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Dr Donna Rooney

Biography

Donna is a full-time lecturer/researcher at UTS. She has been with UTS in various capacities (eg Research Associate, casual lecturer) since 2002.  The central focus of her research and teaching is adult learning in and beyond educational institutions. She draws from a range of conceptual resources - including, socio-material, post-human, and more recently practice based theories. Prior to coming to UTS she has an extensive work history in the NSW community sector (eg. neighbourhood houses/centres and community colleges).

Professional

  • Donna is Book Review Editor for Studies in Continuing Education as well as being on editorial board for this and other journals.
  • She was recently an elected Board Member of Adult Learning Australia (ALA)
Image of Donna Rooney
Lecturer, Adult Learning and Applied Linguistics Program
B Ad Ed, BEd(Hons), Grad Cert Research Commercialization, GradCertHEd, EdD
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 3044

Research Interests

Donna's research interests, while broad ranging, can be summed up as focusing on Adult learning outside of sanctioned educational institutions. She is currently working with a multidisciplinary team on a project called, Identifying and developing capability in engineer’s continuing professional learning. She was recently involved in an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project called, Beyond training and learning: integrated development practices in organisations. Her doctoral research was largely concerned with the provision of learning in NSW neighbourhood and community centres. This interest was expanded in her recently completed Early Career Research project, Neighbourhoods: Centres of Learning.

Can supervise: Yes

Donna is a Cat 2 supervisor and is able to supervise doctoral students. In particular  students interested in pursuing research in the broad area of learning in settings beyond educational institutions (eg. workplaces, civil society, communities, families etc).

She coordinates, and teaches into:

Masters of Teaching

  • Professional Learning

Masters of Education (Learning and Leadership)

  • Launching Learning

Masters of Education (Adult Education)

  • Understanding Adult Education and Training 
  • Independent Study Project 1
  • Independent Study Project 2

She also teaches into the MTeach capstone subject:

  • Professional Vision in Practice 

Chapters

Rooney, D.L., Willey, K., Gardner, A.P., Boud, D.J., Reich, A.J. & Fitzgerald, T. 2015, 'Engineers' professional learning: through the lens of practice' in Williams, B., Figeiredo, J. & Trevelyan, J. (eds), Engineering practice in a global context: understanding the technical and the social, CRC Press/Balkema, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 265-280.
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Boud, D. & Rooney, D.L. 2015, 'What can higher education learn from the workplace?' in Dailey-Herbert, A. & Dennis, K. (eds), Transformative perspectives and processes in higher education, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 195-210.
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Abstract: This chapter examines how insights from workplace learning research might be used to problematize some common understandings of higher education practice and lead to new ones. It begins by outlining features of the changing higher education context that have implications for how we might think differently about traditional higher education. Following this it contrasts practices in higher education with several themes drawn from two decades of workplace learning research (e.g. learning as embedded, situated; social, and formed through practice). It focuses on specific higher education practices (both existing and possible) that have potential to meet new and different learning needs of the changing student population. Implications centre around four ideas. The first is that being a 'learner' is not as powerful as being a producer. The second is that the tasks students engage in should not be seen as isolated from the broader context they will be entering on graduation. The third idea is that assessment needs to be appropriated by learners, and finally, students must more actively construct their own learning.
Chappell, C.S., Scheeres, H.B., Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2009, 'Working out work: integrated development practices in organizations' in Field, J., Gallacher, J. & Ingram, R. (eds), Researching transitions in lifelong learning, Routledge, Abingdon, UK, pp. 175-188.
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Chappell, C., Scheeres, H., Solomon, N., Boud, D. & Rooney, D.L. 2009, 'Working out work: Integrated development practices in organisations' in Field, J., Gallacher, J. & Ingram, R. (eds), Researching Transitions in Lifelong Learning, Routledge, London, pp. 175-188.
Each person must expect and make ready for transitions, engaging in learning as a fundamental strategy for handling change. This is where lifelong learning steps in.
Solomon, N., Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2008, 'The In-between: Exposing Everyday Learning' in Hall, Murphy & Soler (eds), Pedagogy and Practice, Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 75-84.
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Conferences

