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Making links between Theory and Practice

A User's Guide

By Fleur Blanford

Fleur is Oakwood's Head of International Studies and works in our UK Office
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Once you embark on a programme of study with Oakwood International, you will be introduced to all manner of new ideas, concepts, theories and ‘models’. Many of these will be straightforward and immediately clear; you may already be familiar with a few.  Others will require some greater interpretation and clarification by your tutor. 

At both Foundation and Intermediate level, you will learn about a range of theories which inform, support, underpin and define many familiar concepts in the world of HR and L&D. It is these which provide credibility to your assignments and will help you to demonstrate your awareness and familiarity with certain theoretical perceptions which will help shape them. 

So what do we mean by a theory…?

Theories are formulated to explain, predict and understand certain ideas. They also exist to ‘challenge and extend’ existing knowledge. Theories will help you to explain a process, function or activity. 

And what do we mean by a Model…?

A model is a pictorial or graphic representation of a theory.  By means of example, one of the most well-known theories and model is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The Theory

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a Motivation theory which suggests five interdependent levels of basic human needs (motivators) that must be satisfied in a strict sequence starting with the lowest level’.  (www.businessdictionary.com)

The Model

‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ (see image of pyramid above from: www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html)

At both Foundation and Intermediate level, it is expected that you will support your assignments with an amount of theory appropriate to your level of study. You must always fully support any research with your own words in order to explain your understanding of the theory. You will be given plenty of guidance regarding this; in class by your tutor, and by the Student Support Team.  

Whilst your own thoughts, opinions and experiences are vital in the completion of your reports, studying for a professional qualification also requires you to be aware of theoretical concepts.  We encourage our students to draw on their own practical examples – this will help you to relate your learning to your work life and to make sense of the workshop sessions. However, in addition to this you will need to demonstrate that you have learnt about what other authors, researchers and academics regard as essential knowledge and understanding if you are to meet the requirements of the assignments. 

It is this mix of theoretical awareness and practical application which makes for informed, reliable and interesting reports. 

We know that you have chosen to study with Oakwood because we can make your new learning immediately applicable to your organisation. From Day 1 in the classroom we begin to introduce you to concepts (theories and models) that may have been previously unknown to you and that which will add real practical value – despite the fact that some of these may have ‘fancy’ names attached to the theory and related models – you will be able to see straight away how they can be used in ‘real-world’ and in everyday application. 

We want to hear your stories! We are motivated by your assignments and reading about how you use the theory to inform your practice. We want to demonstrate to you that these theories and models are not stand alone, unrealistic ideas, but that they can really make a difference to your organisation. 

If you would like further information about the completion of your assignments you might like to read our Student BLOG. You will find plenty of useful hints and tips to help you.  

Please read more about our CIPD qualifications here, or contact us directly at info@oakwooddubai.ae

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