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VETNET ECER 2003 Proceedings: Abstracts 

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

Aarkrog [Back to list of papers]

The Danish vocational training programmes are based on the dual training principle. The apprentices often find it difficult to perceive the coherence between the school-based and work-based parts of the programmes. The paper is an outline of a model, which shows the coherence between categories of practice situations and ways of transfer. Two variables are applied to categorize four practice situations. The one variable is degree of predictability, which is made operative by using Ellströms framework for defining categories of learning. The other variable is time for thinking in the practice situation. The four categories of practice situations ask for different kinds of transfer. As concerns the contents of transfer a distinction is made between ‘need to know’ and ‘nice to know’. As concerns the ways of transfer a distinction is made between transferring before and during the action or after the action.

Bank [Back to list of papers]

The theory of learning is crucial to an infinite number of theoretical and practical issues. There is, however, a great number of concurrent theories that are to contribute to its understanding. Despite this great variety in theoretical concepts, none of them is able to cover the whole width of possible learning situations. In this paper, learning theories will be classified and on the basis of the outcomes of comparative experience in different systems of vocational education, a conception will be developed to integrate the different approaches.
    It is shown that not only the theory of learning must acknowledge at least two different theoretical conceptions but also that the teaching of experience-oriented and that of insight-oriented topics necessitate distinguishable didactical conceptions. This difference can be attributed to the learning contexts of schools and of in-company training or learning on-the-job.

Benke [Back to list of papers]

At the threshold of Hungary's joining to the EU it is important to discuss the EU-countries' vocational education, training and employment policy issues. One of the most important among these is the social dialogue, channelling social partners more strongly into the decision making process regarding vocational education and training. Our research examined the experiences of social partners' role in shaping decisions in eight EU-countries (Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Sweden). We aimed to formulate some lessons for the analysis and further development of social partnership in Hungary.

Biemans et al.  [Back to list of papers]

In the Dutch VET system, competence-based education is the leading paradigm for innovation both on systems´ level and on the level of teaching and learning arrangements. This phenomenon was the impetus for organising a scientific conference in October 2002, under the umbrella of the Dutch Educational Research Association (VOR), to bring to the fore a diversity of results of educational research related to competence-based VET. This paper provides an analysis of the competence concept and its popularity and an internationally embedded historical analysis of the development of competence-based education. Moreover, based on the presentations of the October conference, (possible) pitfalls and roads for future development will be sketched.

Billett (a) [Back to list of papers]

This paper examines how the learning of new practices occurs in small businesses. Using an analysis of how small businesses learnt to implement a nationally-legislated goods and service tax (Billett, Ehrich & Hernon-Tinning 2002), this paper identifies and elaborates the role played by localised support in: (i) developing an understanding of a new practice (i.e. a taxation system;(ii) its implications for the particular small business; and (iii) providing assistance with the implementation, monitoring and refinement of small business operators’ and workers’ capacity to ultimately enact the practice independently. It also identifies the key role played by the agentic actions of the small business operators, which was largely premised on their interest in what has to be learnt. Together, with the localised support this action constituted instances of learning spaces that are distinct and remote from the provision of taught courses within educational institutions. These interactions suggest the need for a broadened conception of what constitutes legitimate learning situations and pedagogic practices.

Billett (b) [Back to list of papers]

This paper draws on a series of studies of workplace learning experiences to identify and illuminate a set of reciprocal participatory practices that constitute bases for workplace pedagogic practices. These practices are, on the one hand, how workplaces afford opportunities for individuals to participate in the workplace activities and interactions from which they initially learn, refine and extend what they have learnt. These affordances distribute the opportunities for what and in what ways individuals are invited to learn in the workplace. On the other hand, is the degree by which individuals elect to engage in the workplace and learn. Underpinning this engagement are bases of identity, self and subjectivity, that shape participation in and learning from social practices such as workplaces. These reciprocal premises are explored and elaborated drawing on data from studies of learning in contemporary workplaces. In particular, an investigation of three workers over a period of six months is used to Illustrator and illuminate these reciprocal practices.

Bruijn et al.[Back to list of papers]

The research project focuses on the teaching and learning processes within school based vocational courses at senior secondary level in the Netherlands. The central research problem addresses the relationship between characteristics of various teaching and learning practices and course results. Eleven case studies were conducted in which a small cohort of students were observed during one year with respect to their lessons and learning activities as well as to their learning results. The concept of ‘powerful learning environments’ (De Corte, 1990) theoretically underpinned the classification of actual teaching and learning practices on several indicators of ‘powerfulness’. Progress and drop out served as indicators of course results. Also the intermediate effect of motivation aspects was included in the analysis of the relationship between the teaching and learning practise of these eleven courses and the results of the approximately 200 students who attended these courses.

