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Work-Based Learning as a field of study: knowledge production and transdisciplinarity

Special issue call for papers from Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning

Work-Based Learning as a field of study: knowledge production and transdisciplinarity

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning (HESWBL) is the official journal of the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC). A peer-reviewed scholarly journal focusing specifically on the interface between higher education learning and workplace learning, HESWBL publishes academic and scholarly practitioner-focused papers which aim to provide a broad international coverage of global issues, developments and innovation in higher level skills, higher level work-based learning and higher education.

Guest Editors

Professor Carol Costley, Middlesex University [email protected]
Dr Ruth Helyer, Teesside University [email protected]


There has been over 20 years of work-based learning (WBL) in higher education, predominantly in the UK and Australia. More recently WBL has been developed in the European Union to support learners towards the 2020 initiatives.

This Special Issue of HESWBL aims to collate and share contemporary global perspectives on how WBL is not just a way in which to describe the learning which is applicable across differing work and practice contexts, but more importantly an academic field with epistemological standing.  WBL can be used in HE as a mode of study within a subject discipline area, but it is also a field of study in its own right. This issue will examine how that works. The wide range of abilities needed for work, especially professional work, demonstrate inter, multi and transdisciplinary approaches. WBL is also inextricably connected to accreditation, it utilises learning contracts, a range of descriptors and learning outcomes that link to work practices. The issue aims to consider how this pedagogical process links to learning theory and to showcase approaches which support creativity, innovation and knowledge creation in work and practice.

Transdisciplinarity is a term increasingly used in academia and a useful one to describe the way in which work-based programmes at higher levels operate. Often scholarly research focuses on problems that cross disciplines and refers to, and utilizes, concepts, methods and theories originally developed by one discipline but now used more widely. The term acknowledges that for work-based learners, research and theory can cross many disciplinary boundaries, creating a comprehensive, nuanced and hybrid approach, capable of reflecting their messy real-life research questions, where learning is often emergent and complex.

Themes of Interest

We encourage academics and practitioners to send us original research, case studies, systematic reviews, meta-analyses and literature reviews highlighting innovative practice; these might include:

• Is WBL a field of study in higher education?
o If so, what constitutes this field of study?
o WBL and the disciplines
• WBL and accreditation
o Innovative use of WBL learning descriptors, outcomes and/or flexible frameworks
• Where is knowledge produced, used, disseminated, stored and progressed?
o Mode 2 knowledge
o Knowledge production
o Reflection and Reflexivity
• Where are the transdisciplinary dimensions of WBL?
o Transdisciplinarity and pedagogy  
o The transferability of WBL innovative practice 
o Evaluations of transdisciplinary practice.
o Integration of methodologies and paradigms

Submission Process

In the first instance authors should submit an abstract of not more than 500 words describing the content of the proposed paper and demonstrating how it addresses the themes of the special edition.  Abstracts should be sent to the guest editors of the special issue.

Following an initial review process, selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper. Articles should be between 5000-7000 words in length. The special issue will follow the peer review process, formatting guidelines and publishing schedule of Higher Education, Skills & Work-based Learning (Emerald).

For more details visit Author Guidelines.

Key dates:

Submission of abstract by 30th September 2015
Submission of full paper by 30th November 2015

For more information on Higher Education, Skills & Work-based Learning visit HESWBL.