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Project-based vocational education and training: opportunities for teacher guidance in a Swedish upper secondary school
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 1363-6820, E-ISSN 1747-5090, Vol. 67, no 2, p. 187-202Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Project-based vocational education and training (PBVET) is a way to conduct vocational education in Swedish construction programmes. The educational settings used include projects ranging from minor construction to advanced houses. Due to limited research on this kind of educational setting, it is important to further develop knowledge on affordances in a PBVET. The aim of this study is to describe and analyse teachers’ perception on opportunities for teacher guidance provided in a PBVET. From this broad aim, the following research question is addressed: how do teachers view PBVET as (a) framing possibilities for their practice, (b) affecting students’ learning and (c) presenting challenges in this learning environment? Adopted methods for this study are observations and interviews. Observations were made at a PBVET worksite, which were then used in stimulated recall interviews. The findings show that this PBVET affects both teachers’ opportunities to perform teacher guidance as well as students’ possibilities for learning. This appears to be related to the structure in this PBVET which can be seen as operating within different activity systems. Hence, an interaction between these systems is likely the most important issue that needs to be resolved when conducting vocational education as a PBVET.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 67, no 2, p. 187-202
Keywords [en]
VET and development, learning in the professions, vocational education and training, vocational and educational guidance, workplace learning
National Category
Learning
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-102810DOI: 10.1080/13636820.2014.983957ISI: 000374507800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-102810DiVA, id: diva2:809787
Available from: 2015-05-05 Created: 2015-05-05 Last updated: 2018-06-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Becoming a construction worker: a study of vocational learning in school and work life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Becoming a construction worker: a study of vocational learning in school and work life
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis describes and analyses vocational learning in school and workplaces, particularly the vocational learning involved in becoming a construction worker in Sweden. This includes learning the trade in upper secondary school education and a subsequent apprenticeship. An underlying argument is that activities in these contexts enable a diverse vocational learning outcome. However, there are potential tensions and contradictions, especially between production- and education-oriented aspects of the learning activities in these settings. To address these and associated issues, two research questions were posed. First, how do work-based activities enable vocational learning? Second, what forms of learning are enabled in school and work life settings and how are these forms of learning constituted? These questions were addressed using information drawn from observations, interviews and a survey. Analyses of the data, using a theoretical framework based on activity and forms of learning theory, show that the school and workplace settings enable different types of learning that form a joint constructed object. Further, the contexts provide diverse tasks that, with guidance from more experienced persons, can enhance the learning outcomes. So, vocational learning is enabled through tensions in the activity systems that form a learning outcome. In project-based vocational education and training (PBVET) provided in upper secondary school, vocational learning is enabled through basic training and opportunities to learn key techniques. In subsequent apprenticeships, the transformation of basic knowledge into specialized knowledge is enabled through close guidance and by the apprentices performing complex tasks. There are also clear differences in the freedom allowed in the performance of tasks between the PBVET and apprenticeships. The PBVET does not allow students to develop and apply their own solutions, while apprentices are encouraged to discover and implement solutions that enhance the performance of tasks. So, different forms of learning are enabled in the two contexts; the PBVET largely promotes reproductive learning and the apprenticeships largely promote productive learning. Scope for improvement was detected, as the PBVET does not appear to provide knowledge that fully meets criteria in the syllabuses, and the apprenticeship does not fully meet the learners’ educational needs. However, the settings provide complementary vocational learning opportunities. Thus, tensions and contradictions can be identified in the activity systems in the school and workplace settings that collectively form the boundaries of a learning outcome that largely corresponds to what the learners need to know and (hence) become construction workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2017. p. 53
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 122
Keywords
Vocational education and training (VET), upper secondary school, post-secondary apprenticeship, activity theory, levels of learning, apprenticeship curriculum, woodworker, construction programme
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-132075 (URN)978-91-7601-673-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-04-07, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-03-17 Created: 2017-03-03 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Fjellström, Magnus

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