International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleAvoiding practice development illiteracy
Type of ArticleEditorial
Author/sJan Dewing
ReferenceVolume 6, Issue 2, Editorial
Date of PublicationNovember 2016
KeywordsEP2016, IPDC

Among other themes, this issue of the IPDJ takes a look at two recent International Practice Development Collaborative (IPDC) events: the first-ever virtual international conference in practice development – a marathon event, running as it did over a 24-hour period – and the Enhancing Practice 16 conference held at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh in September. I was fortunate enough to play a part in planning both events. The virtual conference, hosted by the IPDC members at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, was a massive achievement made possible by a few people who became passionate about the possibilities a virtual global conference could offer. The recordings of the sessions are available online at

The Enhancing Practice conference has run every other year since 2001. This year’s event saw a return for some of things we love about these conferences, alongside some new sessions and more creative activities. The 2018 conference will be held in Basel, Switzerland, and hosted by IPDC Swiss practice development network members from Bern and Zurich as well as the host city.

Both these events serve as a reminder to us that, in our professional roles and work, relearning is a key part of learning. Many people at conferences spend their time on things that are new or that offer a novel solution to the latest ‘fad’ in healthcare. Having the patience to explore again (and again) something we believe we already know is core to lifelong learning. Alvin Toffler (1928-2016) and Heidi Toffler suggest that illiteracy in the 21st century is the inability to learn, unlearn and relearn. Adaptability is an increasingly essential attribute for those working in fast-moving or large organisations. And as Senge (2006) states, our ability to unlearn is essential to our ability to relearn.

Further, I would suggest that practice developers also need to learn how others we work with learn, unlearn and relearn, given we spend so much effort and time on influencing learning. Julian Stodd, (2016) one of our Enhancing Practice conference speakers, comments that knowledge itself is easy to come by; harder to find, he suggests, are the great facilitators and what we would refer to as high challenge. What do you think?


Knowing, unknown, renewing

Maturity, joy

This article by Jan Dewing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

In this section