturers' perceptions of the learning and teaching processes intrinsic to the success of the certificate. This article reports on the rationale, process and outcomes of the co-operative inquiry. Co-operative inquiry involves working with each other as co-subjects and co-researchers. The inquiry focuses on transfer of learning and on facilitating learning in groups. The study explores the significance of conceptual understanding; moving back and forth between theory and practice; lecturers' person and student-centred philosophy and practice; accepting emotional influences on learning; metacognitive control; and managing risk through relationships. It reviews ideas underpinning the development of the programme and design of the curriculum, including the situational model of curriculum development and the notion of constructive alignment. The outcomes of the co-operative inquiry include enhanced understanding of the importance of the nature of lecturer/learner relationships in empowering care workers to change practice.
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