02 SES 02 B, Personal Learning Environments, Learning Territorities and Learning Sites
In Sweden a liberal-conservative government came into office in 2006 and since then major restructurings in the whole educational system have been initiated. In autumn 2011, a vast reform of the Swedish upper secondary VET education was accomplished. Key arguments that underpinned the reform were to improve the throughput, raise the quality of the education and training and enhance students’ employability. In line with these arguments, a new VET pathway “Apprenticeship Education” was introduced as an option to school-based VET programmes – an alternative but equal pathway to the three year school based VET programmes. The Swedish apprenticeship education differs from models of apprenticeship in countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany. One fundamental difference is that Swedish upper secondary apprentices are commonly not employed and therefore students, not employees (Olofsson 2005).
Before launching the reform in 2011 a three years long national pilot project with upper secondary apprenticeship education was initiated. This paper is based on follow-up studies of the pilot project funded by the Swedish National Agency for Education. The first study were conducted 2009-2011 (Berglund & Lindberg 2012) and a new study is going on during spring 2013. The studies focus on pedagogical aspects of apprenticeship education and aim at illuminating pedagogical challenges when initiating the new apprenticeship pathway. The paper emphasizes on what kind of ‘learning territory’ that was realized for the apprentices during the pilot project.
The metaphor of ‘learning territory’ is elaborated on and is described as every individual’s access to a (unique) range of learning opportunities which make up their learning territory“ (Fuller & Unwin 2004, p. 133). The metaphor can also be related to the concept of legitimate-peripheral-participation (Lave & Wenger 1991) and learning trajectories in and between different communities of practice (Wenger 1998). Fuller and Unwin (2004) pose criticism on the concept of situated learning which is likely to dismiss the role formal education can play in work-place-learning. Billett (2009) also put forward the importance of close guidance at workplaces to improve learning and points at the importance of the vocational knowledge and know-how of the more experienced co-workers. “This guidance can provide direct insights, understandings and access to procedures that may be difficult for individuals to learn on their own” (ibid, p. 1714). To be able to analyze what kind of learning territories that was realized In the Swedish upper secondary apprenticeship education the concept of workplace curriculum (Billet 2006) will be useful as well as the concept of expansive and restrictive learning environments (Fuller & Unwin 2004).
Berglund, I. & Lindberg, V. (2012). Pedagogiskt och didaktiskt arbete i försöksverksamheten med gymnasial lärlingsutbildning under åren 2009-2011 [Pedagogical work in the Swedish pilot project on upper secondary Apprenticeship Education during 2009-2011. In Swedish]. Skolverket. Berglund, I. (2009). Byggarbetsplatsen som skola – eller skolan som byggarbetsplats? En studie av byggnadsarbetares yrkesutbildning. [The construction site as school – or school as construction site? A study of the vocational education of construction workers. In Swedish]. Doktorsavhandlingar från institutionen för didaktik och pedagogiskt arbete 4. Stockholms universitet. Billet, S. (2009). Vocational learning: Contributions of workplaces and educational institutions. In R. Maclean & D. Wilson (eds.) International handbook of education for the changing world of work, pp. 1711-1723. Billett, S. (2006). Constituting the workplace curriculum. Journal of curriculum studies, 38 (1), pp.31-48. Czarniawska, B. (2007). Shadowing and other techniques for doing fieldwork in modern societies. Copenhagen: Universitetsförlaget. Fuller, A & Unwin, L. (2004). Expansive learning environments. In H. Rainbird, A. Fuller and A.Munro (eds.). Workplace learning in context. London: Routledge Lagström, A. (2012). Lärlingslärare – en studie om hur vård- och yrkeslärares uppdrag formas i samband med införandet av den gymnasiala lärlingsutbildningen. [The apprenticeship programme teacher: A study of how the role of the vocational teacher is formulated in conjunction with the introduction of upper secondary school apprenticeship. In Swedish]. Institutionen för vårdvetenskap och hälsa. Sahlgrenska akademien vid Göteborgs universitet. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Middleton, D. & Edwards, D. (1990). Conversational remembering - A social psychological approach. In D. Middleton & D. Edwards (Eds.), Collective remembering. London: Sage. Olofsson, J. (2005). Svensk yrkesutbildning. Vägval i internationell belysning [Swedish vocational education. Choices illumintated by international research. In Swedish]. Stockholm:SNS förlag.
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