The training of university lifelong learning professionals as researchers

Geoff Chivers (Loughborough University, Business School, Loughborough, UK)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Publication date: 1 June 2006



The purpose of this paper is to determine an effective approach to developing university vocational lifelong learning (VLL) professionals as researchers.


Two quite different approaches to developing VLL professionals as researchers were piloted, one involving face‐to‐face training and the other distance learning. These approaches were evaluated by the VLL professionals who underwent the training, and the organisers of the training. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed in the evaluation.


Evaluation of the two development methods revealed that the fact‐to‐face method was more successful due to its greater impact in the affective domain of learning, although some VLL professionals are able to develop through distance learning with close tutor support via electronic communication. Overall, the evaluation findings indicate that a combination of face‐to‐face and distance learning methods is likely to prove most effective.

Research limitations/implications

The pilot national research study involved small numbers of trainees across the UK. The training may be more effectively carried out at an institutional level.

Practical implications

VLL professionals in higher education are increasingly called upon to conduct and to manage research. There are many calls on their time, and this research project has demonstrated an effective approach to their training in VLL research within a very limited time period.


No methods for developing university VLL professionals as researchers have previously been piloted or evaluated. The research demonstrates the effectiveness of a training method combining face‐to‐face and distance learning.



Chivers, G. (2006), "The training of university lifelong learning professionals as researchers", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 330-348.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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