Professional Development in Distance Education: Knowledge Advantage, Conflicting Values and the Struggle for Survival
Gordon Burt, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, United Kingdom
Indian Journal of Open Learning Volume 9, Number 2, ISSN 0971-2690 Publisher: Indira Gandhi National Open University
There are a number of possible ways in which development can happen: solitary, peer or developer-led development; and learning-by-doing or learning-todo. Developer-led learning-to-do fails to deliver benefit if it enjoys no knowledge advantage or its knowledge advantage cannot be absorbed or is misperceived or is not valued. Even if it fails to deliver benefit it can stillappear successfulif it persuades the organisation, contrary to the truth, that it delivers benefit. If it fails to deliver benefit or it fails to persuade the organisation, it fails to survive in the organisation. This type of professional development is constantly vulnerable to failure and so is engaged in a constant struggle for survival. These points are illustrated by the history of the UKOU Institute of Educational Technology over the period 1970-2000. A quite separate matter from the issue of security is whether or not educational value is delivered. The essential obscurity of open and distance education research guarantees that the latter issue is never resolved. There is a danger of being permanently locked in to a sub-optimal path which serves power rather than educational value. This situation is mirrored at the national level where the UK government's 'disregard for academic freedom has become dangerous and damaging'. The academic ideas underlying this analysis reside in the fields of the sociology of the professions and the evolution of professions and organisations.
Burt, G. (2000). Professional Development in Distance Education: Knowledge Advantage, Conflicting Values and the Struggle for Survival. Indian Journal of Open Learning, 9(2), 147-156. Indira Gandhi National Open University.