Deitmer et al. [Back to list of papers]

The assessment of the VET-programme "New Learning Concepts in the Dual Vocational Education and Training" has been recently finalised. These comprehensive studies summarise the impacts of the pilot projects on curriculum/ school organisational development and teaching/learning processes. Central empirical results and research findings are presented from different perspectives: project actors, accompanying researcher as well as the programme management team . The main theme of this contribution will be to what extend innovative change in VET-institutions and on the side of VET professionals is possible. 
    Based on a threefold systematic - enquiry under all pilot project actors; a formative evaluation discourse asking for the specific project contribution, a final questionnaire under all programme stakeholders and the analysis of project written reports, - central impacts and effects on work oriented curricula implementation, in parallel developing the school organisation and the teaching and learning processes are evaluated. The outcomes and effects on change processes are assessed under evaluation dimensions like transfer effects, knowledge progress and to what extend new educational practice has been reached. Important success factors for educational change and effective dissemination can be set up. 

Dif [Back to list of papers]

The telecommunication sector is taking the lead within the dynamics of occupational identity transformation with an important restructuring spill-over effect on the rest of the sectors in Europe. The traditional profession-based “corporatist/careerist” model of occupational identities is declining and leaving the place to the emerging “negotiator-network/mobility” mode of socialisation at work. The latter is based on a high level of work-related learning, interactivity, flexibility and mobility with openness to change and strong identification with the quality of products and services provided to customers.  It is mainly taken in charge by a new generation of telecom workers viewed as “neo-careerists”, more proactive, mobile and flexible in the construction of their occupational identities and their project-based work in accordance with the emerging “user-provider” concept of work. 
    On the basis of a qualitative analysis of the results obtained at the level of the telecommunication sector, the paper will be an investigation into the nature, direction and implications of this change, through three basic sections. The first section will be an introduction of the contextual background requirements for change, taken from employers’ perspective. The second section will be an examination of the employees’ response and mode of socialisation at work. The last section will be for some overall conclusions and policy recommendations on national and European levels.

Esch [Back to list of papers]

In recent policy notes a cultural change into the direction of the student's perspective has taken place instead of the institutional perspective as was the case in recent periods. The guiding principle is that the career of the student is central, that education and training pathways should be made to measure in behalf of the career and that there should be a coherent vocation directed pedagogic and didactic approach. A central condition is reinforcement of the cooperation between schools in the vocational field. In order to realise the strengthening of the vocational route the central government has offered an extra policy impulse to vocational schools (pre-vocational, secondary and higher vocational schools) and national bodies. CINOP Policy Research and Consultancy monitors the extra incentives for secondary and higher vocational schools and national bodies. The monitor is called the Impulse monitor. At the ECER Lisbon we presented first results of the monitor. At ECER Hamburg we will present results of the second measurement. 

Festová, Jeny [Back to list of papers]

As about 80% of Czech population goes through secondary VET providing professional qualifications there is an important issue if acquired education of secondary VET school leavers is in agreement with their performed jobs. In 1998 the National Institute of Technical and Vocational Education (NUOV) undertook a study “Labour Market Success of Secondary VET School Leavers” which deals with the placement of school leavers in the world of work, preferably from the viewpoint of matching acquired education with performed job. The analysis helped to explain the present problem of the shortage of secondary VET workers in some professions in the Czech Republic. Conclusions of the analysis showed a considerable disagreement between acquired education and performed job. The comparison confirmed that development in last five years has tended to the deterioration of matching acquired education with performed job of the secondary VET school leavers.

Field [Back to list of papers]

A number of studies in recent years have explored connections between human capital and social capital. However, most have concentrated on schooling, with little attention being given to vocational training or to learning in adult life. Drawing on data from a social attitudes survey in Northern Ireland, the paper presents evidence of a generally positive relationship between involvement in associational activities on the one hand and affirmative orientations towards lifelong learning. Thus, those who are engaged in a particular activity are considerably more likely to value lifelong learning than those who are not so engaged. Yet the survey also shows that those who were most clear about their own lack of involvement in a given activity were more positive towards lifelong learning than those who were indifferent towards the activity. The relationship between social capital and lifelong learning is therefore complex and multifaceted, rather than unilinear and simple. 

