ProPEL Themes

ProPEL Theme 1: Changing Demands for Professional Learning

Professional learning is increasingly acknowledged to be embodied and emergent, entwined with identity, and situated in practice (its discourses, objects, regulations, activities and politics). Professional practice and learning is mediated by diverse knowledge sources, international standards, and regional knowledge cultures. Professionals themselves are increasingly called upon to be critical, innovative, resilient global citizens and leaders who can identify and respond to key social challenges. Issues for research include:

  • transitions in professional knowledge and role expectations
  • interprofessional learning and work
  • emerging professions and changing arrangements of practice for professionals
  • time and space in the shifting ecologies of practice
  • negotiating professional identities in changing practice
  • influence of digital technologies on professional knowledge and education
  • innovative ways to assess professional learning in practice
  • new demands of leadership in changing professional practices.


ProPEL Theme 2: Responsibility in Professional Practice

Questions about professional responsibility have become particularly acute in public scrutiny of professional practice ranging from children and family services to accounting. ‘Responsibility’ is a multi-faceted category that can embrace ethical dilemmas as well as complexities of ‘care’ and ‘goodness’ in professional practice. More broadly, some professions and organisations are exploring notions of social responsibility – or ecological responsibility (including social and environmental concerns). Some are linking with the UN Global Compact to discuss ‘global responsibility’ and what this might mean in professional practice and education. Others are comparing the material enactments and languages of responsibility. Issues for research include:

  • the nature of responsibility and its changing meanings
  • dilemmas and practices of responsibility in professional communities
  • connections of professional responsibility with democracy/citizenship issues
  • ecologies of learning and identities in responsibility.


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