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Learning as an apprentice in Sweden: A comparative study on affordances for vocational learning in school and work life apprentice education
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
2016 (English)In: Education + Training, ISSN 0040-0912, E-ISSN 1758-6127, Vol. 58, no 6, 629-642 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare, and identify both similarities and differences in, affordances for vocational learning in two contrasting education systems, for construction worker and shop salesperson apprentices, in Swedish contexts.

Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected through interviews and observations in two research projects, each addressing relevant aspects of one of the focal educational systems. A framework consisting of identified goals, activities and guidance was applied in the analysis.

Findings - The results show that the affordances for learning in the examined educational systems are dependent on the learners' access to, and participation in, workplace activities. A conclusion is that workplace demands override educational goals in both cases. Thus, the affordances for learning related to both individual and educational goals are dependent on the access to guidance during workplace activities.

Originality/value - The study highlights constraints between educational goals and workplace affordances in both apprenticeship systems, which largely develop vocational competencies related to specific workplace demands and activities. A presented model regards apprenticeships as vocational and educational training in workplaces is outlined that enable a deeper understanding of the correspondence between individual, educational and workplace goals that forms the type of activity which leads to a learning outcome.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 58, no 6, 629-642 p.
Keyword [en]
Work-based learning, Apprenticeship curriculum, Employed apprentices, Upper secondary apprenticeship education, Vocational education and training (VET), Workplace curriculum
National Category
Learning Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-124524DOI: 10.1108/ET-12-2015-0113ISI: 000379771800006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-124524DiVA: diva2:953182
Available from: 2016-08-17 Created: 2016-08-15 Last updated: 2017-03-03Bibliographically 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. 53 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 122
Keyword
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: 2017-03-30Bibliographically approved

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Fjellström, MagnusKristmansson, Per
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