Fuller [Back to list of papers]

Policy makers internationally have been increasingly preoccupied with finding ways to foster lifelong learning.  This interest has been replicated at national level in countries such as the United Kingdom.  This paper suggests that approaches which combine work and study can play a central role in encouraging lifelong learning as well as having strong pedagogical merit.  Two ‘combined models’ are used to illustrate the argument: apprenticeship where it affords opportunities for learning in the workplace and in specialist educational institutions, and the option for people to participate in part-time higher education while working). In this paper I suggest that the pedagogical benefits that underpin combined approaches can have a positive effect on  individuals’ learning and deserve to be taken more seriously by policy makers whose goals  include increasing adult participation and attainment, or put within the context of this conference ‘to foster the will to learn’.

Fuller et al. [Back to list of papers]

This paper provides a summary of our emerging theoretical insights into the ways in which people interact as ‘teachers’ and learners in the workplace.  The paper draws on our research into the relationship between apprentices and experienced workers in a range of private sector companies in England and Wales.  This has led us to question the assumption behind situated learning theory that all novices proceed on a linear journey from ‘newcomer’ to ‘oldtimer’, with their progress dependent on the extent to which their participation is facilitated by the ‘experts’. In this paper, we pursue two themes.  Firstly, we challenge the assumption that expertise is equated solely with status and experience in the workplace and, secondly, we challenge the concept of the novice.

Gendron [Back to list of papers]

Training programs integrating new technologies based on computer and electronic network are growing since few years. In France, for instance, but as abroad, courses available on internet are growing and ICT and E-learning projects, virtual universities, abound. Nevertheless, number of ICT projects since 2001 have failed because they didn’t identify clearly the needs. What is the pedagogical impact of ICT on learning and transmitting knowledge? To question this issue, in a first part, we will see in what new technologies modify the conditions of access to the information and to knowledge. In a second part, we will see that the modification of relationships between trainees and trainers introduced into such new devices of training (integrating ICT) can be destabilizing at more than one level. Finally, in a last part, we will show that their efficiency is conditioned in an optimal relationship “human-machine”, and consequently by the capacity of organizations to be estimated potential and results of these new tools in their training policies.

Görgenyi Modla [Back to list of papers]

In the course of our preparations for European Union accession, we are dealing more and more with the often inseparable issues of standardisation and quality development within the overall formation of the strategy for Hungarian vocational training and the development of vocational training, itself. Issues in requiring of integrated solutions such as mobility, transparency and permeability, that greatly affect training  and employment policies, as well as the economy on the whole, now fulfill a accentuated role in the Hungarian vocational training. In Hungary, a quality development vocational training model has been developed, but at the same time, vocational institutes have the chance to apply other types of models and systems, as well.

Hardy [Back to list of papers]

Our most recent research into vocational education programs has demonstrated that, in Québec, work-based learning has been aimed primarily at the rapid insertion of students into the workplace and that it has taken little advantage of the educational resources made available by host companies. These findings have prompted the design of a new project that I am now presenting here. Its general objective is to: Analyze the work-based learning experiences of students in vocational and technical education programs with a view to improving the quality of these students’ work-based learning. The theoretical framework is based on the socio-cultural tradition of learning called Activity Theory, which is characterized by situated learning and the community of practice. Our plans call for conducting research into four programs, two of which are vocational education programs, with the other two being technical education programs in the sectors of computer science and industrial metal fabrication. The methodology is oriented towards analyzing the progression in complexity of students’ learning experiences from the beginning to the end of their studies and towards analyzing the forms of supervision provided by the workplace and the school.

Heikkinen et al. [Back to list of papers]

The aim of the EU 5th framework supported research project Genderqual (2000-2002) was to explore the contribution of actual VET practices to ongoing gender segregation by enhancing gendered key (core) competences, to find out about specific key (core) competences relating to gender, to explore the conditions for the development of key (core) competences beyond gender segregation, to find out about gender specific strategies in the approach of situations of occupational change and the impact on the performance of men and women on the labour market; and to develop recommendations for transcending gender barriers and gender segregation in the European VET systems with regard to key (core) competences. 
    Leonardo surveys & analysis-project Re-integration started in spring 2001. The project builds on the results of previous Re-Enter research (1999-2000). The main goal of the project is to develop analytical model in order to carry out a primary evaluation of re-integration schemes. The international collaboration aims to develop a multi-level evaluation model on trans-national basis. The other goal is to assess the validity of the model developed for primary evaluation by applying it to different re-integration schemes.

