Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making

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KEY WORDS: Vocational Education; Education Work Relationship; Productive Thinking; Learning Processes; Work Environment; Lifelong Learning; Transfer of Training.

Halfpap, K. (2001). Towards learning for the future: Some practical experiences. Vocational Training, 23, 53-59.

In this paper, three German programs illustrate the enlarged purposes of vocational education, including the need to be trained for multiple occupations and unpaid work and to manage lifelong learning. The projects show that steps toward the future of vocational education require linkage between work and learning, teacher training, creation of supportive conditions, and new roles for teachers and learners.
KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Foreign Countries; Futures (of Society); Role of Education; Secondary Education; Training; Vocational Education Germany.

Handley, K., Sturdy, A., Fincham, R., & Clark, T. (2006). Within and beyond communities of practice: Making sense of learning through participation, identity and practice. Journal of Management Studies, 43(3), 641-653.

The article positions itself within situated learning theory, which offers a radical critique of cognitivist theories of learning, emphasizing the relational aspects of learning within communities of practice in contrast to the individualist assumptions of conventional theories. The authors add, however, that although many researchers have embraced the theoretical strength of situated learning theory, conceptual issues remain undeveloped in the literature. Roberts, for example, argues in this issue that the notion of 'communities of practice'- a core concept in situated learning theory - is itself problematic. Complementing her discussion, the article explores the communities of practice concept from several perspectives. Firstly, the authors consider the perspective of the individual learner, and examine the processes which constitute 'situated learning'. Secondly, they consider the broader socio-cultural context in which communities of practice are embedded. Thirdly, they argue that the cultural richness of this broader context generates a fluidity and heterogeneity within and beyond communities. Finally, the authors claim that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish conceptually between the terms 'participation' and 'practice' because of occasional duplication of meaning.
KEY WORDS: Situated Learning Theory; Communities of Practice; Learning; Identity; Participation.

Hyslop-Margison, E. J. (2002). Liberalizing career education: An Aristotelian approach. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 48(4), 350-363.

Instrumental aims in vocational education pose a genuine threat to democratic citizenship by undermining student critique of prevailing social circumstances. By employing a broadened Aristotelian framework, career education can combine work-related subject matter with critical learning objectives, but that would require significant reform in content, objectives, and presentation.
KEY WORDS: Critical Pedagogy; Democratic Values; Education Work Relationship; Educational Objectives; Educational Philosophy; General Education; Globalization; Lifelong Learning; School Business Relationship; Secondary Education; Vocational Education; Aristotle.

Hyson, D. M. (2002). Understanding adaptation to work in adulthood: A contextual developmental approach. Advances in Life Course Research, 7, 93-110.

Psychological & behavioral components of the work ethic and its relationship to adult adaptation to work are investigated using an approach that combines the ecodevelopmental perspective of J. Szapocznik & J. D. Coatsworth (1999) & the developmental-contextual view proposed by R. Vondracek, R. M. Lerner, & J. E. Schulenberg (1986). Questionnaire and interview data were obtained from a subsample of 76 males and 70 females, age 23, from a 25-year longitudinal study of at-risk children & their parents in MN. Results support three hypotheses regarding the importance of initiative, high school academic achievement, socioeconomic background, access to educational & training opportunities, & middle-childhood variables for work ethic & a successful school-to-work transition. Findings also demonstrate the importance of using an integrative model to examine socialization to work in adulthood.
KEY WORDS: Protestant Ethic; Work Values; Childhood Factors; Psychological Factors; Education Work Relationship; Young Adults; Socioeconomic Status; Academic Achievement; Socialization; Minnesota; Social Psychology; Personality & Social Roles; Complex Organization; Jobs; Work Organization; Workplaces; Unions; Work and Learning.

Illeris, K. (2006). Lifelong learning and the low-skilled. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(1), 15-28.

This article is a combined result of a three years research project on low-skilled learners' experiences as participants of various kinds of adult training and education in Denmark, and the findings of a three years research consortium on workplace learning, summing up and generalizing our various findings as to how low-skilled adults function in relation to participation in training and education activities, how they feel about it, what is important to them, and consequently what works in practice in relation to this very important but often neglected group of adult learners.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Lifelong Learning; Adult Students; Adult Learning; Vocational Education; Education Work Relationship; On the Job Training; Denmark.

Jakupec, V., & Garrick, J. (Eds.). (2000). Flexible learning, human resource, and organisational development: Putting theory to work. New York: Routledge.

