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Bente Elkjær


Bente Elkjaer
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Bente Elkjaer holds a chair (2002-) within learning theory with special focus upon learning in organizations and working life at the Department of Education, Aarhus University and member of the research programme on Learning, Innovation and Sustainability in Organizations (LISO). Bente Elkjaer researches in the 'crossroads' between educational and organisational research and is engaged in how enterprises and people 'produce' knowledge and how knowledge can be shared through organising of work and management as well as through learning.

Bente Elkjaer is the international program coordinator of the European Master in Lifelong Learning. Policy and Management (2011-), and she is engaged in the Department' BA and MA in Educational Science in which she coordinates teaching, teaches and superwise students.

Bente Elkjaer is also an appointed member of The Danish Working Environment Research Fund (2009-2014), and an external member of the governing board of the Sealand Social and Healthcare School (2011-2014).

Bente Elkjaer is the former Head of The Doctoral School of Organizational Learning (DOCSOL) (2004-2010), and the Editor in Chief of Management Learning. The Journal for Managerial and Organzational Learning (2005-2010). Bente Elkjaer is also the former Head of Department of Learning at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University (2008-2011).

Before Bente Elkjaer joined the University of Aarhus, she was employed at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Department of Informatics in which she was also an elected Head of Department for a period of three years. Bente Elkjaer holds a BA and MA degree in social science and cultural geography from the University of Roskilde wirh a specialisation within education and learning, and also IT-supported learning and e-learning in which she also wrote her dissertation in 1988.

Bente Elkjaer is a member of many international networks of which can be mentioned Knowledge, Innovation and Learning Network (KILN) with the point of departure in London Institute of Education, Organizational Education Network under WERA (World Education Research Association) with the point of departure in University of Marburg and the Steering Committee of OLKC (Organizational Learning and Knowledge Capabilities Conferences).

Bente Elkjaer has also studied all in all one year in different American Universities, University of California, Berkeley in 1993 and University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1998. These studies were made possible through first the American stipend, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and later a FUHU-Fulbright stipend. The stipends were earned in order for Bente Elkjaer to study the most important of her theoretical sources of inspiration, the American pragmatism by way of the philosopher and educational thinker, John Dewey' works.

In the left sparetime, Bente Elkjaer is engaged in moving at a decent speed by way of hiking in Denmark and elsewhere, everyday bicycling, yoga and cross-country skiing in Norway. Apart from that she reads a lot of novels in her reading-group, watches moves in the cinemas as well as enjoy travels in Denmark and abroad.  



In Bente Elkjaer's research on learning in organisations and working life she is particularly inspired by American Pragmatism, especially the works of John Dewey. With a point of departure in a practice-based theory of learning Bente Elkjaer has worked on developing a 'third way' for organisational learning. A Pragmatist approach is particularly helpful in trying to overcome the often reproduced dualisms between process and results, content and methods, mind and body, cognition and emotion as well as subject and world (individual and organisation).

Bente Elkjaer is particularly engaged in exploring the meaning of organisational change for the development of an organisational arena for learning. In this pursuit Bente Elkjaer is engaged in defining the 'tensional tales' and the 'wrestling voices' as learning opportunities.

Bente Elkjaer is also engaged in exploring how processes of organising and learning are related. She is currently engaged in the notion of 'co-learning' as a way to understand learning across titles and professions.



Bente Elkjaer has teaching experiences from all levels of university teaching from BA to PhD. For many years she has taught at PhD courses in several Danish, Nordic, and European universities within her field of inquiry and in 'Writing and Publishing for Publication'. Bente Elkjaer is also an active teacher, supervisor and coordinator at the Department's new BA and MA in Educational Science.

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