Professional practice, learning, and continuing education: An integrated perspective

Ronald M. Cervero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The popular wisdom among professionals is that the knowledge they acquire from practice is far more useful than what they acquire from more formal types of education. This observation contradicts the dominant viewpoint in society and the professional education establishment that has given legitimacy to knowledge that is formal, abstract and general while devaluing knowledge that is local, specific and based in practice. This viewpoint has strongly influenced continuing education, which has followed the model set at the preservice level in focusing on the transmission of formal, abstract knowledge. In this paper, I describe and provide evidence for three propositions that build on the importance of knowledge gained from practice. These are: (1) the goal of professional practice is wise action; (2) knowledge acquired from practice is necessary to achieve this goal; and (3) a model of learning from practice should become the centrepiece of systems of continuing education for the professions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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