Exploiting Social Learning as a Legitimate Tool in Coach Development

Stoszkowski, John Robert orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1968-5770 (2015) Exploiting Social Learning as a Legitimate Tool in Coach Development. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The aim of this thesis was to contribute to current sport coaching research, knowledge and practice on how socially mediated learning activities can influence both coach behaviour and learning for better and for worse, as well as how coach developers might better exploit them as a legitimate tool in coach development provision. Accordingly, Chapter 2 provided an overview of social learning approaches in coach development and discussed potential implications of their use. In the first of the empirical chapters, Chapter 3 revealed that the coaching qualities and characteristics which the social “milieu” might encourage coaches to aspire to and pursue were not comprehensive across all areas and that, with respect to the characteristics coaches might “need” to develop, they might not necessarily be aware of or pick up during informal learning situations. Chapter 4 confirmed that coaches’ preferred, and mostly acquired, coaching knowledge from informal learning activities, especially when these permitted social interaction. However, critical justification for and application of, acquired knowledge was largely absent. Having identified a clear need for practical tools and structures that might better enable coaches to recognise and deal with the potentially mixed influences of the social milieu on informal coach learning, Chapters 5 and 6 explored the use of online blogs as a potential tool to support learning in coach education pedagogy. Results suggested that structured group blogs were a useful tool for facilitating and perhaps encouraging a sufficiently critical approach to social learning. Furthermore, Chapter 7 revealed that blogs were perceived by coaches as being a useful learning tool while appearing to meet coaches’ preferences for less formal modes of learning. In closing, Chapter 8 summarised the findings and implications of this thesis, with particular focus directed towards their potential applied impact on coach development provision.

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