02 SES 05 B, VET and Development of Competence
Following the central European model, Finnish government has issued the plans for the future to reduce the number (and grow the size) of the secondary level vocational education institutions. As the new financial model increasingly rewards education that is provided outside the educational institutions, the vocational education providers have a growing pressure to bring learning closer to real-life learning environments, that is, workplaces. This study examines the development of vocational expertise within the context of Finnish apprenticeship training. Currently, apprenticeship training accounts for about 17 percent of vocational education and training in Finland (The Finnish National Board of Education, 2010). The Finnish apprenticeship training is based on a fixed-term employment contract and the apprentice is paid according to the collective agreement for the period of workplace learning. Approximately 80 percent of training is provided at the workplace with supplementing theoretical studies at vocational institution. The employer is responsible for nominating a workplace trainer with relevant vocational skills, education and work experience for the apprentice. (The Finnish National Board of Education, 1998.)
The aim of the study is to analyze the development of expertise in workplace from the four different appreticeship actors, an apprentice, co-worker, workplace trainer and employer, point of view. The initial research questions are the following: 1) What vocational characteristics are considered important in apprenticeship training?; 2) How vocational development is supported in apprenticeship training?; 3) What kind of role a work community is considered to have in an apprentice’s development of expertise?
The theoretical framework of the study utilizes the Developmental Model of Vocational and Professional Excellence (DMVE) (Nokelainen, 2015). DMVE is based on research into individual attributes and characteristics and the dimensions of intelligence, including Zimmerman’s research on self-regulation (Zimmerman, 1998, 2000, 2006), Gagné’s research on development of talent (Gagné, 2004, 2010), Ericsson’s research on development of expertise (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993; Ericsson, 2006), and Gardner’s research on multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983, 1999). The model maps the development of competence in terms of cognitive skills and affective abilities (expressed as Multiple Intelligences domains), work skills, influential individuals, and factors related to self-regulation (motivation, volition, and self-reflection).
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