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A. Rubio Carbó1, N. Serrat Antolí2, F. Pérez Lozano1, G. Mas Crespo1, R. Cervera Martínez1

1University of Barcelona, Institute for LifeLong Learning (SPAIN)
2University of Barcelona, Dep. Didactics and Educational Organization (SPAIN)
Nowadays few would question the determining role played by the workplace as an unsurpassable educational setting to acquire new knowledge and put many different competences into practice. It is a fact that continuing professional education constitutes one of the basic tools of professional development (Eraut, 1994). However, it is equally true that daily experience in the workplace, everyday professional practice, also constitutes one of the most powerful sources of knowledge, although often, “when it comes to practical knowledge acquired through experience, people cannot easily tell you what it is that they know”. (Eraut, 1994:25).

Beyond the acquisition of technical or technological knowledge to be applied to specific problems, work process knowledge implies a more complex and integrated vision of the own organization and of what occurs there in terms of learning. It involves a type of knowledge which grows exponentially, feeding back from the results of each professional’s performance in the work field. There, words, thoughts and actions, which flow from the interaction between what the person already knows and the new generated by the workplace, find their place (Fischer & Boreman, 2004).

Most students at IL3-UB pursue the interest of learning to find a new job or to improve their labour conditions. Thus, the professional approach is the backbone of the learning process at IL3-UB to help our students to gain labour experience while they are being trained. Our aim is to contribute to our students’ employability. Results are measured by participants in terms of professional development and by their enterprises in terms of business impact.

The main characteristic of new programmes are work-based activities defined in IL3-UB such as those challenges emerging from professional practice; centred in work-based needs of the professional profile; oriented to train complex labour situations; connected to professional sector contents; oriented to develop concrete professional competences; and searching to create informal learning processes to explicit the tacit knowledge.

This approach made our design and our teaching process redefined. We have rewritten our training project in order to position professional learning as the core of our formative model. The institution is currently being transformed to meet the organizational and the business needs, internal teams are being trained and the model is being implemented in new long programmes. It is a middle-term team project made by the joint effort of the whole IL3-UB employees, some external collaborators and the invaluable contribution of the teacher’s team.