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VETNET ECER 2002 Proceedings: Abstracts 

The abstracts or introductions compiled below are related to the proposals or final papers.

Bauer et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

In 1997, a new curricular framework for VET-schools called ‘learning fields’ was implemented in Germany. As a result vocational curricula with their elements and contents should be related to work and business processes and described on the basis of competences. Regarding the German tradition of curricula a paradigm shift can be observed, because earlier curricula were organised according to a discipline structure.  1998 a pilot project programme was launched focussing on ‘new learning concepts…’. A lot of the involved projects were constructing ‘learning fields’ and implemented these in VET schools. They developed concepts for the empirical analysis of work processes or tasks and identified required competences as a basis for curricula, intending to link qualification research with curriculum development in this way.  Analysing the different approaches it is obvious that an integrated concept regarding the analysis of work and the transformation of the empirical results into curricula is necessary. This also implies a model of competence development, because the focus of this kind of VET research is finally teaching and learning practices in VET schools. Research in this perspective can only be executed domain specific, because it has to deal with the contents and forms of expertise in an occupational field and therefore with the in-depth structure of knowledge and skills.

Billett 2002  [Back to list of papers]

This paper invites critical appraisal of three interrelated conceptual tools used to propose how curriculum goals and content, and pedagogic practices might be advanced for vocational education. The common foundation of these tools is there association with what has come to be known as socio-historical activity theory. Firstly, an account of the social sources of vocational knowledge comprising history, culture and situation is proposed as providing a basis to understand the canonical requirements of vocational practice as well as its manifestations in actual practice. Secondly, learning vocational practice can be understood in terms of participatory practice which is on the one hand, the way that individuals are invited to participate in activities and afforded support by the social practice and on the other, how they elect to engage in the activities and interactions that are afforded by the vocational college or workplace. Thirdly, illuminating both the two earlier points, it is possible to use categories of activities and interactions to describe the requirements for work and, hence, the goals for learning specific vocational practice; and also to delineate participatory practices.

Dif 2002 [Back to list of papers]

The accreditation of experiential learning (AEL),  in French context, is an individualised right for continuing direct  access to certification, further formal and non-formal learning and socio-professional promotion. Its introduction has been a gradual process. First, only practitioners in engineering could be accredited as engineers (1934 Act). In the mid-eighties, the 1985 Decree extended it, at the university level, to include supervisors, technicians and management executives. Its generalisation to all categories of working individuals (via the 1992 Act), has been extended and enriched by the Social Modernisation Law (17 January 2002) to include, in addition to work-based learning,  learning gained through social and cultural activities. In this context, the focus of this paper will be an investigation, through its two basic sections,  into the performance of the AEL regime within the overall educational and training system. In the first section, the formal and effective functioning of the AEL regime will be examined. Drawing upon the results of recent evaluation surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education and some of the qualitative findings of “FAME” Project Field investigation, the second section of the paper will be an evaluation of AEL’s effective contributions to lifelong learning and socio-professional promotion of its beneficiaries.

Ellström-Eva et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze the learning environment within home-help services within a Swedish municipality. The focus concerns to what extent the working conditions, in a broad sense, are likely to facilitate or restrict on-the-job learning about care provision, and, thereby, the staff's capacity to cope with the complex tasks and demands that they face in their day-to-day work.

Fischer et al. 2002a [Back to list of papers]

The concept of organisational learning as differentiated from individual learning is often lacking of theoretical clarification and empirical evidence. This contribution presents findings from the 5th FP project OrgLearn, i.e. results of an empirical investigation into processes of organisational learning in large chemical companies within 4 European countries. One essential content of measures for organisational learning found in our empirical investigation are methods of knowledge sharing and knowledge management. In particular, a case study from Germany is presented which describes both a managerial and a participatory approach. 

Gendron 2002  [Back to list of papers]
An introduction to the origins or genesis of the APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) philosophy or rational in France, especially in the context of the French competence model and lifelong learning perspective. 

