Anagnostopoulou, K (2014) Learning in third space : the nature of non-formal learning opportunities afforded to e-learning leaders in the workplace. PhD thesis, UCL, Institute of Education.

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Institutional initiatives set up to meet the demands of a fast changing higher education (HE) landscape do not comfortably sit within a single academic or administrative department but instead require blended professionals, with a mixed portfolio of work, to operate in third space – between the administrative and academic domains of institutions (Whitchurch, 2008). Heads of e-Learning (HeLs) in UK HE institutions are one such group of professionals who lead the enhancement of learning and teaching through the use of technology. However, one must question how HeLs continue to learn and develop in their roles as transformational leaders to meet the continuous demands posed by the ever-changing HE environment and the evolution of technology. This research explored the affordances of third space as a learning environment, questioned how learning and leadership development take place through non-formal workplace experiences, and sought to relate these back to HeLs’ perceived developmental needs. The concept of liminality (van Gennep, 1960; Turner, 1969) was employed as a theoretical framework, learning was conceptualised as socially constructed identity formation and leadership development was deemed to be a result of learning. A mixed methodological approach was employed and a unique analytical framework shed light on data derived from nine in-depth interviews. Third space environments were found to be ‘expansive’ (Evans et al., 2006), with qualities which afforded transformational learning experiences that permanently altered the ways in which one understands the world around them. Liminal conditions in third space environments provided a means of reconciling a leader’s espoused theories and their theories-in-use, whilst leadership development was linked to learner readiness and the development of credibility. Underpinned by participatory practices, the theory of ‘possible selves’ (Ibarra, 2004) offered a means of understanding transformational learning and development in third space, and brought the concept of leadership closer to active citizenship.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

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Keywords: mixed methods, interviews, questionnaires and surveys, e-learning, leadership development, work based learning, informal learning, third space, liminality, transformational learning, identity
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2016 13:06
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2016 13:06
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