Conceptual foundations in learning development

Ian Johnson, Silvina Bishopp-Martin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter draws out insights to crystallise what the professional field of Learning Development work is, does, and adds within higher education, and therefore its unique nature and value. These tenets are reasonably well comprehended and articulated among the LD field’s experienced practitioners. Yet the current lack of wider joined-up understandings across HE sectors such as the UK’s arguably hampers the profession’s efforts, such as in progressing its self-identity, practising consistently across locations, and inducting new members. Here, we set LD apart from related professional fields such as English for Academic purposes, and from mischaracterisations, such of LD work functioning exclusively to remediate deficits or teach study skills. Instead, we position LD as uniquely able to offer the benefits of being a third space, and an embedded part of students’ disciplinary learning. These functions have sometimes been regarded as mutually exclusive. By justifying how they can be combined, we visualise a Learning Development praxis whose relevance to everyone – students and staff alike – is clear and vital, and from which newer and more experienced LD practitioners can draw conceptual and practical inspiration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow to be a Learning Developer in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives, Community and Practice
EditorsAlicja Syska, Carina Buckley
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781003433347
ISBN (Print)9781032560076, 9781032560083
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2023

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