Connecting work and learning in industrial design and development
Kaija Collin, Lecturer, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Education.
The aim of this substudy is to investigate development engineers’ and product designers’ learning in the course of their work. The idea of connectivity is approached here in terms of seeing learning interwoven with work in the processes of everyday practice and participation. The participants of the study include both quite inexperienced and highly experienced workers. Hence, among the questions asked is also that of how learning is transformed when students move from educational institutions to authentic workplace contexts. Thus, the study looks at inexperienced and experienced workers’ own perspectives on their learning during their everyday performance of their job by exploring their conceptions of learning and the role of experience and other people in their learning at work. The study adopts an ethnographic approach that combines various data-gathering and analytic procedures. The empirical data are based on observations of two groups of workers and on interviews (n = 18) conducted in two high-tech companies. The analysis is based on phenomenographic (see Collin, 2002), narrative (see Collin, 2003) and ethnographic methods.
Transformation of vocational expertise: From a metal industry course to work
Mari Murtonen, Researcher, University of Turku, Department of Education.
Päivi Tynjälä, Research Professor, Docent, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
Traditional metal industry companies have a problem with transmitting the company’s knowledge to new workers at a time when great numbers of workers are retiring. The training provided by the shipbuilding company Kvaerner Masa-Yards is tailored to produce workers with skills that correspond exactly to the company’s current needs. The goal of the study is to examine how the knowledge constructed during formal education is transformed when students move from training to work and how knowledge is constructed in authentic work situations on the basis of course contents and under the guidance of other workers. The data will be collected during a metal industry course to be delivered by the shipyard. In the first phase, all students taking the course will answer a questionnaire consisting of questions about their motivation, their views of learning and their conceptions of work on a shipyard and of expertise in this area. In the second phase, some students (n = 4-6) will be selected for further interviews and observations during the course and until the end of their first year in their new job.
A connective curriculum for post-16 education
Matti Vesa Volanen, Senior Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
The background to this developmental research lies in the Finnish experimental reform of upper secondary education in 1992-2001. There were 16 local networks of general upper secondary and vocational schools intended to 1) open students the opportunity to take courses offered at different schools, 2) provide the participating schools with interinstitutional timetables and work schedules, and 3) produce new curriculum contents based on the mutual enrichment of academic and vocational education (Volanen, 1995). The aim of this new study is to construct connective learning situations that link general and vocational upper secondary education. The pedagogical idea is to find out how to incorporate into the process of acquiring specific skills the learning of general competencies and vice versa. The study will be carried out in one or two local networks of upper secondary schools in Seinäjoki using the methods of constructive intervention and process evaluation. The teachers and students taking part in the pilot study modules come from general upper secondary and vocational schools. The students and teachers will produce the learning situations together. The individual learning processes will then have the quality of making - producing not only artefacts of one kind or another but also the terms under which the learning situations unfold. These pilot study modules open the possibility of institutional transformation, that is, the possibility of reconstructing the structure of the curriculum and of the students' study programmes and of reforming teacher education.
Transformation of individual learning into organisational learning in vocational education institutions collaborating with working life
Pentti Nikkanen, Senior Researcher, Docent, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
email@example.comPäivi Tynjälä, Research Professor, Docent, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
The implementation of WBL periods challenges also educational establishments to develop new modes of action and new kinds of relationship with working life and, thus, to learn as organisations. The purpose of this study is to investigate how to devise work-based learning strategies involving connective learning situations so as to facilitate the transformation of individual learning into organisational learning (see Kim, 1993) in vocational education institutions that collaborate with organisations of working life. Thus, the focus is on promoting organisational learning related to the development of the educational institutions’ links with working life. After careful descriptions of the organisations (using questionnaires, SWOT analyses, network analyses, interviews), the researchers, collaborating with the members of the work communities, will design learning situations involving connections between different fields of study, different agents, researchers and educators, and so on. The purpose is to construct a common space where individual knowing can be shared and transformed, for organisational benefit, on the interface between education and working life. The analysis will focus on the quality of the networks that will be created: can they be characterised as innovative knowledge communities, and does such co-operation between education and work generate innovative practices and lead to functioning networks with knowledge-creation capacity?
Relations between polytechnics and working life
Maarit Virolainen, Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
firstname.lastname@example.orgMarja-Leena Stenström, Senior Researcher, Docent, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
The substudy focuses on the models of work-based learning adopted in polytechnics (for different models see Guile & Griffiths, 2001). The aim is to identify different approaches to constructing the relations between polytechnics and working life in the local context. More specifically, the empirical material will be collected with a view to finding out how on-the-job periods and work-related projects are anchored in the curriculum, what kinds of material, procedure, tool and approach are used to guide the student to construct a connection between what is learnt at school and what is learnt on the job or in the work-related projects. In the first phase, data has been collected in three exemplary study fields (health care and social services, engineering and technology, and business administration) of five multidisciplinary polytechnics by interviewing several parties involved in planning and developing their relations with working life. In the second phase, questionnaires will be sent to a sample of recently graduated polytechnic students representing different models of WBL. In the final phase the results of the two previous phases will be merged. The views of working life and staff of each polytechnic will be compared so as to obtain a more comprehensive picture of each polytechnic and of the strengths and weakness of the models they have adopted in their interaction with working life.
Connecting school- and work-based learning in VET
Marja-Leena Stenström, Senior Researcher, Docent, University of Jyväskylä, IER.
The aims of the study are to examine students’ practice-oriented learning in authentic situations at workplaces and to analyse the performance-based assessment of the process of acquiring occupational skills. The focus is on the connectivity of the practice-oriented acquisition of occupational skills in VET in the context of the Finnish experiment with incorporating skills tests into the mainly school-based national VET system. The data will be collected from students, teachers, representatives of enterprises (workplace trainers) in two or three different occupational fields through questionnaires and interviews. The substudy has links with a proposed international Leonardo project, Quality Assurance and Practice-Oriented Assessment in VET in Europe (QUAL-PRAXIS) whose main objective is to discuss and examine innovative practice-oriented student assessment models from the perspective of different national VET traditions in Europe. This part of the project will be started in 2004 and take three years, provided that the international application for funding is accepted.
Generation change within small enterprises: Transfer of expertise in entrepreneurship
Kari Itkonen, Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, School of Business and Economics.
This substudy focuses on generation changes in small enterprises. It seeks to provide answers e.g. for the following questions: How can we define the competence of experienced entrepreneurship? What happens in the process of generation change? How can a retiring entrepreneur helps his or her successor? What are the critical phases in generation change? Besides information about generation change itself, this study also provides comparative information on the central elements of entrepreneurship. The study is divided into three stages. The first stage focuses on a conceptual analysis of the process of generation change in a small enterprise (SME). In addition, background data on entrepreneurs and enterprises planning to make a generation change will be collected through a collaborative project called "Continuity of an enterprice". The second phase includes analytical discussions between retirers and their successors about the critical situations of the process of generation change. Attention will also be paid to exploring the context and the entrepreneurs' background factors, such as life style. This will result in creating a preliminary model for learning entrepreneurship based on WBL. At the third stage of this study the preliminary model will be tested by means of new interviews in enterprices and complemented by notions of interactive and transformative learning in the context of generation change within an enterprice.