This book addresses contemporary contexts of flexible learning and its practices and provides insights about directions that education and training providers may be required to follow to implement flexible learning in a variety of settings. Key issues and debates include the following: social and economic dimensions of flexible learning and delivery; the implications of globalization and internationalization for higher education; flexible learning, knowledge, and power; institutional strategies for implementing flexible learning and delivery; and practicing flexible learning through media and new technologies.
KEY WORDS: Open Learning; Continuing Education; Occupational Training; Employee Training; Information Technology; Communication Technology; Work and Learning.

Jensen, K. (2007). The desire to learn: An analysis of knowledge-seeking practices among professionals. Oxford Review of Education, 33(4), 489-502.

This study explores the knowledge-seeking processes among professionals, highlighting three core questions: What induces professionals to engage in continuous learning? What makes them strive for something beyond the immediate obvious goal or situation? How can we theorise practice in a way that allows for engagement and engrossment--the emotional basis of expert work? We attempt to answer these questions by way of a two-step procedure. First, we elaborate the work of Karin Knorr Cetina on the dynamics of desire in expert work supplemented by insights from the work of Gilles Deleuze. Then we use the ideas and visions of these two theoreticians as a sensitising device to analyse the results from an ongoing research project: "Professional learning in a changing society" (ProLearn). The project studies the knowledge-seeking practices of four targeted professions: nurses, accountants, teachers and computer engineers. Although the findings identify practices reminiscent of those of other expert groups, they also suggest areas in which our groups are particularly vulnerable. Specifically, these areas relate to processes of accessing knowledge and developing the sense of mastery which Knorr Cetina and Deleuze point out as essential to the development of a more life-affirmative motive.
KEY WORDS: Knowledge-Seeking Processes; Professions; Work.

Jorgensen, C. H. (2004). Connecting work and education: Should learning be useful, correct or meaningful? The Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(8), 455-465.

The aim of this paper is to examine the interplay between learning in school and learning in the workplace - and its problems. Historically, education and work have become separated and each developed its own rationale - a school rationale and a production rationale, both of which may form the foundation for interplay. Concurrently with this, the learners apply a subjective rationale based on their personal expectations and interests in education and work in the course of their lives. Using the three players, school, workplace and employee as a starting-point, three different rationales on which to base interplay can be deduced. Since viable interplay may not be established based on one rationale alone, one needs an institutional framework to mediate between them. This article proposes that a modernized version of the Dual System of vocational education may be best to provide such a framework.
KEY WORDS: Education; Learning; Comparative Tests; Organizations; Work and Learning.

Karakowsky, l., & McBey, K. (1999). The lessons of work: Toward an understanding of the implications of the workplace for adult learning and development. Journal of Workplace Learning, 11(6), 192-201.

Little research attention had addressed the notion of the organization as a facilitator or inhibitor of adult learning or personal growth and development. This paper attempts to identify individual-level and organizational-level factors that can influence the potential for learning and development in the workplace. Along with the presentation of a theoretical framework, a number of researcher propositions are generated with the aim of encouraging management scholars and practitioners to more fully consider the impact of the workplace on adult learning and development.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Workplace Learning; Employee Development.

Kerka, S. (2001). The balancing act of adult life. ERIC Digest. Retrieved December 28, 2006, from

Technological advances, the changing nature of work, workplaces, and working relationships, international economic competition, the changing demographics of workers, families, and communities, and longer life spans have made life more complex for adults in the 21st century. Learning to cope with all these changing responsibilities is something referred to as "the hidden curriculum of adult life." Adult education approaches can be used to help individuals negotiate the curriculum of life challenges. In the 1990s, programs that targeted the work-life balance aimed at helping people cope by developing skills in communication, interpersonal effectiveness, and life management or family-career management. These programs, however, assume that there is an ideal work-life balance and that our attempts to live up to it are deficient. But who gets to define what work-life balance is? More recent approaches to adult education suggest that instead of merely informing people, adult education should be transformational. One such framework is Equipped for the Future (EFF). It was developed to help adults integrate their learning in four categories: communication skills, decision- interpersonal skills, learning.
KEY WORDS: Adjustment (to Environment); Adult Basic Education; Adult Development; Adult Learning; Communication Skills; Competence; Daily Living Skills; Decision Making Skills; Educational Needs; Family-Work Relationship; Hidden Curriculum; Interpersonal Competence; Learning Processes; Learning Theories; Life Satisfaction; Lifelong Learning; Postsecondary Education; Transformative Learning.

