New pathways to achievement

A new book by Heather Carpenter and Glenys Ker explores the facilitation of independent learning in tertiary education, and the new pathways this provides for learner achievement.

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Work-based learning (WBL) has emerged in the 21st century as a curriculum philosophy. It applies tertiary-level critical thinking to work and life-wide experience to facilitate the recognition and accreditation of existing skills and knowledge, and the acquisition of new skills, knowledge and capabilities. The philosophy has driven the development of qualification pathways which allow accessible entry into the credentialled workplace, providing an equalising path which recognises that all skills, work and backgrounds have value; and offers a second chance for mature and experienced learners.

These WBL qualifications are suitable for people who have the motivation and capabilities to learn independently, however to ensure the most powerful learning experience, the independent journey needs to be expertly facilitated. In their book Heather and Glenys explain the processes and facilitation of two innovative learning pathways developed at Capable NZ, the Independent Learning Pathway and Professional Practice degrees, illustrated by learner voices. 

Facilitators must have the ability to utilise the right skills and knowledge at the right time, which entails having an in-depth understanding of the individual learner – not just their skills and knowledge, but their personality and motivations – so that they can make important judgement calls at just the right time, for example to push or to challenge, to encourage, or to hold to account. Expert skills as well as well constructed pathway processes combine to develop in learners the reflective skills that extract previous learning and develop new confidence in a transformed approach. The learner voices in this book provide the detail of their transformation and learning.

This book provides a model for facilitators, and is also likely to be of interest to learners and tertiary education institutions.

November 2021

Image credit: Andrew Huff. Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 2.0 license. 

Glenys Ker

Associate Professor
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Published on 09 Oct 2023