Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 202001431
Professional Learning in Organisations
Course infoSchedule
Course module202001431
Credits (ECTS)15
Course typeStudy Unit
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. M.D. Post - Hubers
PreviousNext 1
dr. S.M. Dennerlein
N. Goossen
dr. A.M.G.M. Hoogeboom - Hendriksen
dr. B.J. Kolloffel
Contactperson for the course
dr. M.D. Post - Hubers
Academic year2023
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISNo
Number of insufficient tests1
This module offers an introduction to the theory and practice of professional learning in organisations. The module consists of three integrated components: a project, theory, and professional development. The learning goals are organized in line with what the respective components offer in the module. Please note that this module is a full-time module with mandatory presence on four days and a workload of five days. As you will work for a real client during this module, also additional appointment will be scheduled outside the planned activities as mentioned in the roster. The planning of these activities will depend on your client's agenda.

After successful completion of the project of this module, entitled 'Improving professional learning at the workplace' the student is able to:
  • analyze and reformulate a concrete problem of a client related to professional learning at the workplace
  • identify the key learning concepts in relation to the problem, including the influencing factors on different levels
  • map the interests of the different stakeholders in relation to the problem using both a systematic and relational approach.
  • select and apply different data collection methods and analysis techniques to get better insight in the nature of the client's problem, possible underlying factors and pros and cons of different solutions
  • translate outcomes of the problem analysis to possible (directions for) learning solutions that adhere to the core of the problem and fit within the boundary conditions of the specific context of the client.
  • develop together with the stakeholders a direction for a solution that is grounded in literature
  • develop an implementation and evaluation plan that fits both to the specific context of the client and gives insights into the effects of the suggested solution
  • write an evidence-based report for the client in which grounded recommendations for improving professional learning at the workplace are presented.

After completing the theory component, the student:
  • understands how individuals and teams learn in organizations
  • can discuss the personal, psychological and organizational factors that enhance professional learning in organisations and can explain how these factors can be supported within organizations
  • understands how organizations can create a learning climate and how this influences performance
  • can identify, analyze and apply different theoretical concepts in relation to a real-life case
  • can reason about the tension between personal development and organisational performance.

After completing the professional development lab, the student is able to:
  • Analyze personal strengths and weaknesses in a team of HRD professionals
  • Define and iterate SMART learning goals relevant to development as HRD professional
  • Iteratively explore, select, and apply learning strategies for their learning goals with regard to professional development
  • Continuously reflect on their evaluated performance and goal attainment with regard to professional development

In the current knowledge economy, the radical increase of information technology has transformed modes of doing business, the nature of services and products, and also the way learning in organizations has to be facilitated. These forces have contributed to a belief that professional learning and continuous innovation of work processes, products and services are crucial for sustainable operation of organizations. This situation stresses the importance of a competent workforce. Therefore, new ways of working and learning have to be designed that fit the demands of the new generation of knowledge workers and our rapidly moving society.
Human Resource Development focuses on the learning and development of adults in the context of their professional work. It is often described as an organizational process that comprises the skillful planning and facilitation of formal and informal learning, knowledge development and innovation. HRD specialists may take on a host of different roles, such as coaches, trainers, internal advisors on educational programmes, developers of learning content and technology, but also as consultants or change managers. Increasingly, HRD professionals are becoming partners at the strategic level of organizations.
This module offers an introduction to the theory and practice of professional learning in organizations. The module consists of three integrated components: 1) project, 2) theory, and 3) professional development.
In the project, entitled ‘Improving professional learning at the workplace?’ students will focus on improving professional learning of employees in organizations. New technological developments and societal changes require employees to continuously adapt their work behaviour. Questions that arise are:
  • How can we give employees’ more autonomy in what and how they learn at work?
  • How do we support learning in (multidisciplinary) teams?
  • How can we make the knowledge of employees accessible for their colleagues?
  • How do we motivate employees to share their expertise (and mistakes) with their colleagues? 

In the project component of the module, students will work in a consultancy team to give advice on a learning challenge of a real-life organization (e.g. healthcare organizations, high tech firms). During the project, the consultancy teams analyse and frame the challenges the client has with fostering on-going professional learning at the workplace. Together with the client organization the consultancy team will develop (directions for) solutions for enhancing professional learning in these organizations. Consultancy teams will present their findings and recommendations in a final advice report and present the outcomes to their client.
During the project, students, teachers and experts, work together in a consultancy company to share knowledge about the challenges of the client organisations, possible influencing factors, solutions and approaches.
The theory component provides an overview of the most important theoretical perspectives and research on professional learning in organizations from a mixture of disciplines, including psychology, educational science, human resource management and sociology. In this component, students start to get a deeper understanding of how people learn and develop during their work and how this learning takes place at both individual, team and organization level. In addition, the theory will increase students’ insights in how to facilitate learning at the workplace, how to design powerful interventions for attractive learning environments and the role technology and new media can play in designing learning interventions for workplace learning.
The Professional Development (PD) Lab guides students in developing HRD competencies that are needed for successful work in the project team and completion of the HRD consultancy project. For example, students can choose to develop their professional communication skills that are needed for communicating and coordinating with the client, negotiating, and gaining support for implementation. Alternatively, students can choose to develop their data collection and analysis skills for performing fieldwork, i.e. creating an interview scheme, interviewing employees, qualitatively analyzing complex information from the client organization, and developing directions for advice. The goal of PD Lab is therefore to introduce students to a set of relevant competencies and to facilitate their skill development in a safe space with the help of peers and teachers.
Required materials
Course material
Study guide module
Course material
Syllabus Professional Development Lab
Course material
Project manual
Course material
Selected course readings
Course material
Scientific articles
Recommended materials
Instructional modes
Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Presence dutyYes

Project supervised
Presence dutyYes

Project unsupervised
Presence dutyYes

Self study without assistance

Presence dutyYes

Theories of Professional Learning

HRD Professional Development - portfolio

Reports, presentation (group assignments)

Project Improving Professional Learning


Kies de Nederlandse taal