Houle's Theory Of Professional Education

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CPE Concept

Houle's concept of professional education is grouped into 3 categories of competencies. They are conceptual competencies - requiring as many members of a profession to be actively involved in clarifying its function(s). Professional competencies focus on issues such as the mastering of knowledge, skills, and attributes whereas developmental competency focuses on the futuristic development of the organization, individual and the society. Houle (1980), further defined continuing professional education as the ways in which professionals try, throughout their active lives of service, to refresh their own knowledge and ability and build a sense of collective responsibility to society.

This definition stretches the responsibility of
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Houle (1980) identifies several objectives of continuing professional education, including clarifying the profession’s functions, mastery of theoretical knowledge, self enhancement, formal training, credentialing, creation of subculture, legal reinforcement, public acceptance, ethical practice, penalties and relations to users of services. He believes that the ultimate aim of continuing professional education is to prepare practitioners not only to use the best ideas and techniques of the moment but also to expect that they will be modified or replaced.

He also believes that the primary responsibility for learning should rest with the individual and the goals of continuing professional education should be concerned with the entire process of professionalization. The continuing of professional education should be considered part of a process which continues throughout life, the patterns of methods of continuing professional education should be planned and conducted in terms of one of the three modes of education: inquiry, instruction,
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Houle (1989), emphasizes that every professional has a need to be able to carry out their duties according to the highest possible standards of character and competence and one way to meet this is to engage in a lifelong study and to achieve its greatest potential, continuing education must fulfill the promise to its name and be truly be continuing and not casual, sporadic or opportunistic. This fact means essentially that it must be self-directed and each professional must be the ultimate monitor of his or her own learning, controlling the stable or shifting design of its continuity.

Houle further argues that continuing education must be based not only on content oriented goals of keeping up with the new development; it must also be designed to facilitate changes in life patterns or career lines. Accordingly, Fryer (1997) states that learning at the workplace will need to accommodate the needs and interests of a variety of stakeholders, including employees, employers, customers, government and providers. It will contribute to competitiveness, skills enhancement, employability and capacity to deal with
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