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Creating the reasonable adventurer: the co‐evolution of student and learning environment

Colin Jones (University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 22 May 2007



This paper seeks to address the issue of how graduate skills are developed. The focus is not on which skills, but rather what type of learning environments are required within higher education to support the development of skills valued and demanded by SMEs within Australia.


This paper takes a step back to consider the underlying issue of how an individual student's habits of thought are altered. In doing so, the past works of Morgan, Dewey, Whitehead, and Tyler are synthesized with the modern work of Baxter Magolda, Heath, and Biggs.


It is argued that that without the development of a student‐centred learning environment, most graduates will not develop the types of skills demanded by SMEs in a meaningful way. The failure to treat knowledge and skills as equal drivers of curriculum design will result in an imbalance that relegates skill development to a secondary learning outcome.

Practical implications

By removing the distraction of what skills should be developed, a clearer focus is possible regarding how educators should assist students to develop a broad array of generic graduate skills. From this perspective, skills can be viewed as an essential element of the educational process, rather than a new element that must be squeezed in between content.


This paper extends recent discussion of skills development through the use of an evolutionary perspective. Viewed as a process of creating social change, education becomes increasingly connected to a world that lies beyond institutional boundaries, thus promoting the notion of developing graduates for the world that awaits them.



Jones, C. (2007), "Creating the reasonable adventurer: the co‐evolution of student and learning environment", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 228-240.



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