Core Activity 5.2: Professions and professional values

This is an article by Neal and Morgan (2000) in the European Sociological Review, arguing that occupations become recognised as professions in different ways. The writers compare the development of a number of professions in the UK and Germany. Although this piece is written for an audience of sociologists and includes a methodological discussion of research in this field with quite a lot of subject-specific terminology, the basic ideas are not difficult to follow and provide food for thought about how occupational practitioners in general might progress towards professional status. Read through the article for the main ideas and write a short response (maximum 300 words), suitable for posting to your tutor group forum, saying whether you think this kind of study has anything to contribute to the professionalisation of elearning practitioners.

Neal & Morgan (2000) point out the opposing way that professionalization occured in the UK and Germany . In the UK – bottom up through spontaneous activities at the ‘occupational lelvel to secure professional status.’ In Germany this was ‘top down’ where the state has ‘played an active interventionist role in the inititiation and administration of professions’. This shows the different role of the state in these two countries.

The authors mention (pg11) how for professional status, professional institutions promote professionalism through regulations and training (similar to my regular ‘obligatory’ teacher training…continuous professional development CPD). Also, they say that the daily work related activities and discourses of members will effect the profile of that profession.

‘more likely that Eurpoean legislation will lead to closer government regulation of the professions throughout the EU.’pg22

My job as an elearning support teacher sounds somewhat as related to an elearning professional role…but is this so? my role is somewhat volatile where although colleagues and myself have teaching backgrounds (and therefore professional status), we are continuously using/have to do with technologies, the job is variable where we are creating our way forward with no clear cut paramiters.


Definition of profession ‘those knowledge-based occupations which were normally organized in the form of private practice in the United Kongdom at the beginning of the twentieth century'(Wilensky in Neal and Morgan, 2000).

Read the article by Warrior (from the resources section below) and use her thoughts on education as a profession to help you in framing your own thoughts with regard to elearning. Write your own preliminary and brief definitions of ‘profession’, ‘elearning’ and ‘elearning professional’ based on your reading, and post them to your blog or tutor group forum.

‘profession’ – A job to which the individual is dedicated… quality which meets certain standards. Such quality is kept through time through regular training.

‘elearning’ – briefly it may defined as the use of information technology for any learning related activity.

‘elearning professional’ – May take various forms; may include the designer, developer or implementor of elearning initiatives. As for other professions, neeps to keep up-to-date with related matters.

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