22 SES 06 B, Learning Contexts, Diverse Perspectives
This paper provides comparative cross-disciplinary aspects on elements in the professionalisation process of nurse students and veterinary students.
An inherent alternation between different learning rooms – scholastic academic classrooms and professional workplaces - is central to the profession-oriented educations. Educational structure and time allocated to each context varies between the different profession-oriented educational programs. To a great extent, profession-oriented educational development- and research projects have had a common focus on the interplay between the different learning contexts – and the classical dilemma of how to bridge theory and practice. Further, most empirical studies have been conducted in the part of the educations taking place in the work-oriented learning contexts (practice).
The paper is based on two independent case-studies referring to the educational field of future nurses and future veterinarians. Both projects can be characterised as research-based evaluation of pedagogical development projects. The projects refer to investigations in both classroom educational contexts and the contexts of (educational) workplaces.
Case 1: In the nursing educational environment, research has been conducted as ethnographic studies following students in an alternative educational model based on a principle of ”practice before theory” – named the E-class. Planned as a full-scale study, students have been followed through all learning contexts, in the process from enrolment into the nursing program as members of the E-class until graduation and entrance into the nursing field as professional nurses.
Case 2: In the veterinary educational environment, a pedagogical development project on development, implementation and evaluation of game-based learning as a possible way of strengthening the interplay between practice and theory forms the basis of the research. Veterinary students have been followed through alternating learning contexts referring to both the scholastic academic classrooms and workplaces in commercial pig herds as well as to group work and game-based situations in a mandatory master course - ”the pig module”.
The projects differ in terms of both starting point and main focus of research (an alternative educational model and profession-orientated Game-based learning). However, in the on-going process of research, an empirical ´harmony´ on common recurrent themes related to students `study strategies´ emerged from frequent discussions between researchers. The repeated common empirical themes propelled the idea of a comparative analysis aiming to answer the following overall research questions:
• How do students in profession-oriented educations manage the multiple shifts in learning contexts?
• What study strategies do students in profession-oriented educations develop and what are the possible consequences?
The common comparative analysis is mainly empirically driven. In empirical terms the analysis refers to the Nordic tradition of classroom research (Lindblad and Sahlström, 2002; Klette, 2007) and pedagogical fieldwork/concept of study strategies (Borgnakke 1996ab, Borgnakke, 2008).
Theoretically, the two projects refer to theory and concepts related to learning situations and student learning processes considered as profession-orientated and situated formation processes (Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, & Day, 2010; Benner, 2011). Further, the empirical analysis draws on Bernsteinian concepts of contexts and re-contextualisation (Bernstein, 1973, 2000), and the concept of situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991).
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