Rooney, D.L., Reich, A.J., Willey, K., Gardner, A.P. & Boud, D.J. 2012, 'Site walks as a learning practice for professional engineers', Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference for the Australasian Association for Engineering Education - The Profession of Engineering Education: Advancing Teaching, Research and Careers, 23rd AAEE Conference, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 1-9.
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It is well recognised that changes in the contemporary world demand that professionals continuously learn. Often this continual professional learning takes the shape of formal courses, seminars and other obviously educational events. The starting point of this paper is an acknowledgement that people also learn in the day-to-day practices that constitute their work. Work can be understood as a bundle of practices that are typically shared by most people employed in that profession. For engineers, and experienced engineers in particular, an example might be attending design review meetings, toolbox talks and or carrying out site walks. In this paper we posit that these practices afford important opportunities for professional learning.
Rooney, D.L., Willey, K., Gardner, A.P., Boud, D.J., Reich, A.J. & Fitzgerald, T. 2012, 'Using practice theory to investigate professional engineers workplace learning', 2012 Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings - Soaring to New Heights in Engineering Education, 2012 Frontiers in Education Conference: Soaring to New Heights in Engineering Education, IEEE, Seattle, Washington, USA, pp. 1031-1036.
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This paper reports on the first phase of an Australian inter-disciplinary partnership study concerned with professional learning of experienced engineers. It is a theoretically motivated, qualitative paper that aims to produce detailed descriptions of professional learning that arise within professional engineering work. The paper uses practice theory to conceptualise professional learning. By using âpracticesâ as the units of analysis, professional learning is understood as an integral part of everyday work practices that is embodied, relational and material rather than an individual attribute. The paper concludes by suggesting that practice theory may provide organisations with an alternative perspective of workplace learning, inviting them to reconsider how professional learning is acknowledged, rewarded and fostered in organisations.
Rooney, D.L., Boud, D.J., Reich, A.J., Willey, K., Fitzgerald, T. & Gardner, A.P. 2012, 'Using practice theory to investigate professional engineers' workplace learning', Frontiers in Education Conference, IEEE, Oklahoma City, Seattle, pp. 1031-1036.
This paper reports on the first phase of an Australian inter-disciplinary partnership study concerned with professional learning of experienced engineers. It is a theoretically motivated, qualitative paper that aims to produce detailed descriptions of professional learning that arise within professional engineering work. The paper uses practice theory to conceptualise professional learning. By using `practices as the units of analysis, professional learning is understood as an integral part of everyday work practices that is embodied, relational and material rather than an individual attribute. The paper concludes by suggesting that practice theory may provide organisations with an alternative perspective of workplace learning, inviting them to reconsider how professional learning is acknowledged, rewarded and fostered in organisations
Rooney, D.L. & Boud, D.J. 2011, 'Learning generated through challenge and change in organisations', Proceedings, 7th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China,.
Rooney, D.L. & Clarke, M. 2011, 'About place: Australia's neighbourhood centres and learning', Proceedings, Adult Learning Australia, Melbourne, Victoria.
Rooney, D.L. 2010, 'Centres "Down Under": mapping Australia's neighbourhood centres', 40th Annual SCUTREA Conference, SCUTREA Conference, University of Warwick, University of Warwick, Coventry, pp. 1-8.
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This paper represents a first phase of an early career research project that is exploring the scope and nature of learning in neighbourhood centres across Australia. It takes as given that learning happens beyond educational institutions. A second phase will look more exclusively at learning in these sites, in order to conceptualise features and identify innovative and/or interesting practices. However, before that work can begin, it is first necessary to map the sector. This deceivingly simple task is the focus of this paper.
Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2010, 'The role of adult educators: more than the grin on the Cheshire Cat?', 40th Annual SCUTREA Conference, Annual SCUTREA Conference, 6-8 July 2010, University of Warwick, Coventry, University of Warwick, University of Warwick, Coventry, pp. 1-7.
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The point we explore in this paper, is how can we conceptualise our role in adult education when =the field` itself is so diverse? Moreover, it is =curious and curiouser to think about our role in =the field` before we can actually articulate what the field is? Is it like the grin on Lewis Carroll`s Cheshire cat, or do we still have a tangible practice to pursue?
Rooney, D.L. 2010, 'Centres Down Under', The Settlement Summit: Inclusion, Innovation, Impact, New York.
Rooney, D.L. & Boud, D.J. 2009, 'No name, no value: acknowledging the neglected others in lifelong learning in the workplace', Proceedings of 5th International Conference, Lifelong Learning Revisited, Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning, University of Stirling, United Kingdom, pp. 1-6.
Opportunities for expanding what is known about workplace learning can be missed when the focus of research remains on learners alone. Rather, accounts of learning at work need to acknowledge not only those who learn but who else may be implicated. Such accounts would require a wider lens that notices the work practices and relationships that contribute to learning, and in particular those involving the counterparties to those learning. We cannot talk about learning practices without also naming those who enact the practices. Hence, in this paper we intend `talking up the role of these others, or as others suggest `word (Richardson, 1994: 923) the practices of learning at work and those enacting them into existence. To do this requires looking beyond (or perhaps more accurately, amongst) the learners, as well as toward the workplace relationships and practices that provide opportunities for learning.
Rooney, D.L. 2009, 'Has the time come to count what counts?', 39th Annual SCUTREA Conference, Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults, SCUTREA, Cambridge, pp. 380-387.
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Like so many other western countries, increasing productivity and participation are central drivers of national reforms in Australia. Set against stories of a future of doom and gloom (led by an aging society) interventions are imagined that target education, training and work (National Reform Initiative Working Group, 2005). Few of these interventions are imagined without the support of some sort of research to frame the `problems, as well as the `solutions. What this means then is that research in adult education, training and work will continue to be in demand, at least for the foreseeable future. Moreover, with economic downturn on the horizon, along with likely rises in unemployment, demands for further research in adult education, training and work are not likely to diminish any time soon. In short, adult education researchers have responsibility to produce `really useful research that can work to shape these current, and future, interventions.
Rooney, D.L. & Boud, D.J. 2008, 'Lifelong teaching: should 'the teacher' scare adult educators?', Proceedings of the 36th Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), SCUTREA 2008 38th Annual Connference: Whither adult education in the learning paradigm?, The University Copy Shop, University of Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh, pp. 460-467.
Solomon, N., Rooney, D.L. & Boud, D.J. 2008, 'Talking up talk at work', SCUTREA 2008 Proceedings, SCUTREA 2008 38th Annual Connference: Whither adult education in the learning paradigm?, The Edinburgh Copy Shop, University of Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh, pp. 476-483.
In tune with lifelong learning discourses, adult learning is now understood to be anywhere and everywhere in classrooms, in workplaces, in community settings and indeed in everyday life. This distribution of learning sites is accompanied by changing understandings of the relationship of formal and informal learning and of the role of adult education and adult educators. These changes in turn are reshaping learning theories and practices together with redirecting the research focus of adult educators. We suggest that this redirection can be a useful one. By researching learning across contexts, researchers are better able to engage with various kinds of pedagogic practices and therefore can contribute better to the debates and critiques of the changing relationship between education, training and learning.
