From Education to Training: The Quiet Exodus

Year: 1990

Author: Schaafsma, Hank

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores the impact of the expansion of training and consultancy services to industry on the tertiary teaching of adults. The study was conducted within the Faculty of Adult Education, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) this year. The rate of change and its impact on staff in this Faculty is perhaps best exemplified in the growth of an entrepreneurial unit, 'Training and Development Services'. This change is examined here from the perspective of the academic staff and the perceived impact on teaching and learning. The research question that emerged during the past two years of amalgamation change was posed as follows : 'What changes have you perceived in the past two years to be significantly affecting the way you work here?' As an action researcher, the author wished to examine to what extent traditional values about teaching and learning were shifting from an 'educational' to a 'training' orientation . The assumption was made that this was a complex process that depended upon external as well as internal factors. However, the key to this successful change appeared to lie in the internal networks of those staff who chose to become involved with training and development-type activities. The perceived shift in emphasis to a 'market orientation' in training, (as well as consultancy and research) at the tertiary level has become the reflexive focus for this action research study. The author, as a participant-observer, perceives himself part of the quiet exodus from 'educational' to 'training' activities that may also be taking place in other educational institutions. What this means in terms of the changing practices of adult educators is a concern shared by many staff in this Faculty. What they have to say represent the interim findings for this case study.