Understanding integrated guidance in 10 resources

If you follow this blog you may have heard me talking about ‘integrated guidance’. But I’m well aware that this is not a term that is in common usage. So in this post I’m going to identify 10 resources that you could use to understand what integrated guidance is and why it is worth engaging with.

The background

The idea of integrated guidance has really developed in the context of some of my work in Norway. So, a good place to start is by looking at a review of the evidence on new technologies and guidance back in 2015 that I wrote with Claire Shepherd and Vanessa Dodd for Skills Norway. In this we looked at how career guidance could use a range of new technologies and included a chapter on ‘blending services’ and different models of blended learning that could be applied to career guidance.

Resource #1: Get yourself connected: conceptualising the role of digital technologies in Norwegian career guidance

Thankfully, there was some interest in these ideas in Norway, which ultimately led to the foundation of the integrated guidance course that I now run with Ingrid Bårdsdatter Bakke at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. To underpin that course Ingrid, Erik Hagaseth Haug and I wrote another article proposing the idea of integrated guidance as the new concept that would underpin this course.

Resource #2: Moving from information provision to co-careering: Integrated guidance as a new approach to e-guidance in Norway

Introducing integrated guidance

We’ve now been teaching this course for three years and have had the privilege to work with lots of students who have taken the ideas of integrated guidance and applied them all over Norway and beyond. In a video that I made for Skills Norway I tried to set out the key ideas that underpin integrated guidance or what I called, integrated career learning.

Resource #3: Integrated career learning

The idea of ‘integrated guidance’ recognises that the digital and physical worlds are no longer separate domains, but inter-connected and integrated space which individuals move between. Our argument is that this means that careers professionals also need to be able to move between the physical and the digital and to deliver services that integrate the opportunities offered by a wide range of tools and environments.

Increasingly we’ve tried to explain integrated guidance, not through the use of particular tools, but rather through three principles: (1) that the aim of integrated guidance is to foster career learning; (2) that integrated guidance needs to use an instructional design approach; and (3) that conceptually integrated guidance should be underpinned by a non-hierachical and social justice informed approach which we describe as ‘co-careering’.

Integrated guidance as career learning

The first key principle states that the aim of integrated guidance is to foster career learning. All forms of career guidance are designed to support individuals to learn about themselves and think about how they orientate to the world around them. Integrated guidance has to be judged by its capability to support individuals to successfully learn about career and put this learning into practice. Because of the focus on learning, we are very interested in pedagogy and particularly in pedagogies that look how people learn online. One of the key pedagogic approaches that has influenced the integrated guidance approach has been Gilly Salmon’s five stage model which describes the process of supporting learning online.

Resource #4: The five-stage model on Gilly Salmon’s website

One of Salmon’s most important ideas is that of the e-tivity. This emphasises that learning is active and based on the learner actually doing something, rather than just passively receiving information. I put together a video explaining how this idea of the e-tivty could be applied to integrated guidance.

Resource #5: Creating e-tivities for career learning

Instructional design

The second principle is that we should use an instructional design approach when we are thinking about creating integrated guidance. Instructional design is a systematic to developing learning. It is very engaged with the use of technology in learning, but it is not primarily about the use of technology. Nancy Wootton Colborn has written a very useful introduction to instructional design that is aimed at librarians, but which can be easily adapted by careers professionals.

Resource #6: Introduction to instructional design: A brief primer

Instructional designers start by thinking about the learners and what they need to learn and then assessing what context they are learning in and thinking about what the right technological tools are for the job. In our course we introduce students to the ADDIE model as a basic practical approach to instructional design, the World of Work project have produced a good summary of this approach.

Resource #7: The ADDIE instructional design model: A simple summary


The third principle of integrated guidance is that we should adopt a co-careering stance. Co-careering is about thinking about how professionals relate to clients and rethinking that in the light of the way in which the environment for practice is changed by digital technologies and now by Covid-19. Co-careering is open and informal. It encourages use to work with learners in their communities and to be a participant in those communities ourselves. It asks us to model good behaviour and to be reflexive. The idea of co-careering was developed by Jaana Kettunen as a description of how the careers professionals who were most engaged in the digital environment were thinking about it.

Resource #8: Career practitioners’ conceptions of competency for social media in career services

Kettunen’s discussion of co-careering is important as it recognises that the delivery of integrated guidance is not just a matter of technical or even of pedagogic consideration. Effective integrated guidance is also dependent on a particular world view and analysis of how careering and the digital world interact. I think that we stretch the meaning of co-careering a bit further than Jaana does in her work to encompass a more explicitly critical and social justice informed view, so one of the interesting things that we should be discussing going forwards is what is the worldview that needs to underpin integrated guidance and how far is it possible to have a range of different worldviews and still deliver effective integrated guidance.

Next steps

There is a lot more thinking needed as we develop the ideas of integrated guidance and start to codify them into a theory and into guidance for practice. Ingrid and I have got some plans to start doing this, but we also recognise that lots of other people are out there thinking about similar things. We’d really appreciate people contacting us and opening up dialogue in this area.

In the meantime, here are some further thoughts on what the future might hold for integrated guidance.

Resource #9: The future of integrated guidance

I’ve also been doing some thinking about the way in which Covid-19 has clarified the need for integrated guidance.

Resource #10: A global pandemic and its aftermath: The way forward for career guidance


One comment

  1. Some really interesting ideas here to reflect upon. I think with regards the concept of “world views and co-careering”, we need to be mindful of the views we bring and that we are explicit with our clients what these are.

    There is a danger of assuming that we are “coolly neutral” and “agenda-less”.

    As practitioners we are driven by specific agendas which, fuel the questions we ask our clients accordingly. Whether the agenda is to just inspire or try and ensure that clients don’t end up stuck or miss opportunities. This is where our work around OPM comes from, which dovetails with the points you raise here.

    In addition, as we’ve entered more into this co-authored world (especially now during the pandemic) we are seeing a blurring between traditional action plan processes, guidance “interviews” and their formalities, with those led more by our clients… some of whom put their “to do lists” or “actions” into their phones (preferring this to written documents).

    We discussed with clients what they were looking for and (with this feedback) we began vlogging alongside traditional written materials. Providing vlogs for clients to access as part of their career learning, after which they would come back to us and/or use as part of their development.

    A big part of this has been discussing different career theories with clients, to help them consider different ways to view the world and their development. Thus, removing the “adviser as expert” and placing the client as the “curator and author/sculptor” of their own lives

    Within the blended learning environment (like any environment), it can only work if we get into an open dialogue with our clients about what is working for them. Asking them to reflect and assess what we do, to consider what is helpful and/or needed and why.

    Of course, the beauty of all of this, is recognising different elements of different blended environments, work for different individuals. Something we’ve seen only too well with remote learning at this time!

    Lots to consider here. Thank you for your article and resources to delve into! Always happy to be part of a dialogue. Best wishes and stay safe, Chris

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