Higher Education

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 359–378 | Cite as

How experienced professionals develop their expertise in work-based higher education: a literature review

  • Anna Wallin
  • Petri NokelainenEmail author
  • Susanna Mikkonen


This study explores how industry-university partnerships contribute to the expertise development of highly experienced professionals, and what kind of challenges such development entails. We used an integrative approach to review literature and acquire a deeper understanding of how previous research has described the development of expertise in work-based postgraduate higher education. Consistent with earlier research, this review confirms that expertise is developed through transforming and integrating theoretical, practical and self-regulative knowledge. Results suggest that (1) learners should be supported but also allowed to self-manage their learning in order to build agency and self-regulative skills, (2) continuous problem solving with ill-defined, non-routine problems should be encouraged along with challenges that trigger learning, (3) learners’ personal transformation processes and change of identity should be supported, and (4) expertise development should be viewed as an ongoing, context-dependent and individualised process.


Expertise development Higher education Work-based Professional doctorate Postgraduate education Professional development 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Industrial and Information ManagementTampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland

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