Hozjan [Back to list of papers]

In the seminar we will deal with the issue of creating an identity on the level of a professional discourse. Professional identity within the globalisation of the society and economy does not form merely as a static formation defined by predeteminination, for its foundation is also formed on the basis of flexibility, mobility and diffusion. Due to the aforementioned characteristics it might be wise to define professional identity as a network identity. In order to precisely define the basic characteristics that form the contemporary network professional identity we have divided the analysis of the determinants that form the professional identity into two basic groups of factors: a. psychological and b. sociologic.

Kärkkäinen [Back to list of papers]

The rapid development and change of working life is putting pressure on education centres today. Cycles of change in work organizations are becoming shorter and the change processes are increasingly complex. These change processes call for a new type of learning: expansive learning in which the practitioners jointly analyze the causes of problems in their work practice and create through experimentation a new model for their activity. Adulta, studied in this paper, is one of Finland's largest adult education centres. The training it provides is tailored to meet the needs of private companies and public institutions. In Adulta, the training work can be organised in a new way. What is needed is a new working method, which encounter better customer needs and includes partnership with customers. There is a need for better cooperation between the trainers as well. The new working method that is developed in the change laboratory process is called consulting working method. The consulting working method focuses on developing forms of partnership with clients who are buying training and consultancy services from Adulta.

Kirpal [Back to list of papers]

This paper is looking at the formation of work-related identities of health care professionals in Estonia, France, Germany and the UK.  The presented findings have been generated in the framework of the research project “FAME – Vocational Identity, Flexibility and Mobility in the European Labour Market” funded under the 5th EU framework programme for the research period from 02/00 to 05/03.  The project investigated the role that work-related identities play when employees and workers are increasingly expected and required to adjust to changing work contexts and demands.  As work identities are closely linked to an individual’s concept of work and how he or she relates to his or her job, the work environment and the employer, they also have a strong influence upon an individual’s work commitment, performance and the quality of work.
    In total, processes of work-related identity formation were investigated in different occupations covering the following sectors: metal working industry/engineering, health care, telecommunications/IT, tourism and timber and furniture (the latter in Estonia only).  This article focuses on identity formation processes in the nursing profession with its varying features when embedded in different national contexts.

Lahn [Back to list of papers]

The research literature on e-learning is growing fast, but most cases are taken from higher education and specific subjects in secondary schools.  There is a striking absence of documented studies from working life. In this paper I will present the results from an evaluation of a national research project, “Net and multi-mediabased learning in printing companies” (NEMLIG), that was designed as a multi-casuistic, developmental study involving a cross-disciplinary group of researchers from computer science, educational science, ethnology and psychology.  Its “field” came to include other sectors than the initial ones in graphical and media industries, like a large engineering company, a subsidiary of the national railway and the largest union in Norway (municipal workers) as a non-industrial contrast case. The main objective was to establish a pedagogical platform for e-learning that should be both similar to traditional craftsmanship and different, since training resources were to be distributed in new ways.

Pilz [Back to list of papers]

In Germany the group of young people with the most extended transition are those young people achieving higher education entrance qualifications (Abitur), then vocational qualification which eventually is followed by a course in higher education. To describe this phenomenon in this research-study the term "cumulative double qualification" (CDQ) will be used.In 1999 about 25% of all students with higher education entrance qualification chose to enter the dual system at this point of their career. This emphasises the general development over the last decade of a significant number of school leavers with Abitur entering the dual system. In 1998 the ratio of students with cumulative qualification of all higher education entrances was 15% compared to 17% in 1989/90. From an international point of view this specific German phenomenon seems to be not rational. 
    Two questions are crucial in the context of this contradiction:· First, who are the young people choosing to enter the dual system rather than higher education at this stage of their career?· Second, what are the reasons for this decision?. A number of hypothesis were the basis for the development of the questionnaire:·Concurrently the data get processed, statistical edited and analysed. The results of the survey will be published on the poster.