Rooney, D.L. & Scheeres, H.B. 2008, 'An enterprising phoenix: learning through challenge and excitement in times of change', International Conference on Organizational Learning, Knowledge and capabilities, Danish School of Education, University of Aarhus, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Rooney, D.L. 2007, 'Bridges: linking the work of NSW neighbourhood centres to education', Proceedings of the 37th Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), SCUTREA, SCUTREA, School of Education, The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, pp. 372-379.
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Price, O., Rooney, D.L., Scheeres, H.B. & Boud, D.J. 2007, 'That's (not) my job: inventing and developing work practices in an adult education organisation', Proceedings of 37th Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), SCUTREA, Belfast, Northern Ireland, pp. 388-395.
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This paper draws empirical data to explore how workers in one organization are 'inventing' and continue to develop what constitutes their work, ie making up their jobs. Doing so troubles accounts of common work-practices that pre-suppose stable organizational contexts, pre-designed jobs and agent- less workers.
Chappell, C.S., Boud, D.J., Scheeres, H.B. & Rooney, D.L. 2007, 'Working Out work: Integrated Development Practices in Organisations', The times they are a-changin' researching transitions in lifelong learning, The times they are a-changin' researching transitions in lifelong learning, CRLL, Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning University of Stirling Scotland, pp. 1-7.
The paper reports on the initial findings of the ARC project Beyond Training & Learning Integrated Development Projects in Organisations
Rooney, D.L., Rhodes, C.H. & Boud, D.J. 2007, 'Performing organization: an adult education college as drag king', Proceedings of the 37th Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), SCUTREA, SCUTREA, Belfast, Northern Ireland, pp. 380-387.
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Rooney, D.L. & Morris, R. 2007, 'Building communities, bridging communitites: adult learning, social capital and neighbourhood centres', Proceedings, Midwest research to Practice Conference for Adult, Continuing, Community, and Extension Education: Building communities with sustainability and social capital, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA, pp. 1-6.
Rooney, D.L. & Boud, D.J. 2006, 'Just another meeting: exploring inter/alia cultural tensions of researching everyday learning at work', Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), Inter-Cultural perspectives on research into adult learning: a global dialogue, SCUTREA, Leeds, UK, pp. 343-349.
Rooney, D.L. 2006, 'Cat's cradle: a promising (pagan) research game', Proceedings of the 36th Annual standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), Inter-Cultural Perspectives on research into adult learning: a global dialogue, SCUTREA, Leeds UK, pp. 336-342.
Solomon, N., Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2003, 'Room to move: Spaces for learning', Enriching Learning Cultures (Vol 3), Annual International Conference on Post-compulsory Education and Training, Centre for Learning Research Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia, pp. 116-123.
Leontios, M., Rooney, D.L., Boud, D.J. & Harman, K. 2003, 'Everyday learning at work: communities of practice in TAFE', The changing face of VET, The changing face of VET, AVETRA, Australian Technology Park, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-7.
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Rooney, D.L. 2003, 'Negotiating the text: learning at work', Proceedings of 3rd International Conference on Rsearching Work and Learning, 3rd International Conference on Rsearching Work and Learning, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finalnd, pp. 213-221.
Solomon, N., Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2003, 'Room to move: spaces for learning', 11th Annual International Conference of Post-Compulsory Education and Training, 11th Annual International Conference of Post-Compulsory Education and Training, Queensland University, Gold Coast, Queensland.

