The learning practitioner

Collits, Paul (2008) The learning practitioner. In: 12th Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA2008), 18-20 Aug 2008, Albury, Australia.

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The question of the professional development needs of economic development practitioners, arguing for government, higher education providers and practitioners to work together to effect formal recognition of these needs and to implement academic programs to meet them (Collits 1999). Since then, and only recently, the many barriers to achieving this outcome have finally (and happily) been overcome. Now, RMIT University is currently working towards the introduction of award programs in economic development.
While there are already academic programs in regional development, broadly defined, in Australia, the RMIT
programs will be the first dedicated specifically to the needs of economic development practitioners. Australia will
finally join the United States, Canada and New Zealand in having academic programs available to practitioners.
This paper explains the philosophy behind RMIT University’s approach to the development and delivery of the courses and programs, and explores the key issues involved. First, it outlines what I take to be “the great questions of regional development”, an understanding of which is central to any academic program for economic developers; second, it formulates an understanding of the economic development practitioner’s task(s); third, it wrestles with the important issue of determining what it is that practitioners should be learning in an academic program on economic development. In particular, it attempts to resolve – or, at any rate, address – the key issue of
getting the correct balance in a learning program between learning that is about 'how to…' as opposed to 'why'. In
this way, the paper attempts to come to grips with the notion of the 'learning practitioner'. Finally, the paper makes some points about important questions relating to how much difference practitioners can make to their economic
development environments.
First, it is important to provide some background on the growth of the economic development profession in

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No indication of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2011 22:19
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: management education; economic development training; regional development training
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130203 Economics, Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440699 Human geography not elsewhere classified
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390103 Economics, business and management curriculum and pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9303 Curriculum > 930302 Syllabus and Curriculum Development

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