02 SES 02 A, Review of VET Research and Theory Construction in VET
The paper arises from the conceptual background research that is carried out for the EU FP7 project Learning Layers (LL). The project has the task to analyse tho role of ICT- and Web-support for informal workplace learning in two occupational clusters (healthcare and construction cluster). Alongside the research tasks that focus on workplace learning the project has developmental tasks that cover system solutions, software solutions, scaffolding and piloting. Based upon the pilot experiences the project shall develop approaches for wider user-engagement and scaling up of the pilot activities.
For the research partners that focus on the construction cluster (coordinated by ITB) it is essential to prepare a review of prior research on workplace learning, knowledge processes and professional development in this cluster. At the first phase of the review process the following three lines of inquiry are examined as intellectual "root approaches" to the current project:
- Research on 'work process knowledge' has mainly been carried out by the EU-funded Work Process Knowledge network involving researchers from several European countries. The focus was on making transparent the shared 'work process knowledge' in different industrial and service organisations. (Results have been reported in book publications in 2000 - 2004.)
- Research on 'informal learning' has mainly become known via the work of professor Michael Eraut and his associates in England which gained broad Europe-wide attention (Results have been reported in books and articles between 1994 and 2004.)
- Research on 'knowledge maturing' referes to the earlier EU FP7 project Mature-IP (Continuos Social Learning in Knowledge Networks) that studied knowledge processes mainly in occupations that were perceived as "knowledge work" and in which networking was considered as key to success. (Results have been reported in books and articles between 2008 and 2012.)
The aim of the review is to find out,
- to what extent the initial empirical findings of the LL project (interview material and Focus Group material) can be (re)conceptualised with the help of the said approaches and
- to what extent the approaches complement each other when used to examine the data collected from interviews and focus group meetings in the construction sector.
This phase of work paves the way for further analyses on prior research that focuses more closely on the construction sector, on participative design-oriented work research and on studies on cluster development as means to promote innovation in working life.
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