Analysing the needs of university based information professionals: making personal learning and professional development meaningful.

Research Applications in Information and Library Studies 2012
University of South Australia

This paper reflects on the linear ‘career progression’ model of industry specific and organisational continuing professional development (CPD) programs. We propose to extend and innovate current developments in Personal Learning Network (PLN) models through the consideration of non-traditional, informal professional development activities.

Formal professional development programs are endorsed by both institutional employers and professional organisations in the Library and Information (LIS) sector. Drawing on previous research into LIS PD programs (Brooker 2010, Dalby 2008) we argue that these programs are delivered top-down and reflect a linear based career progression model. More recently PLNs have been suggested as alternatives or enhancements to these formal PD programs (Howlett 2011, Bennett 2010). However, these alternative models are still focused on career progression and measuring ‘success’ in a professional context.

This paper reports on an experimental case study undertaken to interrogate the efficacy of a formal LIS industry PD program in addressing the CPD needs of university based information professionals. A modified PLN model was used to critically reflect on a series of examples (activism, community engagement and personal practice) which trouble the traditional scope of these formal programs. We argue that these examples, whilst not part of a formal (or informal) professional development program, reflect the passion and pleasure that information professionals develop through their study and work practices. These examples take place outside of the formal programs, without recognition, and enable a space for critical reflection and innovative application.

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1 Response to “Analysing the needs of university based information professionals: making personal learning and professional development meaningful.”


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