No 2009/05
  What's new in research: ECER VETNET Proceedings 2009
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  Dear Colleague

The latest edition of the ECER VETNET Proceedings has now been published, including the papers submitted at the European Conference on Educational Research in Vienna (Sept. 2009), as part of the programme drawn up by the European Research Network in Vocational Education and Training:

ECER VETNET Proceedings: http://www.ecer-vetnet.wifo-gate.org/
Proceedings 2009: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/abstract/!ecer09.htm

The Proceedings 2009 have been produced in collaboration between VETNET, with Ludger Deitmer (Convenor VETNET) and Lorenz Lassnigg (Programme Chair Vienna) as co-editors, and the Research Forum WIFO. They are linked to the conference resources provided by the new social networking site for VETNET (http://vetnet.mixxt.org/).

This year's collection of papers (67) is the largest ever, bringing the total number of papers included in the ECER VETNET Proceedings since 1998 up to 390. This data, analysed further below, offers interesting insights into research activities, even if it is limited in scope, since not all the papers put forward for the ECER VETNET programme in this period were actually submitted for inclusion in the Proceedings.

First, a few thematic aspects are worth noting, based on the index of keywords which is part of the Proceedings covering all the papers in the 12-year period (1998 to 2009):

Index of keywords: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/p-index3.htm

# Among the large variety of themes addressed in the papers throughout the period, there is an obvious concentration on a few keywords: 'Learning' is by far the most popular subject, featuring in every 5th paper as a major keyword, with an extensive range of themes involved. The thematic clusters, also centred on keywords such as competence and skills, knowledge, training and qualification, indicate the intensity of research on major issues of VET.

# New themes, identified by keywords addressed in 2009 for the first time, include the following:

    * benefits of further training (Schmid - AT)
    * CVET and company competitiveness (Figueira et al. - PT)
    * complex performance (Eraut - UK)
    * European core profiles vs. ECVET-units (Saniter et al. - EU)
    * 'evidence' about 'outcome-orientation' (Lassnigg - AT)
    * foresight framework in an educational organisation (Saikkonen et al. - FI)

# Quite a number of papers in 2009 are related to the keyword 'profession', which has only occasionally been addressed in previous years. The themes involved demonstrate a wide spectrum of research across initial and continuing vocational education, human resource development and adult education:

    * professional growth and learning (Nokelainen et al. - FI)
    * professional learning in nursing homes (Trunkenpolz - AT)
    * professional responsibility (Englund et al. - NO)
    * professionalism of trainers (Fuchs - DE)
    * time and profession (Schapfel-Kaiser - DE)
    * VET professions (Volmari et al. - EU)

# Across the various themes, a substantial proportion have a cross-national/ European perspective: nearly a third of all papers submitted in 2009 (as against an average of 20% in the previous period). Most of these papers have been put forward by teams of authors related to either European projects or to transnational organisations (Cedefop, OECD/CERI).

Also of considerable interest are some national and regional aspects related to the authors' places of work. New in this edition of the Proceedings is a set of maps, linked to an index, showing the distribution of papers by country and region (1998 to 2009). A few observations follow.

Index of countries: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/p-index2.htm
Maps: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/p-map2.htm

# Most of the papers are from Western Europe, closely followed by Northern Europe, while there are fairly few from Central-Eastern and Southern Europe. Indeed the proportion of papers from the latter regions has even decreased during the 12-year period, reaching now only 5% of the total. The continuing disproportion between North-West and South-East Europe reflected in the ECER Proceedings perhaps merits more attention.

# The small or even missing representation of Central-Eastern and Southern countries in the Proceedings should however not be taken to indicate a lack of research activity. There is in fact interesting evidence of national research being carried out in these countries which can be looked up in the Overview of VET and HRD research across Europe:
Overview: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/vet&hrd/=overview.htm

# The breakdown of papers by individual countries shows a group at the top which includes the UK, Germany and Finland, followed by the Netherlands and France. Interestingly, this group is fairly heterogeneous, contrasting in both size of population and use of language. What many authors from these countries share, however, is a strong involvement in European projects and networks.

Final note:
For those of you interested in participating in next year's ECER VETNET programme, please don't miss the deadline of 15 January 2010 for submitting your proposal! See details on the website (http://www.eera-ecer.eu/ecer/ecer-2010-Helsinki/).

Kind regards
Sabine Manning
Editor of the L&W Newsletter

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 Editor: Sabine Manning © WIFO