Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Vocational Education; Vocational Education Teachers; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

O'Connor, B. N. (2004). The workplace learning cycle: A problem-based curriculum model for the preparation of workplace learning professionals. The Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(6), 341-349.


This paper builds on the conceptual foundations suggested in the previous two papers in this issue. The article describes the use of a workplace learning cycle theory to curriculum development for a graduate-level course in workplace education. This article argues that one can engage students in the process of analyzing the learning and knowledge-use in a work environment through the lenses of the pedagogical and curricular concepts in these and other writings. The graduate program aims to enable students to understand and use the more generative concepts of workplace knowledge-use.
KEY WORDS: Curricula; Training; Higher Education; Business Studies; Formal Training; Employment and Education.
Okurowski, M. E., & Clark, R. (2001). The use of level three evaluation data to assess the impact of technology training on work performance. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 14(1), 57-76.
Discussion of information technology training focuses on an evaluative study at the Department of Defense that investigated whether new information technology training could improve job performance. Highlights include determining training effectiveness; job transfer evaluation; return on investment; use of software features; and the impact of formal versus informal training.
KEY WORDS: Computer Software; Evaluation Methods; Industrial Training; Information Technology; Job Performance; Performance Factors; Performance Technology; Training Methods; Transfer of Training; Vocational Evaluation; Department of Defense; Performance Improvement; Performance Indicators; Return on Investment; Technology Utilization; Training Effectiveness; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Packer, A. H. (2001). The career transcript system for lifelong learning. Community College Journal, 71(5), 24-28.


The Career Transcript System (CTS) keeps up-to-date and verifiable records of students' accomplishments. Asserts that CTS facilitates exchanges of information among schools, employers, and colleagues. States that the system was implemented after the Secretary of Labors' Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) defined what work requires of schools.
KEY WORDS: Community Colleges; Higher Education; Job Skills; Portfolios; (Background Materials); Profiles; Qualifications; Resumes (Personal); Student Development; Student Records; Secretarys Common Achieving Necessary Skills; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Packer, M. J. (2001). Changing classes: School reform and the new economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


This book tells the story of Willow Run, a small, poor, ethnically-mixed town in Michigan's rust belt, a community in turmoil over the announced closing of a nearby auto assembly plant. As teachers and administrators began to discover ways to make schooling more relevant to working-class children, two large-scale school reform initiatives swept into town: the Governor's "market-place" reforms and the National Science Foundation's "state systemic initiative." Against the backdrop of a post-fordist economy, the author examines complex linkages at work as society structures the development of children to adulthood.
KEY WORDS: Education; Economic Aspects; United States; Case Studies; Education and State; Educational Change; Work and Learning; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Pate, J., Martin, G., Beaumont, P., & McGoldrick, J. (2000). Company-based lifelong learning: What's the payoff for employers? Journal of European Industrial Training, 24(2-4), 149-157.


Survey data from Scottish workers participating in lifelong learning showed that the existence of the company's learning program influenced their perceptions of career development and fairness. Communication skills in particular were transferred to the workplace. The company was less successful in creating a strong transfer climate.
KEY WORDS: Corporate Education; Employee Attitudes; Foreign Countries; Lifelong; Learning; Organizational Climate; Outcomes of Education; Transfer of Training; Return on Investment; Scotland; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Peat, M., Taylor, C. E., & Franklin, S. (2005). Re/engineering of undergraduate science curricula to emphasise development of lifelong learning skills. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 42(2), 135-146.


It is increasingly important in the twenty-first century for graduates to be able to take their place in the changing world scene and to be adaptable and creative within the organisation that employs them. This paper describes some of the initiatives introduced into the curriculum of a first-year science course, taken by 1300 students at the University of Sydney, that are designed to help students develop the attributes required of a professional scientist. Comprehensive online resources have been developed to facilitate independent study, and synchronous and asynchronous communications, and these are delivered via a virtual learning environment. We have enhanced students' oral and written communication skills by using real work experiences, and developed teamwork activities within the context of the curriculum.
KEY WORDS: Science Education; Science Curriculum; Curriculum Enrichment; Undergraduate Study; Lifelong Learning; Communication Skills; Job Skills; Independent Study; Virtual Classrooms; Experiential Learning; Teamwork; Foreign Countries; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Pieck, E. (2005). Work-related adult education: Challenges and possibilities in poverty areas. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24(5), 419-429.


