Exploring Models of Development of Professional Practice in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: What Can We Learn from Biology and Marketing?

Charles Neame


This paper summarises the principal findings from recently completed doctoral research at the Institute of Education. The research identified two models or frameworks, which it integrated as a mechanism for explaining how innovation in academic practice might be encouraged and developed within a Higher Education academic community. The first framework is a classification of orientations towards the process of educational development: educational developers have responsibility for promoting and supporting educational and curriculum development in universities. This framework proposes that such developers choose to adopt different approaches, in response to personal preference or institutional constraints. The second model is taken initially from biology and uses the mechanisms by which viruses spread between host organisms to illustrate how ideas and forms of practice might also be transferred between individuals and groups. A similar application of this model has already been used in the concept of ‘viral marketing’. Using an action research project in a UK postgraduate university as a case study, this research used these two models, through the emergent integrated framework, to suggest how new practice could be more successfully shared and deliberately developed within the university.


Academic development

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ISSN 2049-9558
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