The learning practitioner


Collits, Paul. 2008. "The learning practitioner." Cockfield, Geoff and Charters, Kate (ed.) 12th Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA2008). Albury, Australia 18 - 20 Aug 2008 Brisbane, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

The learning practitioner

Presentation TypePaper
AuthorCollits, Paul
EditorsCockfield, Geoff and Charters, Kate
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 12th Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA2008)
Number of Pages14
Place of PublicationBrisbane, Australia
Web Address (URL) of Paper
Conference/Event12th Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA2008)
Event Details
12th Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA2008)
Event Date
18 to end of 20 Aug 2008
Event Location
Albury, Australia

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

Keywordsmanagement education; economic development training; regional development training
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440699. Human geography not elsewhere classified
390303. Higher education
390103. Economics, business and management curriculum and pedagogy
Public Notes

No indication of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.

Byline AffiliationsRoyal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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