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Practice-based learning and innovation in nursing homes

Cecilie Anvik (Nord Universitetet, Bodø, Norway)
Janikke Solstad Vedeler (Nordland Research Institute, Bodø, Norway)
Charlotte Wegener (Department of Communication, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Åshild Slettebø (University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway)
Atle Ødegård (Molde University College, Molde, Norway and University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 24 January 2020

Issue publication date: 7 February 2020




This paper aims to investigate the conditions under which learning and innovation occur within nursing homes by focusing on how the dynamics of the distribution and transformation of ideas and knowledge may be viewed as a prerequisite for innovation in both formal, planned learning situations and informal, everyday practices.


Data was produced via fieldwork, which included participant observations, conversations and research interviews with staff and managers at a Norwegian nursing home. The paper is inspired by situated learning theories and communities of practice, as the social context emerges as the site where learning and innovation are cultivated.


The nursing home sustains learning at the centre of its enterprise through managers’ and staff’s participation in planned learning situations and thereby highlights a focus on learning in their everyday practices. The conditions for the interplay between planned learning situations and everyday learning workplace practices are identified as the effort to create a joint enterprise and reflexive practices.

Social implications

The Global North is ageing. Consequently, there is an increasing need for facilities and adequately trained professionals to support an ageing population. Addressing these challenges will require an increased focus on developing supportive learning environments and furthering our knowledge about the interconnections between learning processes and innovation.


This paper contributes knowledge regarding nursing homes as professionally exciting places to work alongside conditions that allow for learning and innovation to be cultivated and thereby increase the quality of elderly healthcare services provided.



Anvik, C., Vedeler, J.S., Wegener, C., Slettebø, Å. and Ødegård, A. (2020), "Practice-based learning and innovation in nursing homes", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 122-134.



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