Professional Education in the United States: Experiential Learning, Issues, and Prospects

Professional Education in the United States: Experiential Learning, Issues, and Prospects

Professional Education in the United States: Experiential Learning, Issues, and Prospects

Professional Education in the United States: Experiential Learning, Issues, and Prospects

Synopsis

Believing that the primary purpose of professional education is to prepare practitioners, the authors consider variables that affect professional practice. Emphasis is on the key role and techniques of experiential education for effective transfer of learning to practice in medicine, law, social work, and management. Other variables that impact cost and quality of services include cost and length of professional education; specialization, selection, and promotion of faculty; role of research; use of paraprofessionals; and assessment of professioal education.

Excerpt

This volume consists of discussion, analysis, and recommendations for improving the quality of education for the service professions. Nathan Glazer, quoted in Schon (1992), has distinguished between professions that have "a fixed content of professional knowledge . . . [such as] . . . medicine, law, and business" and those, such as education and social work, without "a fixed and unambiguous end in a fixed institutional setting." We do not believe this is, for educational purposes, a useful distinction. We distinguish between research and service professions. These considerations tend to make us focus on conflict between research and teaching in allocation of priorities and on the use of natural experiential education. We hold that service and research professions require different kinds of education.

There have been a number of studies of professional education for these professions in the past fifty years. However, in no case has a study led to significant changes in educational objectives or approach. The professions themselves have come under increasing attack and scrutiny during this period. We present a new analysis of the variables that influence educational effectiveness and link professional education and services.

The discussion and analysis are directed primarily to policy makers concerned with the effectiveness and cost of professional education and professional services. Because resolution of the issues have significant consequences for the entire population, the materials presented are of value to public policy makers and beyond them to the public that pays for the education and services. The effect and importance of nature and costs of . . .

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