Kilpatrick, S. (1999). Learning on the job: How do farm business managers get the skills and knowledge to manage their businesses? CRLRA discussion paper series. Launceston: University of Tasmania.

Industry leaders and agricultural educators (‘experts’) believe that farmers should be participating in training about management and marketing, while few farmers plan to attend formal training in these areas. This paper examines the differing perceptions of experts and farmers in relation to farmers’ management and marketing learning needs and the attitudes of farmers toward farm business management training. More progressive farmers were proactive in identifying and meeting learning needs in management and marketing and were also the group most likely to have used training in learning for change, and to plan to train to meet learning needs in the future. Most farmers used multiple learning sources when learning about management, marketing and management-related issues. Most used informal sources, mainly experts, supplemented by observation and experience, other farmers, and print and electronic media. Training was very rarely the only source used.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Adult Learning; Agribusiness; Agricultural Education; Agricultural Occupations; Business Administration; Business Skills; Skill Development; Women's Education.

Kilpatrick, S., & Crowley, S. (1999). Learning and training: Enhancing small business success. Adelaide: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

In this study, owners or managers of 181 Australian businesses employing fewer than 20 people in the construction, manufacturing, property and business services, and retail industries in 3 metropolitan and 3 nonmetropolitan locations were interviewed by telephone to identify how they used training to enhance their small business's success. Of those surveyed, one-third had had someone attend a relevant course in the past 12 months, 30% had learned from a consultant or mentor, and more than 60% had attended a business-related meeting or seminar. Small businesses with partners or employees with postschool qualifications were more likely to engaging in ongoing learning activities. The low rate of participation in training, especially by owners, and their preference for informal learning methods are consistent with a picture of small business owners who are supervisors of more formalized training and unaware that training policy could be relevant. The study demonstrated a relationship between success and learning on the job and resulted in 11 recommendations concerning developing a learning culture, learning and training design, and future policy directions relating to the provision of learning/training opportunities for small business.
KEY WORDS: Change Strategies; Education Work Relationship; Educational Attainment; Educational Attitudes; Educational Change; Educational Needs; Training Methods; Training Objectives; Vocational Education.

Kivinen, O., & Silvennoinen, H. (2002). Changing relations between education and work: On the mechanisms and outcomes of educational system. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 21(1), 44-54.

Examines the educational system in Nordic countries as it regulates passage of age cohorts from home through school to the labor market. States that formal education is failing to close the skills gap. Advocates delinking vocational training from formal schooling and reorganizing working life in terms of production of practical know-how through workplace learning.
KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Educational Status Comparison; Foreign Countries; Government Role; Human Capital; Job Skills; Labor Market; Outcomes of Education.

Kuhn, M., & Sultana, R. G. (Eds.). (2006). Homo sapiens Europaeus? Creating the European learning citizen. New York: Peter Lang.

In many ways, education reflects society by mirroring changing and emergent goals and values as well as by contributing to both the reproduction and production of particular life forms. In the context of the formative project (Europe), education is asked to play an increasingly central role, one that is responsive to particular images of the European Union and to its aspirations and goals. The widespread conviction is that education and training will re-invigorate ailing economies, and that, in the context of globalization, national and regional competitiveness will only triumph if there is a qualitative continued improvement in human capital. This book critically examines such claims, considering the ways in which learning is being constructed across Europe and the implications this has for notions of democratic citizenship and education.
KEY WORDS: Europe; Globalization; Human Capital; Learning.

Laiken, M. (2001). Models of organizational learning: Paradoxes and best practices in the post industrial workplace. NALL Working Paper No. 25. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

This study, a three-year research project, was conducted between 1998-2001 in an attempt to locate and study Canadian organizations which are using organizational learning approaches to embed on-going learning within the actual work processes - whether at an individual, team or strategic level. This research is intended to be a voice for Canadian models of organizational learning which have benefited the organization and its clients or customers, as well as its employees or volunteers, whose lives are dramatically affected by new organizational forms. The authors of the study hope that, by providing visibility to such "models" of organizational learning, the research would not only reinforce best practices already in existence, but also demonstrate the potential of such practices across work sectors, organizational size, and widely diverse employee populations. The study initially identified forty-two organizations, which either self-reported or appeared in the literature as examples of those attempting to become, or demonstrating features of, a learning organization. Four of these organizations - a medium-sized hospital, a large retail chain, a small not-for-profit government funded organization, and a large electronics manufacturer volunteered for more in-depth study through individual interviews, focus groups and on-site observation.
KEY WORDS: Organizational Learning; Best Practices; Paid Work; Unpaid Work; New Organizational Forms.

