02 SES 04 A, New Learning in VET
Vocational education and training is under reform in Finland and the Government programme (2015) aims at increasing work-based learning at the secondary level. In the current situation apprenticeships already offer 70 to 80 per cent of the training at the workplace. Nevertheless, apprenticeships have remained marginal, especially as an alternative option next to school-based VET for youths (Virolainen & Stenström, 2014, p. 87). A comparative review of apprenticeship education and training (Rintala, Nokelainen, & Pylväs, 2015) based on Scott’s (2001) institutional framework shows that there are distinct differences in the apprenticeship systems’ institutional structure between Germany, England and Finland. Within the Finnish context vocational education and training is highly institutionalized, and research is needed to support the development of diverse work and learning environments. The quality of apprenticeships and work-based learning gains interest also on European level (European Commission, 2016). The study aims to provide insights into learning environments, which can be utilized to support development of work-based learning and apprenticeships across different European countries.
The main objective of this study is to analyse workplaces and apprenticeships as a whole as learning environments. Learning in the workplace is often considered informal. Earlier research has proved this to be a too simple approach, while learning in the workplace can include different levels of intention to learn (eg. Eraut, 2000, 2004; Billett, 2002). Intentionality relates both to workplace affordances and learner’s participation and engagement, which together shape the participatory practices and pedagogy of workplaces (Billett, 2004). From pedagogical and organizational perspectives apprenticeships offer varying, both expansive and restrictive learning environments (Fuller & Unwin, 2003). Research has also shown that connective learning environments (Guile & Griffiths, 2001) and integrative pedagogical practices (Tynjälä, 2008) promote the development of individual vocational expertise, but also of the whole work community.
Billett, S. (2002). Workplace pedagogic practices: co-participation and learning. British Journal of Educational Studies, 50(4), 457-481. Billett, S. (2004). Workplace participatory practices: conceptualizing workplaces as learning environments. Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(6), 312-324. Eraut, M. (2000). Non-formal learning and tacit knowledge in professional work. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(1), 113-136. Eraut, M. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace. Studies in Continuing Education, 26(2), 247-273. European Commission (2016). Highlights from the working groups 2014-2015. Education and Training 2020. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/strategic-framework/expert-groups/2014-2015/group-highlights_en.pdf Fuller, A. & Unwin, L. (2003). Learning as apprentices in the contemporary UK workplace: creating and managing expansive and restrictive participation. Journal of Education and Work, 16(4), 407-426. Government Programme (2015). Finland, a land of solutions. Strategic programme of prime minister Juha Sipilä’s Government. Government Publications, 12/2015. Retrieved from http://valtioneuvosto.fi/documents/10184/1427398/Ratkaisujen+Suomi_EN_YHDISTETTY_netti.pdf/8d2e1a66-e24a-4073-8303-ee3127fbfcac Guile, D. & Griffiths, T. (2001). Learning through work experience. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 113-131. Rintala, H., Nokelainen, P., & Pylväs, L. (2015). Katsaus oppisopimuskoulutukseen: institutionaalinen näkökulma Review of apprenticeship education and training: an institutional perspective. Manuscript submitted for publication. Scott, W. R. (2001). Institutions and organisations. 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Tynjälä, P. (2008). Perspectives into learning at the workplace. Educational Research Review, 3(2), 130-154. Virolainen, M. & Stenström, M-L. (2014). Finnish vocational education and training in comparison: strengths and weaknesses. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 1(2), 81-106.
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