Journal articles

Rooney, D.L. 2017, '(Semi)Public Places, practices and pedagogy', Pedagogy Culture and Society.
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Rather than being banal and uninteresting, Western women' s public toilets may be seen as educational spaces. While prolific in number and usage, they have typically escaped research attention. This paper argues that the common inclusion of toilet texts in these places renders them not only interesting but also worthy of inclusion in accounts of public pedagogies. The paper draws attention to the pedagogical voices that occupy the ostensible privacy of places like toilets. It does so by discussing a collection of toilet texts using the entangled concepts of place, practice and pedagogy. Overall, the paper demonstrates how the texts act as proxy for absent pedagogues who seek to disseminate particular knowledges and/or promote specific cultural practices, and in doing so it repositions women' s (semi)public toilets as richly pedagogical.
Rooney, D. 2017, '(Semi)Public Places, Practices and Pedagogy', Pedagogy Culture and Society.
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Rather than being banal and uninteresting, Western women's public toilets may be seen as educational spaces. While prolific in number and usage, they have typically escaped research attention. This paper argues that the common inclusion of toilet texts in these places renders them not only interesting but also worthy of inclusion in accounts of public pedagogies. The paper draws attention to the pedagogical voices that occupy the ostensible privacy of places like toilets. It does so by discussing a collection of toilet texts using the entangled concepts of place, practice and pedagogy. Overall, the paper demonstrates how the texts act as proxy for absent pedagogues who seek to disseminate particular knowledges and/or promote specific cultural practices, and in doing so it repositions women's (semi)public toilets as richly pedagogical.
Hopwood, N., Rooney, D., Boud, D. & Kelly, M. 2016, 'Simulation in Higher Education: A sociomaterial view', EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 165-178.
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Rooney, D.L., Manidis, M. & Scheeres, H. 2016, 'Making spaces for consuming practices', Vocations and Learning, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 167-184.
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This empirically driven paper is about workplace learning with specific focus on the 'work' of consuming practices. By consuming we refer to the eating, and the drinking, and (at times) to the smoking that workers, in most organisations, do on a daily basis. Indeed, it is the quotidian nature of consuming, coupled with its absence from workplace learning research that make them noteworthy practices to explore. In using the term practice we draw on the recent tranche of practice based theorisations: notably Schatzki (1996, Organization Studies, 26(3), 465-484, 2005, Organization Studies, 27(12), 1863-1873, 2006) and Gherardi (Human Relations, 54(1), 131-139, 2001, 2006, Learning Organization, 16(5), 352-359, 2009). The paper frames consuming practices as 'dispersed' (general) practices and, illustrated through empirical data from multiple projects, we progressively outline how these contribute to the learning of 'integrative' (specialized work) practices. Our overall aim is to (re)position consuming practices from prosaic, to having much relevance for research on workplace learning.
Rooney, D.L., Manidis, M. & Scheeres, H. 2016, 'Making spaces for consuming practices', Vocations and Learning.
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This empirically driven paper is about workplace learning with specific focus on the 'work' of consuming practices. By consuming we refer to the eating, and the drinking, and (at times) to the smoking that workers, in most organisations, do on a daily basis. Indeed, it is the quotidian nature of consuming, coupled with its absence from workplace learning research that make them noteworthy practices to explore. In using the term practice we draw on the recent tranche of practice based theorisations: notably Schatzki (1996, Organization Studies, 26(3), 465-484, 2005, Organization Studies, 27(12), 1863-1873, 2006) and Gherardi (Human Relations, 54(1), 131-139, 2001, 2006, Learning Organization, 16(5), 352-359, 2009). The paper frames consuming practices as 'dispersed' (general) practices and, illustrated through empirical data from multiple projects, we progressively outline how these contribute to the learning of 'integrative' (specialized work) practices. Our overall aim is to (re)position consuming practices from prosaic, to having much relevance for research on workplace learning.
Kelly, M., Hopwood, N., Rooney, D. & Boud, D. 2016, 'Enhancing students' learning through simulation: dealing with diverse, large cohorts', Clinical Simulation in Nursing, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 171-176.
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As the field of health care simulation matures, new questions about appropriate pedagogy are emerging which present challenges to research and practices. This has implications for how we investigate and deliver effective simulations, how we conceive effectiveness, and how we make decisions about investment in simulation infrastructure. In this article, we explore two linked challenges that speak to these wider concerns: student diversity and large cohorts. We frame these within contemporary simulation practices and offer recommendations for research and practice that will account for students' varying cultural expectations about learning and clinical practice in the Australian context.