Ruoholinna [Back to list of papers]

The qualitative part of the study consists of structured thematic interviews with respondents aged 45 and over working in the sectors of public health care and retail commerce. In my presentation I focus on the thoughts about retirement voiced by the interviewees, looking for factors which would account for what attracts them towards retirement or on the other hand what would explain working satisfaction. The thoughts about retirement divide the interviewees into four different categories: 1) realistic view of retirement,  2) aspiring to early retirement, 3) continuing flexibly towards retirement and 4) happy to work till statutory retirement age. The interviewees’ ideas about retirement are examined first of all on the basis of what they say directly when asked about their readiness to go on work-ing until the statutory retirement age. As the following step, I looked at the individual factors (education, working history, state of health, family situation), as well as factors related to work, are connected with thoughts about retirement. The factors related to work included the meaning of work, satisfaction with work, the atmosphere at the workplace, changes in the working situation (either earlier or expected) and attitudes towards them, the possibilities available to the individual for influencing one’s work situation and self-development, participation in adult education and in-job training and needs related to education, career prospects, factors making for uncertainty at work and exhaustion and burnout. Other factors included in the study were activities aimed at maintaining working ability. 

Shepherd [Back to list of papers]

This paper examines the employment trends of the over 50s in Europe and the strategies needed to support their inclusion in the workforce. This forms the context for an EU project funded through the Leonardo programme ‘Strategies to overcome barriers to employment for the over 50s in Europe’ – in short, 50+ Europe. The project partnership of France, Norway, Poland, Spain and UK are working together to identify current policies and practices in the recruitment, employment and retention of the older people across Europe. This is being utilised to develop online tools in 1) vocational guidance for the over 50s in supporting their job seeking and employment assessment, and 2) training for employers and human resource personnel in helping them develop strategies in recruitment and retention of older workers.

Tomassini [Back to list of papers]

This paper is based on research that the author has carried out, together with other European partners, within the EC-financed “Towards the learning economy” cluster project”, aimed both at the valorisation of results of socio-economic research projects funded under the above Framework Programmes and at the analysis of implications of such results for European learning related policies and practices. 
    The paper suggests that several current functionalistic assumptions should be overcome in the European debate according to which knowledge is assumed only for its economic value and the “learning organisation” is considered as synonym of the just “flexible” or “adaptable to change” organisation,. What is occurring in the largest majority of the selected cases seems to represent the emergence of a new dimension within firm cultures and practices where knowledge and learning are not only high value resources but also the pillars of a new organisational citizenship whose main actors are workers, professionals, managers, entrepreneurs in their own specific work contexts.

Wesselink et al. [Back to list of papers]

First, the existing confusion about competence-based education is described: the behavioristic, generic and holistic approach. The following definition is formulated: Competence-based education is creating opportunities for students and workers, close to their world of experience in a meaningful learning environment (preferable the professional practice) wherein the learner can develop integrated performance-oriented capabilities to handle the problems in practice. The principles described in this article have been formulated by various authors. Central question in this paper is: What are the experiences of the different groups involved with competence-based education, and to what extent do those experiences influence the principles formulated? Most principles are useful, but more attention has to be paid on coaching.

Windelband et al. [Back to list of papers]

The research project "Early recognition of a need for qualification" concentrates on the identification of new and future-relevant occupational fields and the respective need for qualification of the producing industry and the recycling sector. Methods and instruments for sector-oriented surveys are developed and applied for this objective. The instrument will be tested in the two above mentioned sectors in order to compile knowledge on the future development of skilled work and neighbouring occupations. The results are documented with the aid of scenarios so that future oriented occupational fields and the appropriate qualification profiles can be explicitly identified.
    The results of the sector analysis, the case studies, the work process analyses, and the indicators for early recognition will serve for the development of vocational educational concepts for a social and shaping-oriented vocational education.

Wu [Back to list of papers]

The improvement of reasoning skills has been highly valued as a major educational goal.  These skills are also increasingly needed in this society filled with information resources and multifarious senses of value.  However, reasoning education seems not to succeed as expected due to the lack of effective instructional strategies and systematic curricula.  Related research has mostly addressed the fundamental theories; but reasoning skills curricula and practical assessment have been severely limited.  Therefore, this study was conducted to continue reasoning skills development research and to identify the effects of this innovative curriculum on the improvement of competencies for students in postsecondary technical education programs.
    The sample participating in this study consisted of 23 students and was selected in a technical university located in central Taiwan, R.O.C..  During the one-semester experimental period, nineteen reasoning sub-skills were taught as the major content using contemporary social issues in order for participants to integrate reasoning skills with daily life affairs.  A group discussion model was the main teaching strategy combined with lecturing.  Qualitative research methods and portfolios were employed to continuously collect data and analyze the development of students’ reasoning skills during the period.
    This study indicated that the instruction successfully assisted students to improve their reasoning skills from the stage of dual thinking style to responsible knowing.  Some suggestions concerning effective teaching strategies and reasoning skills assessment were also provided on the basis of the findings and conclusions.

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