Gielen et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This contribution is targeted at the way agricultural entrepreneurs organise their learning processes and are innovative and enterpreneurial. Within small companies, the entrepreneur has a pivotal role in the innovative process: the entrepreneur is the professional learner. In high-tech sectors in particular, as Dutch agriculture can be characterised, this learning and innovative capacity is essential for economic survival. The data are collected through nine in-depth interviews in an explorative study. In the next phase information is gathered through 750 questionaires, followed by 15 in-depth interviews. On these data analyses are made of learning processes of entrepreneurs.

Griffiths et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper draws upon research in the field of Cultural Historical Activity Theory in order to provide a new theoretical and methodological framework for analysing work experience and identifying the social and cultural practices which support the production of new knowledge. In doing so, it builds upon recent work (Griffiths et al 2001, Guile and Griffiths 2001) which has explored knowledge development and learning, raising questions for research, policy and practice. The paper describes the potential of a ‘connective model’ of learning as a way of reformulating and addressing questions of learning and knowledge development in and between different contexts. There are, for example, implications for the idea and development of ‘work process knowledge’.

Grollmann 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This presentation summarises results of a comparative study on the "professional reality" of vocational teachers and instructors in Denmark, Germany and the US. The results presented draw from a multilevel research design, which covers literature and source reviews, expert interviews as well as ethnographic visits to schools and colleges combined with
>semi-structured interviews with vocational teachers and administrators. It will be shown that the conceptions of "good" or "best" institutional and individual practice are shaped by the cultural and societal values and norms mediated through the shape of the institutions and programmes of vocational learning and vocational teacher education in the respective countries. However, there are also some generalisable findings which can be made on the cross-national level. Those will be put into relation to the possibilities and limitations of international (or European) professional standards.

Guest 2002 [Back to list of papers]

The most dramatic change has been the growth of the knowledge society or learning society.  This is truly global in nature; it functions increasingly through virtual networks and has powerful implications for the ways in which we learn and work.To put these changes into a professional context I want first to consider continuing professional development (CPD), which I define as follows:
The systematic maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills and competence, and enhancement of learning, undertaken by a person throughout his or her working life.



Halliday et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper forms part of a larger project and detailed theoretical account of learning that will be published in the North American journal Educational Theory. By informal learning we simply mean learning that does not involve a designated teacher, instructor or trainer charged with the task of enabling the learning. We are concerned here with what might be called non-academic workplaces – the sort of places where people in the main use tools other than pens and paper – the sort of places where people learn through doing – they learn as they work. In these places many of the learning theories favoured by teaching and training organisations seem irrelevant. In these places learning seems closely connected with the ability to judge with ever increasing sensitivity to differing contexts. This paper offers a theory of such learning based in the work of MacIntyre and Dewey. We argue that this theory is also applicable to the way that people learn the practices of a society in general. In other words by concentrating on informal learning at work, we believe we get an important insight into learning in general. What might be called academic learning is merely a special case of learning and certainly not a paradigm case. First we outline the theory. Second we consider some interesting cases. Finally we invite readers to offer us examples of how the theory might or might not be applied in workplaces with which they might be familiar. Please contact j.s.halliday@strath.ac.uk

Heidegger et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

The awareness for gender issues must generally be raised to draw the attention to necessary but also non necessary gender specifications of competencies and in jobs and occupations. Above that it should be noted that “male” and “female” competencies always refer to an artificial “average” person. Everybody will display more or less male or female features with respect to different dimensions of competencies. People should be supported in developing their strengths, regardless of their sex. One should try to avoid “reducing” them to the presupposed “average” or “typical” woman or man.

