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GLLL601 Adult Learning: Perspectives and Contexts

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is the third unit in the Master of Global Learning and Leadership. This unit is concerned with education and work in a globalising economy that is unevenly knowledge-based. It addresses the implications of this change for lifelong learning, skill formation, workplace learning, and adult education. The content is structured around two key themes, the changing discourse on work and learning and workplace learning. Central topics here are organisational learning, the learning organisation and the debate on the benefits and disadvantages of informal workplace learning.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - integrate and critically review theoretical knowledge to demonstrate advanced knowledge of global change and implications for learning and leadership in professional settings (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - critically analyse and evaluate the effects of knowledge-based societies and different contexts on learning and leadership (GA1, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - integrate and synthesise online commentaries to identify challenges and strategies that can facilitate learning and leadership in different contexts (GA6, GA8)

LO4 - show mastery of theoretical knowledge by investigating and integrating relevant discipline knowledge to show implications and how it can be applied in professional practice (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


This unit is concerned with the changing relationship between the economy, workplace learning, and adult education. The course is structured around a number of key themes:

  • skill formation in the new economy;
  • changing labour markets and workplaces;
  • the “new economy” and the danger of exclusion and growing inequalities;
  • transition from school to work;
  • national qualification frameworks
  • workplace learning
  • skill formation and 'alternation' of modes and places of learning; and
  • policy options and choices. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

All learning materials and activities will take place online. Participating fully in this unit involves completing the required readings, signing on to the course website frequently (several times per week), engaging in discussions and other group exercises, and completing assignments by the deadlines provided in the unit outlines. It is important for students to not only log into to the course frequently, but also to respond to the issues being discussed, to raise questions, and to dialogue with fellow students and instructors

This is a cohort based program. This means that all those admitted to the program through all partner universities will be taking units together and completing the requirements more or less at the same time.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Reading review

Review research papers, summarise understandings and interpretations and post comments, questions or observations to your tutorial group to clarify your interpretation of a) employability, generic skills and competency based education, and b) national qualification schemes 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Small group position paper

In your cross-national group, prepare a position paper that conveys:

1.    The members’ interpretations and analysis of employability, generic skills, competency based education and/or national education frameworks and the impact of these for national development and social and economic inequalities.

Use the different interpretations in the group to discuss and identify strategies that might strengthen national development and address present economic and social inequalities.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: “Expert” report

Prepare an argued commentary based on research and cross-national comparison as if you were an expert on work and learning who has been invited by a newly established National Commission on Key Future of Work and Learning in your country (or if you so choose another country, please note which) to submit a report on Key Future Directions for Workplace Learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA5, GA6

Assessment Task 4: Use commentaries written by yourself and peers on readings to investigate the way words and meanings vary between countries and the work that is required to translate meaning between different forms of English. 



GA1,GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Malloch, M., Cairns, L., Evans, K., & O’Connor, B.N. (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Workplace Learning. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Taylor, E.W. (2012) The international handbook of workplace learning: Theory, research, practice and futures. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

OECD. (2013) Skilled for Life. OECD findings from the survey of adult skills. Paris, OECD Publishing.

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