Learing to change: The virtual business learning approach to professional workplace learning

Marlies Bitter-Rijpkema*, Peter Sloep, Darco Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    At the Open University of the Netherlands, the Virtual Business Learning (VBL) concept has been developed over a number of years. VBL serves as an ‘umbrella’ term that covers concepts from both the education and business worlds. Implementations of the VBL concept focus on the coached development of the professional competencies that underlie successfully innovative behavior in ICT intense enterprises. Learners in their role of professionals are immersed in a learning environment, which is an organization for learning as well as a learning organization. Employees in a VBL environment work on their professional development as well as on the development of the team and VBL organization. Concurrently, they have various duties with professional responsibilities, in a realistic business setting the work on authentic tasks. In this article, we will first discuss the essential features of the VBL concept. Then the concept’s potential for ICT innovation in companies is analyzed. For this, two examples will be used. The first example addresses learning of graduating students in the setting of an environmental consultancy firm. The second example concerns a VBL environment developed for a major ICT firm in the Netherlands. Finally, the strength of the VBL concept in both implementation modi is discussed and differences are highlighted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-25
    Number of pages8
    JournalEducational Technology & Society
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • virtual business learning
    • organization for learning
    • learning organization
    • collaborative working
    • collaborative learning
    • constructivism
    • authentic tasks
    • team learning


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