Rooney, D.L., Reich, A.J., Boud, D.J., Willey, K., Gardner, A.P. & Fitzgerald, T. 2015, 'Reimagining site-walks: sites for rich learning', Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 19-30.
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This paper presents the preliminary results of a multi-phased qualitative investigation of continuing professional learning. The study focused on the identification of common engineering practices that contribute to learning. This paper examines a particular practice, that of the site-walk. It draws on practice theory, an emerging set of conceptual resources used in workplace learning research. Data was elicited via qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups and site visits with experienced engineers employed in a large Australian engineering company. It was analysed using the lens of practice theory. The findings suggest that site-walks, while an everyday practice for engineers, are also highly learning-rich. This understanding has implications for continual professional learning, and for educators of novice engineers.
Reich, A., Rooney, D.L., Gardner, A., Willey, K., Boud, D. & Fitzgerald, T. 2015, 'Engineers' professional learning: a practice-theory perspective', European Journal of Engineering Education.
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Reich, A., Rooney, D. & Boud, D. 2015, 'Dilemmas in continuing professional learning: learning inscribed in frameworks or elicited from practice', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 131-141.
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This paper explores a dilemma in continuing professional learning: the way learning is typically inscribed in continuing professional education (CPE) frameworks differs from that elicited from practice. It examines these differences in relation to both different underlying assumptions about learning and varying epistemological perspectives as well as the different purposes of CPE frameworks of professional bodies and organisations. It suggests that the dominant adoption of narrower conceptions of learning in professional organisations' frameworks ignores understandings about work and learning emerging from recent research in the field of workplace learning and focuses on a view that may privilege formal provision. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research directions in developing alternative continuing professional learning frameworks.
Rooney, D.L., Hopwood, N., Boud, D. & Kelly, M. 2015, 'The Role of Simulation in Pedagogies of Higher Education for the Health Professions: Through a Practice-Based Lens', Vocations and Learning.
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The preparation of future professionals for practice is a key focus of higher education institutions. Among a range of approaches is the use of simulation peda- gogies. While simulation is often justified as a direct bridge between higher education and professional practice, this paper questions this easy assumption. It develops a conceptually driven argument to cast new light on simulation and its unarticulated potential in professional formation. The argument unfolds in, and is illustrated via, three accounts of a simulation event in an Australian undergraduate nursing program. This begins with a familiar approach, moves to one that problematizes this through a focus on disruption, culminating in a third that draws on socio-material theorisations. Here, simulation is conceived as emergent, challenging stable notions of fidelity, common in simulation literature. New possibilities of simulation in the production of agile practitioners and learners in practice are surfaced. This paper extends and enriches thinking by providing distinctive new ways of understanding simulation and the relationship it affords between education and professional practice, and by illuminating the untapped potential of simulation for producing agile practitioners.
Reich, A., Rooney, D., Gardner, A., Willey, K., Boud, D. & Fitzgerald, T. 2015, 'Engineers' professional learning: a practice-theory perspective', European Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 366-379.
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© 2014 SEFI. With the increasing challenges facing professional engineers working in more complex, global and interdisciplinary contexts, different approaches to understanding how engineers practice and learn are necessary. This paper draws on recent research in the social sciences from the field of workplace learning, to suggest that a practice-theory perspective on engineers' professional learning is fruitful. It shifts the focus from the attributes of the individual learner (knowledge, skills and attitudes) to the attributes of the practice (interactions, materiality, opportunities and challenges). Learning is thus more than the technical acquisition and transfer of knowledge, but a complex bundle of activities, that is, social, material, embodied and emerging. The paper is illustrated with examples from a research study of the learning of experienced engineers in the construction industry to demonstrate common practices – site walks and design review meetings – in which learning takes place.
Rooney, D.L. 2011, 'Centres 'Down Under': mapping Australia's neighbourhood centres and learning', Australian Journal of Adult Learning, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 203-225.
