Publication Details

Smith, L. 2006, 'Learning across communities of practice: how postgraduate students cope with returning to higher education in an international setting', in A. Bunker & I. Vardi (eds), Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2006 International Conference, HERDSA Publications, Milperra, NSW, pp. 340-346.


This paper is an exploratory case study into the way postgraduate students cope with the transition from the workplace to university in an international environment. It looks at how students move successfully between these two communities of practice, and the kind of learning that is involved in this process. As well as personal motivation, key factors found in boundary-crossing between the communities are multi-membership of communities and the use of identity as a bridge. Learning is found to involve a collateral transfer, or reconstruction, of knowledge in both directions. The study is intended to inform the development of a learning support program to help postgraduate students improve their learning process.