Juceviciene 2002 [Back to list of papers]

A learning organisation is a state every organisation should be wishing to achieve, if it chooses to successfully act in the knowledge society. It should be acknowledged, however, that a learning organisation is a construct, and not a settled social phenomenon; therefore, it requires effort to develop an organisation into a learning organisation. This demands different kind of resources, and first of all - competencies of contemporary management and a democratic tradition, both of which are problematic in countries undergoing transition to a market economy.  Nevertheless, the question arises, if it might be possible to detect a learning organisation already existing in some more successfully developing countries, pre-accessing the EU. If the phenomenon does not prevail in total, maybe some of its features exist? What would those be? Would this endorse the findings of foreign scholars who have noted that the features of a learning organisation are more likely to appear in business or industrial institutions, than in non-profit organisations, for instance, in educational institutions.  The present paper aims at answering the questions above with the objective to analyze several organisations of different types (business and education) which have been successfully operating in a pre-accession country, trying to detect the features of a learning organisation and to compare these manifestations, at the same time drawing parallels to the tendencies showing up in Western countries. Research methodology is based on the learning organisation characteristics determined by Pedler Burgoyne, Boydell (1991).

Kauppi et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

The polytechnic-system was founded in Finland in 1991 and formed in the late 1990s. Vocational teacher education was attached to the polytechnics in 1997. The polytechnics legislation defined research as one of the tasks of the polytechnics. However, it was and still is unclear what the essential features of research in polytechnics are. Helia School of Vocational Teacher Education produced a research and development strategy in 2001, where the direction and form of research activity was defined. The research has been organised through research clusters containing research projects in similar subject areas  building the relation between education and working life. The short presentations in the beginning of the workshop concentrate on different dimensions of polytechnics research including development-oriented methodology, model development, definitions of prerequisites for learning and experiments in practice,. The workshop concentrates on problematising research in vocational teacher education and discussing alternative approaches.

Lahn 2002 [Back to list of papers]

My presentation is based on a 4th Framework project called “Working life changes and the training of older workers” (WORKTOW) with partners in the UK, Finland and Norway – and associated activities in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy. We challenged the wide-spread belief in late career as a period of decline in work performance and learning capacity.  Also the need for a differentiated policy of HRD was highlighted since individual and contextual variations are growing with increasing age.  A third challenge was located at the macro-political level where a change in strategy took place in many European countries – from keeping the older workers out of burdening pension and social security budgets to one that promotes the productive potential of this group in labour markets where expertise is a scarce resource. In short - from a policy of  detainment to one of competence development.

Lasonen 2002 [Back to list of papers]

Internationalisation of training and education may be contradictory concepts to intercultural education. The former supports globalisation of the economy and the latter explains intercultural communication and mutual learning. The paper will map the role of intercultural/multicultural competences in a vocational teacher’s work in the field of music. The informant of the case study is a music teacher. The method that was used is a thematic interview with a narrative and biographical perspective. The multicultural dimensions of the music teachers’ work is related to the field itself and to the teaching profession. Although internationalisation is a part of the objectives of official educational policy and vocational teachers’ expertise, their experiences may not be explicitly utilized in teaching and learning and in staff development. 



Lindell 2002 [Back to list of papers]

Advanced vocational education (AVE) has been an established post-secondary education in Sweden since January 1st 2002. With AVE one third of the course time is devoted to ad-vanced application of theoretical knowledge at a workplace. From its start in 1996 as a pilot project, over 5000 students have today graduated from the approximately 250 different AVE programs available. The purpose with this paper is to present findings from a research project focusing on what has happened with the graduates entering the labour market. The signifi-cance of this paper is that it uses unique longitudinal data from three sets of student question-naires collected in 1999, 2000 and 2001 by Luleå University of Technology and Statistics Sweden. Results of the study show that approximately 82 % of the graduated AVE students had a job six months after graduation and that about 7 % of them had continued studying at universities. The author acknowledges financial support by the Swedish office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation.

Marhuenda 2002 [Back to list of papers]

Based upon the presentations of some of my colleagues from the Spanish team of the FAME project, I intend to work here with the seven factors related to vocational identity presented by Martínez (2002), using also the discourses that emerge from the perspectives of the teachers (Ros, 2002) and the students (Navas, 2002) in the sector in the Valencian Region. We will finally relate them to the typology of discourses of the employees provided by Martínez (2002).