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The overarching aim of this paper is to 'talk up' learning in the Australian neighbourhood centre sector, realising this aim is premised on a need to understand neighbourhood centres themselves. Hence, the paper tentatively offers a mapping of the sector by first asking: 'What is a neighbourhood centre?'. Next, the paper provides an introductory scoping of learning in centres in an effort to invite further consideration. Two important conclusions are made. The first is that centres' capacity for continual re-shaping, while retaining some very particular values, marks them in ways that differ from organisations for which adult education is the primary purpose. The second is that the range of learning possibilities in centres is far-reaching, and makes significant and valuable contributions to individuals and communities, and ultimately to the Australian nation.
Scheeres, H.B., Solomon, N., Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2010, 'When is it OK to learn at work? The learning work of organisational practices', Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 22, no. 1-2, pp. 13-26.
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The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of "learning" through what we have termed "integrated development practices". These are common organisational practices that both enhance organisational effectiveness and contribute to organisational and employee learning. <B>Design/methodology/approach</B> - The paper analyses the ways in which learning and being a learner were talked about and enacted with regard to one of the integrated development practices identified in a study of four different organisations - safety practices, and how learning and being a learner regarding safety were legitimate in one of the organisations. Data are drawn from semi-structured interviews with members of a variety of workgroups in one major division of the organisation. Findings - Interviewees' responses reflected that learning was fully embedded as an accepted part of a necessary function of the organisation. This use of a learning discourse is discussed in the light of findings from an earlier study on informal learning at work that suggested that learning and the identity of being a learner were sometimes resisted in the everyday culture of work.Originality/value - Using the theorisations of practice of Schatzki and the lifelong education framework of Delors the paper discusses the implications of these findings to examine when it is acceptable to articulate learning as part of work and be identified as a learner at work.
Rooney, D.L., Rhodes, C.H. & Boud, D.J. 2010, 'A community college's performance of 'organisation': Its a drag!', Studies in the Education of Adults, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 18-33.
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Noting the ever-increasing encroachment of discourses and practices from the private sector on public education providers, this paper argues that such organizations exist within competing sets of differences that seek to define and fix the meaning of 'education' and 'business'. We report on fieldwork conducted in an adult education college in Sydney. In the Australian context these colleges are referred to as community colleges and their history is one based in a strong liberal tradition. Utilising Judith Butler's idea of 'drag' we consider the effects of changing modes of governance in the college with specific reference to the stories told to us about it. Our discussion suggests that the organisation was caught between identifying itself with a masculinised discourse of business and a discourse of community cast as its feminised other. In navigating between these, the college was seen to perform as a 'drag king' an organisation performing the masculine but in so doing, undoing its gendered status. This leads us to suggest that the incorporation of business and market-based discourse into the management of community education is something that is actively resisted and undermined through such forms of gendered transgression. We conclude by proposing that this organization's capacity to perform drag is a contributing factor to its overall success, and particularly in an economic climate where many not-for-profit organisations are floundering.
Boud, D.J., Rooney, D.L. & Solomon, N. 2009, 'Talking up learning at work: cautionary tales in co-opting everyday learning', International Journal of Lifelong Education, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 323-334.
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Learning in workplaces is always mediated through talk. It is tempting for management to seek to utilise everyday talk as part of learning and therefore enhance productivity. This paper examines the responses of workers to interventions that aim to formalise informal conversations at work as part of an explicit workplace learning strategy. It draws on interviews with managers and workers in a public sector organisation to examine their experience of these practices. The paper raises questions about whether interventions in the name of fostering informal learning may well be hindering what they seek to promote.
Rooney, D.L. & Solomon, N. 2006, 'Consuming metaphors: stimulating questions for everyday learning', Studies in the Education of Adults, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 64-73.
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Solomon, N., Boud, D.J. & Rooney, D.L. 2006, 'The in-between: exposing everyday learning at work', International Journal of Lifelong Learning, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 3-15.
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Rooney, D.L. 2004, 'Cinderella has balls? Other sites for adult community education', Australian Journal of Adult Learning, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 143-157.
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