The aim of this article is to talk about the possibilities of work-related adult education programmes within the context of developing countries. The focus of the analysis is on poor populations, particularly those dwelling in rural and marginal urban areas. The background comprises the challenges for productive incorporation, social exclusion, the relative absence of skill development programmes in these areas and the historical ineffectiveness of adult education programmes. In the light both of lessons drawn form several experiences carried out mainly in developing countries and insights coming from educational and developmental research, the article puts forward some theses that may serve as guidelines when carrying out work-related adult education programmes, such as the need to stem from integral and interinstitutional perspectives, to rely on sound strategies that can have a direct impact on both social and economic development, to learn from local contexts (knowledge and opportunities) and evaluate the potential within these spaces, to properly assess the different areas (health, housing, organization etc.) that are related to any social development process, and the importance of taking productive activities--work--as the axis and starting point of programmes.
KEY WORDS: Skill Development; Adult Education; Poverty Areas; Developing Nations; Job Skills; Job Training; Foreign Countries; Global Approach; Technical Education.

Pischke, J.-S., & von Wachter, T. (2005). Zero returns to compulsory schooling in Germany: Evidence and interpretation. Cambridge: MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.


The impact of compulsory schooling on earnings is estimated using changes in compulsory schooling laws for secondary schools in West German states between 1948 to 1970. Our research design is very similar to studies for various other countries, we find very different estimates of the returns. Most estimates in the literature indicate returns in the range of 10-15%. We find no return to compulsory schooling in Germany in terms of higher wages. It is assessed as to whether this is due to labour market institutions or the existence of the apprenticeship training system in Germany, but find no evidence for these explanations. We conjecture that the result may be due to the fact that the basic skills most relevant for the labour market are learned earlier in Germany than in other countries.
KEY WORDS: Analysis of Education; Human Capital, Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity; Formal Training Programs; On-the-Job Training; Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials by Skill; Training; Occupation; Industry; Schooling; Experience; Tenure; Ability Bias; Human Capital; Returns to Schooling; School Leaving Age; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Plant, P., & Turner, B. (2005). Getting closer: Workplace guidance for lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24(2), 123-135.


The purposes of this article are twofold. First, it considers the policy links between guidance and lifelong learning, highlighting in particular the implications of findings from a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Secondly, it critically compares two approaches to workplace guidance about education and training, drawing upon evaluations of various initiatives organized by trade unions and employers in Denmark and the UK. These evaluations are based on qualitative data collected from in-depth interviews with those responsible for organizing and giving the guidance, as well as those who received it. Five interviews were conducted with recipients of guidance in each country, either face-to-face or by telephone, using a semi-structured interview schedule. The conclusions suggest some issues that need to be addressed by guidance practitioners and policy makers, including employers and trade unions.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Guidance; Unions; Lifelong Learning; Adult Education; Denmark; United Kingdom.

Prichard, C. (Ed.). (2000). Managing knowledge: Critical investigations of work and learning. New York: St. Martin's Press.


Aimed at MBA students, postgraduates and advanced level undergraduates, this book questions the naive, self interested and popularised messages that surround knowledge work and knowledge management. Case studies examine the politics of new communications technologies which are frequently offered as a means for managing knowledge in the workplace.
KEY WORDS: Management; Work and Learning; Study and Teaching; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Ribolzi, L. (2000). The challenge of training. Studi di Sociologia, 38(1), 3-34.


Vocational education and training is a core issue for educational systems spanning disciplines and incorporates many agencies. This education/training is critical to the competitiveness in the context of the global economy. Other roles include, increasing social equity, improving life chances, & promoting individuals' possibilities for attaining better performance. Schools provide students with formal learning, but also important is learning at work to acquire the necessary skills. Theoretical approaches are confronted and since 1997, has offered an annual detailed source of data about the Italian private company's professional needs.
KEY WORDS: Vocational Education; Education Work Relationship; Training; Educational Programs; World Economy; Educational Systems; Italy; Business; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Robinson, C. (2000). Developments in Australia's vocational education and training system. Adelaida, South Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.


Australia's national vocational education and training (VET) system and nationally funded technical and further education colleges were established in the 1970s. In the 1980s, traineeships complementing traditional apprenticeships and competency-based training were instituted. An industry-led training system was established in the 1990s. Total VET participation reached 1.5 million (12% of the working-age population) in 1998, and apprentices and trainees totaled 250,000 in 1999. Australia's public system of formal VET receives some $4 billion in public funding annually, with employers investing an additional $4.7 billion in structured and unstructured training. The following are among distinguishing features of Australia's VET system: a clear national policy for VET; movement toward lifelong learning; development of advanced and high-level skills training; development of an industry-led training sector; flexible delivery and modularization of training delivery; competition among training providers; a strong system of public training institutions; a framework for national recognition of VET; and focus on outputs and outcomes. Issues expected to have a significant impact on Australia's VET system in the near future include the changing nature of work, a trend toward customizing VET, the aging population, and movement toward a lifelong learning culture.
KEY WORDS: Access to Education; Public Education; School Business Relationship; Secondary Education; Skill Development; Student Certification; Systems Approach; Vocational Education; Work Environment; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Ryan, P. (2000). The institutional requirements of apprenticeship: Evidence from smaller EU countries. International Journal of Training and Development, 4(1), 42-65.


