The effects of portfolio-based advice on the development of self-directed learning skills in secondary vocational education

  • Wendy Kicken
  • Saskia Brand-Gruwel
  • Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer
  • Wim Slot
Research Article


This experimental study was designed to investigate whether supervision meetings, in which students receive specific advice on how to use a development portfolio to monitor their progress and plan their future learning, helps them to develop self-directed learning skills and improve their learning in the domain. In the first year of a hairdressing program in vocational education, supervision meetings were used to provide students with either specific advice or not. Students in the advice group (n = 21) formulated better learning needs, selected more suitable learning tasks, completed more practical assignments, and acquired more certificates than students in the feedback-only group (n = 22). Interviews also showed that students in the advice group appreciated the supervision meeting more and perceived them as more effective than students in the feedback-only group. Guidelines are provided for the use of development portfolios and the organization of supervision meetings in on-demand vocational education.


Self-directed learning Advice Development portfolio On-demand education Secondary vocational education and training 



This research project is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO, The Hague, project no. 411-03-202).


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Kicken
    • 1
  • Saskia Brand-Gruwel
    • 1
  • Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer
    • 1
  • Wim Slot
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies and Netherlands Laboratory for Lifelong Learning Open University of the NetherlandsHeerlenThe Netherlands

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