In this talk, Monika Nerland discusses how contemporary changes in knowledge cultures and practices alter conditions for student learning in higher education, and what this may imply for research on student learning. Drawing on perspectives from social studies of knowledge she discusses how the general emphasis on science in society brings an increased research orientation also in professional programs, and brings with it a focus not only on science-based knowledge but also on the investigative processes through which knowledge is produced and validated. Advanced technologies allow knowledge to circulate quickly in information networks, and on its way it provides arenas for engagement as well as resources for community formation. Environments for learning become extended, and comprise a multitude of sites and practices which may co-exist and interact in complex ways. To understand how students of today become enrolled in expert cultures and develop expertise is thus an important topic for research. Nerland will discuss how the relationship of knowledge cultures to student learning has been addressed in research and, by using examples from research projects at the University of Oslo, she considers how analytical perspectives and resources developed within social studies of science can be employed to supplement existing research on student learning.
Monika Nerland is Professor in the Department of Educational Research, University of Oslo, Norway, and currently a Visiting Scholar at the CSHE. Her research focuses on knowledge and learning in higher education and professional work. A special interest is how knowledge cultures influence learning and mechanisms for enrolment in expert cultures. She has recently been the leader for a larger comparative research project which studied knowledge cultures and learning in teaching, nursing, accountancy and computer engineering. She is about to start a new project which will examine how students in three advanced professional programs in higher education (law, engineering, and a five-year, university-based teacher education) become enrolled in their respective expert cultures by engaging in core epistemic practices during education. More information about her research activities and publications is available here: http://www.uv.uio.no/pfi/english/people/aca/monikn/index.html