Characteristics of apprenticeship in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands are closer to Germany's social partnerships model than Britain's deregulated market in terms of statutory governance, educational requirements, administration, and funding. The experience of these countries may not be helpful in reviving British apprenticeship without institutional change.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Business Responsibility; Federal Regulation; Foreign Countries; Governance; Government Role; Organizational Change; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Sakellariou, C. (2003). Rates of return to investments in formal and technical/vocational education in Singapore. Education Economics, 11(1), 73-87.


Explores relationship between education and earnings in Singapore. Uses Labor Force data to obtain estimates of private returns to investment in formal and technical/vocational education. Some results confirm earlier patterns from other countries, whole others make Singapore a world outlier, with very high private returns to schooling in relation to Singapore's advanced stage of development and per-capital income.
KEY WORDS: Formal Education; Private Benefits; Singapore; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Saunders, S. (2001). Review of the Australian apprenticeship and traineeship literature: References and their key issues. Leabrook, Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.


This volume is a survey of more than 125 Australian apprenticeship and traineeship references from 1985-99. Each item identifies author/editor/organization, date, title, organization and place of publication or development. A "key" provides a descriptive phrase relating to the reference type, such as an industry-body paper on training delivery (to special groups); industry view on training system; academic paper on industry training and training delivery; or official report on training funding, policy, and system. Each reference is summarized for its origin, key topics, and key issues in the contemporary setting.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Annotated Bibliographies; Apprenticeships; Delivery Systems; Demand Occupations; Developed Nations; Educational Assessment; Policy Formation; Postsecondary Education; Public Policy; State of the Art Reviews; Surveys; Trainees; Vocational Education; Australia; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Savoie-Zajc, L., & Dolbec, A. (2003). Co-operative education in the pulp and paper sector in Quebec. Journal of Workplace Learning, 15(3), 114-122.


Using the concept of "community of practice" and a typology developed by Guile and Griffiths, this article characterizes the quality and the nature of learning students achieved while studying in a newly-implemented pulp and paper vocational program, structured as a co-operative education program and offered in six school boards throughout the province of Quebec, Canada. the observations come from a five-year long action research program involving registered students, trainers in vocational centers, and work supervisors in pulp and paper mills. the conclusion highlights the structural barriers in pulp and paper mills that limit students' access to operations. this co-op education program is traditional according to the Guile and Griffiths' typology.
KEY WORDS: Education; Communities of Practice; Curriculum; Implementation; Workplace Learning; Canada; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Sharpe, A. (1999). Apprenticeship in Canada: A training system under siege? Ottawa: Canadian Labour Force Development Board National Apprenticeship Committee.


This paper first reviews apprenticeship trends in Canada over the last two decades. It then examines prospects for labour market conditions for the total economy and for the construction sector to the year 2005 based on scenarios developed by the forecasting firm Informetrica for the IAS committees examining labour market trends in the construction trades. The paper finds that the apprenticeship system has a number of serious weaknesses, including the stagnation in new apprenticeship registrations in the 1990s; the inability of the apprenticeship system to expand beyond traditional fields such as the construction trades and motor vehicle repair into growing occupations in business and commerce, health sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences; the inability of the apprenticeship system to increase the extremely low proportion of women enrolled in apprenticeship programs (3 per cent); the uneven development of apprenticeship programs by province, resulting in regional disparities in access to apprenticeship programs; the very low level of completion rates for apprenticeship programs (9.5 per cent) due to the high drop out rate; and the strong downward trend in apprenticeship completion rates, declining one third over the past two decades. The trends described in this paper raise serious questions about the ability of the apprenticeship system in Canada to produce an adequate supply of qualified workers for the economy. As suggested by the title of this paper, the apprenticeship system may be under siege. When there is weak demand for qualified workers, the deficiencies of the apprenticeship system may have limited consequences. Since large increases in the number of qualified workers are not needed, the low apprenticeship completion rates do not represent an obstacle to growth. Employers do not put pressure on the apprenticeship system to become more effective. In contrast, strong demand for qualified workers makes employers more aware of the deficiencies of the apprenticeship system and creates demand for reforms.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Building Trades; Developed Nations; Educational Trends; Employment Projections; Foreign Countries; Futures (of Society); Labor Market; Postsecondary Education; Program Effectiveness; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Smaller, H. (2000). Vocational education in Ontario's secondary schools: Past, present - and future? North York: Labour Education and Training Research Network.