Laiken, M. E. (2002). Managing The action/reflection polarity through dialogue: A path to transformative learning. NALL Working Paper No. 53. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

At the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Ontario, a course entitled Developing and Leading High Performing Teams: Theory and Practice is experimenting with a design that surfaces the action/reflection paradox for the purpose of learning how to manage this polarity. Whether the product is defined as services or goods, the general tendency is to view time spent on specific task completion as the only legitimate form of work. In the workplace, an opportunity for reflection on a lived experience increases productive capacity and individual knowledge and skill and results in personal and, sometimes, organizational learning that is transformative. The paradoxical outcome for an organization is a case of slowing down in order to speed up. The course teaches the skills required to engage in reflection during 7 full-day sessions over 13 weeks. In the mornings, theory is introduced experientially and covers the following: phases of team development; team goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making, communication and conflict management; managing difference; and dealing with intractable problems as polarities. In the afternoons, an almost two-hour meeting of class groups as working teams is followed by a team debrief--a structured reflective opportunity to examine the team's behavior and provide feedback. Stages in learning to engage in quality conversations are lack of awareness; awareness without action; ability to act on awareness, with effort; and ability to hold the polarities and maintain the communication. (Contains 23 references) (YLB)
KEY WORDS: Transformative Learning; Adult Education; Adult Educators; Conflict Resolution; Cooperative Learning; Teaching Technique; Group Dynamics; Organizational Communication; Problem Solving; Reflective Teaching; Teamwork; Theory Practice Relationship; High Performance Work Organizations.

Littler, C. R., & Innes, P. (2003). Downsizing and deknowledging the firm. Work, Employment and Society, 17(1), 73-100.

Many OECD organization economies have undergone a decade of downsizing, restructuring and transition. For example, workforce reductions were a dominant feature of firm behaviour in Australia throughout the 1990s. These wide-ranging organizational transitions are expected to continue. What do the new organizational forms and new job structures mean in relation to skill trends? Examined are the changing paradigms for understanding long-term skill change and assessing relevancy by empirically examining the relationship between downsizing, deskilling/upskilling and contingent labour use in larger firms. The analysis is based on a comprehensive, longitudinal data set of 4153 companies. One key finding is that downsizing was used as a vehicle for a different form of `deskilling' across the 1990s. Alongside the `knowledge organization', there are processes of deknowledging the firm.
KEY WORDS: Downsizing (Management); Knowledge Management; Labor Relations; Organization Theory.

Livingstone, D. (2002). Mapping the iceberg. NALL Working Paper No. 54. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at:

A survey of 1,500 Canadian adults examined the range of adults' learning activities. These activities included informal learning related to employment, community volunteer work, household work, and other general interest. Findings revealed that those in the labor force, or those expecting to be in soon, engaged in informal learning related to current or prospective future employment. These included the following: informal learning projects to keep up with new job or career knowledge, informal employment-related computer learning, and learning new tasks, problem-solving and communication skills, occupational safety and health, and new technologies. Community volunteer workers participated in related informal learning on interpersonal, communication, and organizational or managerial skills, and social issues. Household workers participated in informal learning related to home renovations and gardening, home cooking, and home maintenance. Most participated in informal learning associated with their general interests, such as health and well being, environmental issues, finances, hobby skills, social skills, public issues, computers, and sports and recreation. Participation in all forms of schooling increased dramatically over the past two generations, and the educational attainment of the active labor force increased accordingly. Major barriers to course participation included inconvenient times or places, no time, family responsibilities and cost.
KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Adults; Continuing Education; Educational Background; Educational Research; Foreign Countries; Home Economics; Independent Study; Informal Education; Job Skills; Learning Activities; Lifelong Learning; National Surveys; Participation; Postsecondary Education; Recreational Activities; Student Educational Objectives; Vocational Education; Volunteer Training; Volunteers.

Livingstone, D. W. (1999). Lifelong learning and underemployment in the knowledge society: A North American perspective. Comparative Education, 35(2), 163-186.

Contrary to general assumptions about the need for lifelong learning, U.S. and Canadian adults' learning efforts exceed workplace requirements. Reasons for underemployment include the talent-use gap, structural unemployment, involuntary reduced employment, credential gap, performance gap, and subjective underemployment. What is needed to redress this underemployment are substantial economic reforms and not more emphasis on lifelong learning.
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