Development of Vocational Skills Through Integration of Practical Training Periods in School Based Vocational Education in Norway

  • Torgeir NyenEmail author
  • Anna Hagen Tønder
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 29)


In this chapter, we discuss how vocational learning is influenced by different ways of integrating practical training periods in vocational education and training (VET). Our theoretical perspective – learning as participation and gradual integration in a community of practice – is inspired by situated learning theory (Lave J, and Wenger E. Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991). Taking part in daily work in a workplace is central to the development of vocational skills and a vocational identity. However, a high degree of exposure to occupational challenges and real-life demands does not necessarily stimulate the development of vocational skills and a vocational identity in all situations. We identify four different models of practical training, differentiated on the basis of two main dimensions. The first dimension is related to the degree of shielding from demands and expectations from real customers and users, and the second relates to the experienced relevance of practical training to the particular vocation the student is pursuing. The empirical context of our discussion is initial VET at the upper-secondary level in Norway. Within the so-called ‘2 + 2’ model, 2 years of school-based education is followed by 2 years of apprenticeship training. The focus of the chapter is on the organisation of practical training during the first and second school-based years in VET (which are known by the acronyms Vg1 and Vg2). Structural changes in upper-secondary VET in Norway, following the introduction of the Knowledge Promotion Reform in 2006, have led to fewer and broader VET programmes and increased the distance between the vocational courses offered in schools and the occupations that students will later practise in the workplace (Nyen T,and Tønder AH, Fleksibilitet eller faglighet? En studie av innføringen av faget prosjekt til fordypning i Kunnskapsløftet. Fafo-rapport 2012:47, Fafo, Oslo, 2012). A new school subject introduced with the reform, the ‘in-depth study project’ (renamed since 2016 – and referred to in this chapter – as ‘vocational specialisation’) was intended to provide opportunities for vocational specialisation within the broad courses offered in schools. Our chapter is based on a longitudinal qualitative study of the development of vocational skills, identity and motivation and how these factors are influenced by experiences from practical training received through the subject ‘vocational specialisation’. The longitudinal study is supplemented by survey data about training practices within school-based VET.


VET Workplace learning Vocational specialisation Dual system Vocational skills 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fafo Institute for Labour and Social ResearchOsloNorway

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