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Learning theories


The importance of learning in career development has been acknowledged by a number of commentators. For example, it is a key element in Patton and McMahon's system theory framework discussed earlier.

  • The work of Linda Mitchell and John Krumboltz has been selected because their ideas illustrate how people learn not just about job choice but also career management, labour markets, work values and many other career-related topics. Please now click on the play arrow below.
  • The online lecture is also available in Powerpoint Krumboltz's social learning theory (Powerpoint Presentation)
  • Following this, read the chapters by Mitchell & Krumboltz (1996) and Sharf (2013) provided in the core reading.


Once you have engaged with the core materials, here are some leads for optional further reading:

  • Krumboltz (2009) on planned happenstance learning theory.
  • Willis (1977) for a cultural studies-informed account of how a group of working-class boys learn to labour.
  • Lave & Wenger (1991) on situated learning and participation in a range of contexts including apprenticeships.
  • Law (1999) on career learning.
  • P. Hodkinson, Sparkes & H. Hodkinson (1996) on careership.
  • Lent, Brown & Hackett (2002) on social cognitive career theory.
  • Rogers (1994) on person-centred learning.