02 SES 08 B, VET-Research: Learning and careers in VET in changing times
During the second VET Skills Week in Brussels in November 2017 different research topics were discussed at roundtables. Participants were researchers and practitioners. The roundtable chairs integrated the discussion by focussing on the relevance of the topic (scope) and by reflecting the discussion with respect to the state of the scientific discussion (what do we know about the topic, also with a focus on theory and methods) and to discuss future perspectives. A first intermediate report was delivered to the EU Commission. The panel discussion will report on the results of these discussions as they are included in the intermediate report and further advance the discussion, also based on the VET research framework presented in panel discussion 1.
The topics to be discussed in the panel discussion 2a are:
Lifelong learning. Main areas of research are linked to the ongoing social and economic changes and their impact on VET and how to improve lifelong learning through institutional co-operation and the recognition of multiple forms of expertise in action. The concept of eco-systems was discussed.
Meaningful VET careers. VET is a success if it contributes to meaningful careers. What is seen as a meaningful VET career depends on the perspective taken. Little is known about how different stakeholders and actors in VET define “success” and where these definitions are convergent or contradicting. There should be more research on meaningful careers as well as how these success criteria change in society, economy, or depending on an individual’s age and standing in her / his career.
Digitalization in / of VET. Digital transitions and transformations will have – or: already have – an impact on VET. Little is known about mediation processes and artefacts involved. What we observe is that new technologies are often implemented by replicating past paradigms. There should be research on how to transform and not simply transfer VET through digitalization. Digitalization raises also new issues of social justice and values. There should be more research in the change and development of value systems related to work and innovation.
Transferable / transversal skills. Transferable or transversal skills are very important in VET. The roundtable discussed soft skills, social-emotional skills, or citizenship skills, asking the question on how to integrate these skills in VET curricula such that VET contributes to the professional and personal development of learners and students. The term “vetfulness” was used to describe this integral view on VET (subject specific skills, transferable skills).
Workplace learning. The main research questions discussed were on how to guarantee that VET students have theory and practice in their studies, on how to promote intergenerational learning, and on how to improve learning of students and workers and on how to provide support for workers involved in workplace learning.
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