Professor Stephen BILLETT

Professor of Adult and Vocational Education  
School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, Australia

Topic: Curriculum and Pedagogy

Date: 17 June 2017

Time: 14:45 - 15:15


As the nature of occupations and requirements for work are constantly transforming, student needs and aspirations undergo corresponding changes, making it important to consider and potentially reform Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) curriculum, pedagogy and practices. This includes a reconsideration of the aims of VPET provision, the type, importance and range of experiences being afforded students (i.e., curriculum practices) and how these experiences can be enriched to optimise learning (i.e., pedagogic practices). One clear point of departure is that the learning experiences of VPET students cannot be restricted to activities within vocational education institutions or those delivered through direct teaching. This change means that a curriculum can no longer be considered something that is enacted solely through educational institutions, but also through students’ experiences in work settings, through project activities and through tasks enacted within their homes and communities. Similarly, pedagogic practices should now consider how student learning can be promoted through interactions with a range of informed sources, artefacts and other students. Taking up some of these challenges, this presentation first proposes emerging educational purposes for VPET. Then, drawing upon studies from within tertiary educational institutions and workplaces, it considers how to align curriculum and pedagogic practices with those purposes. The aim is to engage participants in the development of curriculum and pedagogic practices that are fresher, broader and more inclusive.


Stephen Billett is Professor of Adult and Vocational Education in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia and also an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. He has worked as a vocational educator, educational administrator, teacher educator, professional development practitioner and policy developer in the Australian vocational education system and as a teacher and researcher at Griffith University.

Since 1992, he has researched learning through and for work and has published widely in fields of learning of occupations, workplace learning, work and conceptual accounts of learning for vocational purposes. His sole authored books include Learning through work: Strategies for effective practice (Allen and Unwin 2001); Work, change and workers (Springer 2006) Vocational Education (Springer 2011) and Mimetic learning at Work (2014) and Integrating Practice-based Learning in Higher Education Programs (Springer 2015).

His edited books include Work, Subjectivity and Learning (Springer, 2006) Emerging Perspectives of Work and Learning (Sense 2008), Learning through practice (Springer 2010), Promoting professional learning (Springer 2011), Experiences of school transitions (Springer 2012), Promoting, assessing, recognizing and certifying Lifelong Learning (Springer 2014) and Francophone conceptions of Learning through practice (Springer 2015). He is the founding and Editor in Chief of Vocations and learning: Studies in vocational and professional education (Springer) and lead editor of the book series Professional and practice-based learning (Springer) the International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning (2014) with colleagues from Germany.

Professor Billett was a Fulbright Professional Scholar in 1999, awarded a 2009-2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council National Teaching Fellowship that identified principles and practices to effectively integrate learning experiences in practice and academic settings. In June 2011, he commenced a four-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship on learning through practice, which aims to develop a curriculum and pedagogy of practice. He has recently secured an Office of Learning and Teaching Development Grant examining students’ post-practicum experiences (2015-2018).

In August 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Jyvasksla University (Finland) for his contributions to educational science and elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia in 2015.