Varieties of “Duality”: Work-Based Learning and Vocational Education in International Comparative Research

  • Philipp GrollmannEmail author
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 29)


This contribution argues that vocational learning is always bound to more school-based learning settings and practical work contexts. The focus on dual vocational education systems as a specific type of a national vocational education regime has led to overlooking the general “dual nature” of any vocational education and training.

Often vocational education practice goes beyond a mere orientation towards work by making practical work experience part of the vocational education and training curriculum. Yet even in cases of purely school-based settings, the question remains on how far the learning experiences of individuals from school-based instruction match with what they would be required to do in their future jobs and the learning experiences they engage in. Instead of asking how work experience integrates with education, it might also be legitimate and important to question how educational experience is or can be integrated into work.

On the other hand, the widely used term “work-based learning” does not sufficiently address the relevant contextual conditions for understanding the integration problem tackled in this volume. “Work-based learning” will always be strongly shaped by local or national institutional contexts in forms and content, and it only turns into education as soon as there is some kind of “curricular” formalisation and/or acknowledgement. By looking at international educational statistics and comparative research, the contribution in this chapter will show that the “dual nature” could be depicted better by taking into account education as well as employment statistics at the system level. The contribution also discusses where statistics could be misleading. In addition different forms and concepts of dual vocational education and training and practical examples are presented. Conclusions are drawn for further research on curricular integration for a variety of dualities.


Germany France Australia Canada Switzerland Denmark Austria Vocational education and training Apprenticeship Alternance Dual system 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal Institute for Vocational Education and TrainingBonnGermany

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