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International Congress on Archives 2004 - pres 121 HOY SAE 04 (Page 3)

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International Congress on Archives 2004 - pres 121 HOY SAE 04
International Congress on Archives
There are two main interpretations of learning in current educational and organisational development
literature. In some contexts, learning has replaced training as the more narrow concept of skills
acquisition to perform set tasks:
Learning encompasses the processes by which job-related skills are acquired, as demonstrated
by changed behaviour on the job, whereas development focuses on cultural change and career
preparation. It has a relatively long time for payback and a higher risk of ever achieving that
payback than does training.
However, equally in education and organisational development literature, `learning' is used more
widely, to mean both the acquisition of basic skills and knowledge and the more critical reflection of
theory and practice.
Concepts such as lifelong learning are also broad and are increasingly being used
to cover formal, informal and workplace learning.
For the purposes of this paper, I will use learning in
its wider sense to cover both training and development.
Professional development
Beaty, in discussing development of professional occupations, defines professional development as a
structured process involving people, experiences and reflection:
A systematic approach to learning involving reflection, conceptualization and planning. In this
way the new experience will be informed by learning from the past and from the experience of
Professional development is about improving practice over time, by learning from others, from past
experience, through reflection and by being actively and creatively involved in learning processes.
Professional development can happen in the workplace, through research and publication, with
colleagues in a professional association environment or through formal education such as higher
Terms such as `continuous learning' and `continuing education' are similar to concepts of
professional development, so have been subsumed under the above definition.
In the context of archives and records, Hedstrom's discussion about the impact of information
technology on curriculum development confirms why professional development has to encourage
critical and reflective thinking of theory and practice:
These developments [information technology] are a testament to the continuing need for
archivists to catch up and keep up with innovation in information technology and evolving
archival theory and practice.
Competencies and capabilities
The definitions of competency standards, competencies and capabilities are not clear cut in either
education or archival literature. The National Training Information Service (NTIS) of the Australian
Government has defined competency standards as follows:
Competency Standards describe the skills and knowledge required for a person to operate
effectively in the workplace. The standards have been defined by industry, are nationally
Australian National Audit Office, Management of Learning and Levelopment in the Australian Public Service,
Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2002, p. 28.
L Field, `Organisational learning: basic concepts', in G Foley (ed), Understanding Adult Education and Training,
2nd Edition, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 2000, p. 167; C Argyris & D Schon, Organisational Learning II:
Theory, Method and Practice
, Addison Wesley, Massachusettes, 1996, p. 35.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), `Policy Brief: Lifelong Learning', 2004,
OECD Website:
(accessed 5 June 2004).
L Beaty, `The professional development structure of teachers in higher education: structures, methods and
responsibilities', Innovations in Education and Training International, Volume 35, Number 2, 1998, p. 99.
A Cossham, `Gaining knowledge and expanding the skill base: the professional development of New Zealand's
records managers', Proceedings of the Archives and Records Education Stakeholders (ARES) Forum, Melbourne,
Australia, 12­13 June 2003, ARES Website:
(accessed 15 May 2004), p. 2.
M Hedstrom, `Teaching archivists about electronic records and automated techniques: a needs assessment', The
American Archivist, Volume 56, Number 3, Summer 1993, p. 425.

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