Marhuenda et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This research workshop focuses on the study of the formation of vocational identities in educational settings. This is an issue common to two lines of research funded by the EU (5th FP) and by the Spanish Ministery of Science and Technology. The presenters of this workshop are members to the teams of both research projects, and the discussant is member of the international team of the European funded research.
The workshop focuses on methodological issues embedded in both projects: how to access workers, employers and young people in order to find out about their views on their vocational identities, how to identify the relevant elements contributing to the formation of such identities, how to gain knowledge on those aspects which are crucial for the processes of identity formation. The workshop will introduce the audience to the tools the teams have used for data gathering and will then deal with the problems we have found when interpreting and analysing the information.

Martínez et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This research workshop focuses on the study of the formation of vocational identities in educational settings. This is an issue common to two lines of research funded by the EU (5th FP) and by the Spanish Ministery of Science and Technology. The presenters of this workshop are members to the teams of both research projects, and the discussant is member of the international team of the European funded research. The workshop focuses on methodological issues embedded in both projects: how to access workers, employers and young people in order to find out about their views on their vocational identities, how to identify the relevant elements contributing to the formation of such identities, how to gain knowledge on those aspects which are crucial for the processes of identity formation. The workshop will introduce the audience to the tools the teams have used for data gathering and will then deal with the problems we have found when interpreting and analysing the information.

Navas et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

Today VET Students, Workers of Tomorrow This paper draws upon qualitative data from a research project (Vocational identity, flexibility and mobility in the European labour market - FAME) funded under the 5th Framework Programme of the EU. The data used here was obtained using several research tools as part of the research we conducted in Spain. It is about work in progress. It relates a part of the project that aims to explore the relationship between Vocational and Educational Training System of the Tourism sector and the identity formation of the participants as workers. The transformations that happen in the European labour market have a direct influence on the conception of the self- identity as a worker. The sample we have used consists of all the students of Cookery and Hostelling, both of which are certificated courses that belong to the formal system of Tourism . We are exploring the similarities, differences and peculiarities that these students have in their understanding of the meaning of work. This research enables us to understand how current fundamental aspects and changes in the labour market are impacting on student's daily work and their self-identity formation in a specific productive sector. Insights from the research allows us to define the appropriateness of the educational formal system on VET- education in relation to the new demands of the labour market on the Tourism sector.

Niemeyer et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper mainly draws from the empirical research carried out in relation with the Leonardo project  “Re-Integration. Transnational evaluation of social and professional re-integration programmes for young people”, which, building on a multi-level approach, aims at a systematic evaluation of Re-Enter programs applying situated learning on a transnational basis, including the development of appropriate tools for a primary evaluation. The leading questions are: How does situated learning help to improve Re-Enter programs? How can the improvement of Re-Enter programs through situated learning be assessed? 
The following contributions give insight in current research and focus on three different perspectives. The first paper (Sue Cranmer, UK) presents the individual perspective on social and vocational integration and critically  asks if and how programmes meet individual needs or encourage personality development and self-responsibility of the young participants. The second contribution (Inka Neunaber, Germany) presents a German example of further training of trainers working in integration programmes and in the third paper (Eeva Lamminpaa, Finnland) the specific action research approach is introduced and crucial methodological issues are raised.

Nyhan et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper is based on the results of a group of researchers who have collaborated in  exploring and promoting European perspectives on the learning organisation. The work took place in the framework of the Cedefop research arena (Cedra). The aim of what came to be called the ‘Cedra learning organisation project’ has been to reflect on recent EU funded research in order to identify underlying patterns regarding the issues raised and discuss the dilemmas encountered and barriers faced concerning the implementation of the learning organisation concept in Europe.