There has been a rapid and continuing decline in the numbers of students enrolled in vocational courses in secondary schools over the past decade in Ontario. Canada does not seem to be alone in this regard. At the global level, a recent series of studies published by the OECD also reflects this decline. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, the authors explore why it is that such a seemingly "well-meaning" educational program continues to be afflicted with such tensions, adverse publicity and doubtful future. Second, the author explores whether, and if so, how, vocational education within the public school system might be conceptualized and undertaken differently. It is hoped this latter exploration will bring schools and the "real world" closer together - incorporating "alternation" as a framing concept.
KEY WORDS: Vocational Education; Ontario; Canada; Secondary Schooling; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Spielhofer, T., & Sims, D. (2004). Modern apprenticeships in the retail sector: Stresses, strains and support. Great Britain: National Foundation for Educational Research.


This report presents findings from an NFER study. It was conducted as part of the Skills for All research programme on the use of Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) in retailing. In the light of the need to generate relevant skills in the UK to enable competition in global markets, concerns have been raised about the lack of completion of MAs in retailing. The study revolved around interviews with key informants and an analysis of inspection reports from nine training providers. The findings reveal challenges with the 'short-termism' approach of both employers and employees, the generally low skills, motivation and expectations of employees, the difficulties in accessing training for MAs, and the questions about the suitability of the qualification for the retail sector. Strategies are outlined for promoting the wider take-up of MAs and providing effective support for both employers and employees.
KEY WORDS: Workforce skills; Apprenticeship; Young Adults; Stress; Training; Government Indicate; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Stamm, M. (2005). Highly talented and "only" an apprentice? Selected results of a longitudinal study and its consequences for vocational research of the highly-gifted. Education and Training, 47(1), 53-63.


Purpose - Aims to present the empirical results from a study of vocational research on the highly gifted pupils. Design/methodology/approach - Based on data from a Swiss longitudinal study on the effects of acquiring pre-school knowledge of reading and mathematics, intellectually above-average gifted pupils, who are now 16-year-olds, are filtered out and analysed with respect to their educational background and plans for the future. Findings - The most striking findings of the analysis are that those with well above-average ability are to be found in all educational examination standards their educational careers may be characterised by notable breaks, yet still be highly successful and a significant number of pupils decide against completing a high-school certificate A-level equivalent in favour of vocational training. Research limitations/implications - A limitation on the authority of the results arises in two respects with regard to the small size of the sample group and in terms of the fact that the link between performance development, cognitive ability and the actual performance demonstrated cannot be ascertained from the available data. Practical implications - Consequently, vocational training must also increasingly recognise the possibility of having to train a potentially significant number of apprentices with above-average abilities in the most varied of domains. Originality/value - This is an area that, to date, has not been the subject of much empirical investigation.
KEY WORDS: Program Effectiveness; Students; Educational Background; Cognitive Ability; Adult Vocational Education; Gifted; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Stephenson, J. (2003). A review of research and practice in e-learning in the work-place and proposals for its effective use. Retrieved November 15, 2006, from http://www.lle.mdx.ac.uk/ICLML/jsaera03.pdf


Following an abstract and introduction, this document reviews five research projects on the learning experiences of workers. The first two concern the environment required for successful learning in the workplace, and the last three address implementation of e-learning programs. (The findings from the first two studies revealed 24 conditions that must be met for successful learning in the workplace, including linking learning to improved performance, valuing collaborations in learning, and management awareness of the need for learning. Conditions for successful e-learning revealed by the last three studies included the relevance of training to the current job, user ownership and control of the process, a culture of support by the training provider and employer, and personal recognition for learning achieved.) A wider context is next provided through reference to another literature review and other writings. Characteristics of successful approaches to online work-based learning are presented, as well as four features required to produce those characteristics (intelligent and intuitive tools, and extensive database of materials, imaginative design, and a shared commitment). Three successful programs are described. A conclusion states that online work-based learning will succeed where it is personalized, managed by the user, relevant to the user's work, supported by the employer, linked to just-in-time material, and fully supported within a healthy learning environment.
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