International Participation


9th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning (RWL9), 9-12 December 2015, Singapore

IAL will be the leading organiser for the upcoming RWL symposium, 9-12 December 2015 in Singapore. 
Theme: Work and Learning in the era of Globalisation: Challenges for the 21st Century.

Read more at Microsite: There is also an online form in the site for registration of interest found in "Contact Us".


8th International Conference: Researching Work and Learning, 19-22 June 2013,
Stirling Management Centre, University of Stirling

The over-arching theme for the conference was 'The visible and invisible in work and learning.' What knowledge, which actors, and what parts of the environment are most visible? What and who remains invisible? When do actors become aware of invisible infrastructures? And what research methods and analytical approaches can make the invisible visible?

The Centres of Research at the Institute for Adult Learning submitted various papers for presentation.


International Conference on Researching Work and Learning, December 2011, Shanghai

For the first time, Singapore is participating in an international conference that seeks to bring together those interested in research on work and learning and actively maintain linkages with practitioners who deal with matters of work and learning. Convened every two years, the International Conference on Researching Work and Learning seeks to recognise the multi-disciplinary character of this research area by actively promoting involvement across scholarly disciplines including, but not limited to, Adult Education, Labour Education, Higher Education, Vocational Education, Human Resource Management, Business Studies, as well as the full range of human sciences scholarship where matters of both work and learning are considered. The RWL conference was held from 4 to 7 December 2011, in Shanghai, China.

The Institute for Adult Learning presented 6 papers under a Singapore symposium entitled “Researching work and learning in Singapore: exploring and understanding context, transfer, identity and transition.” The presenters were:

No. Presenters Designation Research Paper (download PDF)


Mr Eric Lee

Principal Manager, Research

Learning interventions for mid career transition: Towards a conceptual framework


Ms Gillian Ong

Manager, Strategic Planning & Policy, WDA

Practicum for adult educators: Learning beyond course requirements


Dr Soon-Joo Gog

Executive Director

Career transition experience of two trainee-cooks: Exploring structure and agency in Singapore


Dr Helen Bound

Head, Centre for Research in Learning

Myths surrounding learning, transfer, contextualisation and generic skills


Ms Joyce Tan

Assistant Director, Research

Understanding the influence of learning on occupational mobility


Ms Magdalene Lin

Research Officer

To ‘become’ one: Developing professional identity through learning at work

The papers presented in this symposium all draw on research conducted at the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) in Singapore. With the mandate to provide training, professional development and research for adult educators to enhance the quality of CET in Singapore, the IAL strives to lay the foundations for research-informed practice in CET, which involves both the development of research capability in the CET community and the creation of programmes of high-quality policy and practice-relevant research. The work presented in this symposium ranges from the outcomes of funded research projects through to higher degree projects. All papers address some aspect of the relationship between learning and a variety of work contexts.

The symposium opened with a brief contextualising presentation by Professor Andrew Brown, Director of Research, followed by presentations relating to each of the papers, with opportunities for questions and discussion of each paper, and discussion of the over-riding themes of the symposium.

Dr Helen Bound, Head, Centre for Research in Work and Learning, draws on research into generic skills training and workplace learning to consider the relationship between learning and context. Treating learning, and activity, as radically contextualised leads her to question the notion of transfer and propose alternative ways of understanding what happens as we attempt to carry skills and knowledge from one setting to another.

Dr Gog Soon Joo, Executive Director, Ms Joyce Tan, Assistant Director (Research) and Mr Eric Lee, Principal Research Manager, all draw on empirical studies of transitions in people’s working lives, specifically movement between one occupation and another.

Ms Gillian Ong, Manager (Strategic Planning and Policy), explored the place of the practicum in the training of trainers, addressing another aspect of context, learning and the possibilities of transfer. Magdalene Lin drew on interview and observations in the workplace to explore the relationship between ‘classroom’ and workplace learning, and to examine issues of agency and identity in induction into an occupation, themes that are also explored in the other papers on occupational transition.

Separately, two other papers were presented at the parallel sessions, Policy studies, work & learning and Vocational educationlabour markets and learning, respectively:

Professor Andrew Brown, addressed the opportunities and challenges in adult learning and work through the development of a national research strategy shaped by consultation with key stakeholders, from Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) course participants to senior policy makers.

Mr Ramu Kodiappan, Principal Manager, Professional Development Services, addressed the challenges affecting the integration of competency-based training (CBT) at the higher levels of the WSQ system by reviewing the discourse on the notion of competence, the recurring arguments both for and against the use of the CBT approach and the issues surrounding the development and implementation of National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs).

The empirical work reported is all carried out in Singapore. The themes explored are of vital importance, however, to any advanced economy facing contemporary and future challenges of learning for and in work.

More about IAL's Research Centres here.

More about IAL's Research Team here.