Collaborative Learning at the Boundaries: Hallmarks within a Rehabilitation Context

Bjørg Christiansen, Inger Taasen, Nora Hagstrøm, Kjellaug Kildal Hansen, Dorte Lybye Norenberg


The aim of the article is to shed light on how collaborative learning at the boundaries between professions plays out within a rehabilitation context. The study has an ethnographic design in the form of observation and interviews in two rehabilitation contexts. Findings showed that collaborative learning was stimulated when the professional groups made a concerted effort to acquire an overall perspective on the patient’s situation and requested and disseminated context-dependent expressions and knowledge about how the patient functioned. The “training” of patients on the ward served as an abstract boundary object amongst the staff functioning as a unifying resource in collaboration. The study exemplifies the learning potential when boundaries between professions become more open in an overlapping collaboration. This enables awareness of one’s own boundaries and of the fact that one had a wealth of shared knowledge. In addition, it entailed the learning of techniques and procedures from other professions, which augmented and developed one’s own professional repertoire.

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