Postmodern doubts and ‘truths’ about training

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This paper asks whether postmodernism helps decipher the multiple realities of industry trainers (or ‘learning coaches’ as some would now prefer). If it does, how might this inform their practices, as the drive to legitimise learning in the workplace has brought new roles and purposes to industry training. What constitutes valid knowledge is now severely contested making any overriding definition of ‘learning’ very dubious. Despite this, a predominant view of learning in the workplace has emerged, particularly throughout most OECD nations. This view holds that the different realities are actually unitary, and explainable in the form of competency based standards, uniform syllabi and relatively shallow beliefs about what learning is, how it should be managed and indeed, measured. Such a view of reality is accompanied by image-making interventions into corporate ‘cultures’, ‘performance appraisal’ systems, and never ending ethical dilemmas for trainers. It is precisely trainers' emersion in such conditions of post modernity which is central to this exposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-142
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Continuing Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


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