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Vocational education in practice: a study ofwork-based learning in a construction programmeat a Swedish upper secondary school
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
2014 (English)In: Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training, ISSN 1877-6345, Vol. 6, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In many OECD countries an apparent connection is shown between education, the local economy and the local labor market. This connection seems to be stronger and more radical in Sweden, than in other similar countries. The construction program is thereby also a part of this market. Given the needs of the building industry for competent workers and the requirements from specific course syllabuses this paper explores how project-based vocational education contributes to the student's vocational competences. The aim of this study was to describeand analyse students’ perceptions of vocational competence gained from a PBVE environment and identify how this competence is constituted. From this broad aim, the following research questions were asked: (1) What kinds of competence are the students able to develop in a PBLE? (2) In what ways do the developed competence and vocational skills relate to the specific course syllabuses? (3) How is the students’vocational competence constituted? Methods adopted for this study are observations over student action in a project-based vocational education and focus group interviews with observed students. The result indicates a gap between acquired vocational competence at the project and the related learning goals in the course syllabuses. The developed vocational competence seems more adopted to fit the demands of the building industry rather than the intended course goals. Further, the findings indicate that the relationship between learning and support from teachers are strong whereas the room for individual initiative in the learning environment is limited. This study highlights the relationship between student action and the complexity in vocational education as a project based vocational education. The project’s high complexity affects the students’ learning ability to take own decisionsin the learning environment. This also affects the students’ motivation and ability to develop competences required to fulfill goals in course syllabuses. So, if the students’ are supposed to be able to be a part of their own learning the complexity in the task should not be too high. Hence, if the task is to easy the students’ will not be challenge enough in order to develop vocational competences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 6, no 2
Keyword [en]
Project-based vocational education; Learning environment; Vocational competence, Teacher guidance
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
educational work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-85205DOI: 10.1186/1877-6345-6-2OAI: diva2:692120
Available from: 2014-01-30 Created: 2014-01-30 Last updated: 2014-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Magnus, Fjellström
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