Ros 2002  [Back to list of papers]

This work is presented within the framework of the research  “Vocational identity, flexibility and mobility in the European labour market” (HPSE-CT-1999-00042), funded by the 5th Framework Programme of the European Union. It attempts to analyse the notions of work that vocational education teachers in the field of tourism have, both in relation to their work as teachers and to the profession for which they are training. We want to find out what is the impact of these notions upon the images of profession that they portray to students in their schools, particularly in a sector which demands flexibility on the side of workers; in which there is not a long tradition in formal vocational education and in which there is a strong appeal in the region for its contribution to the economic growth. The result is a labour market with great mobility.
What are the identity features of vocational education teachers? Our analyses will be based upon the replies of these teachers to a questionnaire, which interrogates the following points: work trajectory, vocational call, VET's views, relation between labour market and VET, teachers work as teacher and career expectations.

Salvà et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper contains a presentation of a research study into Minimum Income Scheme programmes. This is an exploratory study, consisting of a deferred evaluation of the participants of these programmes.
The document is divided into the following sections:
- Minimum Income Scheme programmes (or M.I.S programmes) and the request for their evaluation.
- The characteristics of the evaluation.
- The results of the research study.

Shepherd et al. 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper is based upon a LEONARDO project (1997-2000), designed to address a European Commission priority of combating the exclusion of those disadvantaged in the labour market.  The project involves comparative research into the effectiveness of Returner courses in enabling women to make a sustained return to paid employment.  Four European countries (France, Spain, Ireland and the UK) participated in the project and one of the aims was to develop guidelines for the design, content and delivery of Returner programmes.  It is these guidelines and some of the methodological and practical issues associated with conducting Transnational research which constitutes the focus of the paper.

Stenström 2002 [Back to list of papers]

Over the nineties, adult education has emerged, in Finland, as an increasingly important component of national educational policy and planning. As a result of structural change in trade and industry and on the labour market, lifelong learning has become an important principle underpinning educational policy. In addition to features of the postmodern society, adult education is being challenged also by an increasingly elderly age structure. The purpose of the presentation is to describe, drawing on the results of a questionnaire survey, educational aspirations and motivation among Finnish mature students. Subjects are adults over 40 (n=389) who attended adult education centres and apprenticeship centres in spring 2001. The results made it possible to distinguish between three groups with distinct levels of educational aspiration: subjects with high, moderate and low educational aspirations. There were differences among the three groups concerning gender, family situation, educational background, age, the degree of own initiative behind the decision to return to education, level of degree orientation, and appreciation of IT skills. The study confirms the fact that it is those most in need of education and training who are least motivated to go back to education, while those least in need of education and training are active students. In order to boost adult people’s educational motivation we need knowledge that will help us to foster adult learning and develop teaching adjusted to the requirements of adult learners. However, education for the aging is not only about pedagogical solutions: upgrading outdated education and obsolete occupational skills is a social policy issue.

Stewart et al. 2002  [Back to list of papers]

This paper provides an overview of the role and contribution of mentoring in the context of an innovative degree programme, which involves undergraduate students spending the second and third year of their degree in-company.  As well as describing the process within the context of the degree, the paper also examines the particular mentoring design features.  One of these of specific interest is the shared mentoring role of academic members of staff and in-company managers.  Each student therefore has an academic and work-based mentor.  Another feature of interest is the variety of roles adopted by each of these mentors.  These include, coacher, facilitator, networker, counsellor.  In addition, the mentors share a role in assessing students work in relation to their skills development.  The latter focuses on what are generally termed as transferable skills, namely; communication, teamworking, adaptability and leadership.  Hence the mentoring relationship aims to provide assistance and encouragement to the student in three distinct areas; namely academic, professional and personal development. 

Winterton 2002 [Back to list of papers]

This paper draws upon the Leonardo project DEVELOP (January 1997-December 1999) as well as several research projects on management development and work organization.  The DEVELOP project, involving social partner organizations and research institutes from five member states, designed a CD-ROM containing a pilot version of a multi-media learning experience for managers to facilitate integrated learning and development in through the adoption of Learning Organization principles.  The integrated development model has subsequently been developed further as a consulting tool and is being implemented in several organizations by The Andorra Group Limited.

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