Integration of Learning in Educational Institutions and Workplaces: An Australian Case Study
How comprehensively learners make connections between what is taught in educational institutions and in the workplace has significance for developing competencies as productive workers. However, connectivity of learning in the two sites has been problematic for some time (Akkerman SF, Bakker A, Vocat Learn, 5:153–173, 2012; Fuller and Unwin 2011). Sappa and Aprea (Vocat Learn, 7(3):263–287, 2014) contend that shared conceptions of connectivity by key stakeholders such as learners (students/apprentices/workers), teachers, managers, supervisors, trainers and training coordinators lead to better outcomes for work-integrated learning.
This chapter reports on the findings from an Australian case study on how vocational education and training (VET) students, teachers and managers/coordinators conceptualise connectivity between what is learnt in educational institutions and workplaces. The study focused on two main questions: (i) How do key actors in the Australian VET system (VET students, teachers, trainers and managers/coordinators of training) conceptualise vocational learning and teaching across VET institutions and workplaces? (ii) What are the implications of their conceptions for connectivity of the VET curriculum? Participants engaged in semi-structured interviews. Their responses were analysed using the phenomenographic method (Marton F, Booth S, Learning and awareness. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1997; Åkerlind GS, Phenomenographic methods: A case illustration. In Bowden JA, Green P (eds) Doing phenomenography (pp. 103–127). RMIT University Press, Melbourne, 2005a, High Educ Res Develop, 24(4):321–334; Paakkari L, Tynjälä P, Kannas L, Stud High Educ, 35(8):905–920). The study found four dominant conceptions of connectivity with structural and referential variations.
KeywordsPhenomenography Vocational education Workplace learning Integrated learning Learning in context Integration of experiences
This work was supported by Griffith Institute of Educational Research, Griffith University, Australia, and Swiss Research Foundation, SNF, Switzerland [IZK0Z1_160410/1]. The contributions by Dr. Viviana Sappa from the Swiss Research Foundation to the research project are duly acknowledged.
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