How to understand the concept of ‘expansive learning environment' in elderly care?

Charlotte Wegener*, Rita Solbakken, Cecilie Høj Anvik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Worker recruitment, retainment, and upskilling are interwoven challenges in the
elderly care field. Although these are priorities in both Norway and Denmark, the
complex demands, and treatment of healthcare students and licensed practical
nurses (LPNs) is complicating the fulfillment of such goals. A richer account of
learning environments, vocational education, and experiences of care work is
necessary to provide a competent and reliable workforce for the future. Responding
to the urgent need to attract and retain qualified elderly care staff, a core objective
of a newly launched project, LABCare, is to explore how conditions for learning may
be enhanced through collaborative arrangements between vocational education
and municipal employers. Built around the concept of Expansive Learning
Environments (ELE) (Fuller & Unwin, 2004), the project proposes an
interdisciplinary, comparative study that extends across demographic and national
boundaries. An ELE is characterized by horizontal, cross-boundary activity,
dialogue, and problem-solving practices, while a restrictive environment, on the
other hand, is characterized by narrowly defined jobs, fragmented tasks, and
limited movements through time and space. Care work has recently been examined
in relation to this framework (Ellström et al., 2008), but an overall framework with
designable features applicable to elderly care learning environments has not yet
been developed. In this part of the symposium, we engage in a discussion of the
applicability of the expansive-restrictive framework to the field of elderly care work
and education. The aim is to move towards a context sensitive understanding of
ELE which will shed new light on a longstanding matter of how best to provide for
learning for all participants in elderly care practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date17 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2024
EventResearching Work & Learning (RWL) - Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Duration: 17 Jun 202419 Jun 2024
Conference number: 13


ConferenceResearching Work & Learning (RWL)
LocationLinköping University
Internet address


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