Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Achievement Need; Adult Education; Student Motivation; Technology Integration; Web Based Instruction; Work Environment; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Tango, R. A., & Kolodinsky, P. (2004). Investigation of placement outcomes 3 years after a job skills training program for chronically unemployed adults. Journal of Employment Counseling, 41(2), 80.


This analysis of chronically unemployed job seekers after they completed a comprehensive job skills training program reveals dynamic interpersonal and intrapersonal characteristics that have an impact on job-finding success. Of primary interest in this study was the relationship between R. B. Cattell's (1988) second-order personality factors and participants' employment status 3 years after they graduated from the job skills program. Furthermore, U.S. Department of Labor worker trait classifications, such as aptitude, academic achievement, work history, and Holland's hexagonal definitions of career interest were also analyzed (United States Employment Service, 1972). Relatively robust correlations between job holding status and 2 of the second-order personality factors on Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire were illuminated: Independence and Objectivity.
KEY WORDS: Outcomes of Education; Personality Traits; Job Skills; Employment Level; Unemployment; Job Applicants; Vocational Education; Career Education; Predictor Variables; Individual Characteristics; Adult Education Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire; United States.

Tennant, M., & Yates, L. (2005). Issues of identity and knowledge in the schooling of VET: A case study of lifelong learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24(3), 213-225.


This article discusses two school-based case studies of vocational education and training in the areas of information technology and hospitality from the perspective of the agendas of "lifelong learning". Lifelong learning can be seen as both a policy goal leading to institutional and programme reforms and as a process which fosters in learners identities that enable them to thrive in the circumstances of contemporary life. These case studies suggest that current approaches to vocational education and training in schools are enacting the first but not the second of these agendas. Institutional barriers are being removed and work placements drawn in to schooling programmes. However, the pedagogy, assessment and curriculum of the programmes emphasizes short-term (and conflicting) knowledge objectives rather than orientations to flexible lifelong learning. We argue that it is teachers rather than the students who are thrust most forcibly into adopting new learner-worker identities consonant with the attributes of "lifelong learners" and the demands of the contemporary workplace.
KEY WORDS: Lifelong Learning; Information Technology; Case Studies; Vocational Education; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Tremblay, D.-G., & Le Bot, I. (2003). The German dual apprenticeship system: An analysis of its evolution and present challenges. Montreal: Canada: Tele-universite, Univeristé du Quebec.


The evolution of Germany's dual apprenticeship system and the challenges now facing it are reviewed. The following topics are considered: (1) the progression from craft guilds to vocational training; (2) the history of Germany's dual apprenticeship system from its organization in the 1970s; (3) apprenticeship in the dual system; (4) Germany's education system; (5) regulation of vocational training; (6) financing and the cost of training; (7) adjusting skills to new requirements; (8) regulation of the apprenticeship placement system; (9) continuing vocational training in Germany; (10) new challenges for today's dual system; (11) apprenticeship in Germany's Eastern Lander; (12) apprenticeship as a strategy for fighting youth unemployment; (13) Quebec's apprenticeship system; (14) an overview of apprenticeship in Canada; and (15) a comparison of the German model of apprenticeship to models in other countries. The success of Germany's dual apprenticeship system is attributed to the fact that it does not compete against itself by attempting to solve the problems of adjusting to changes in the labor market by creating branches that are parallel to the system's existing branches and thereby undermining the value of the existing system or creating "upward competition through higher-level training programs."
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Certification; Change Strategies; Comparative Education; Continuing Education; Delivery Systems; Developed Nations; Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Educational Demand; Educational Finance; Educational History; Student Employment; Student Evaluation; Trend Analysis; Unemployment; Vocational Education; Canada; Germany; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

van Leeuwen, M. J., & van Praag, B. M. S. (2002). The costs and benefits of lifelong learning: The case of the Netherlands. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 13(2), 151-168.


A model for calculating on-the-job training costs and benefits was developed and applied to Dutch employer/employee data. The model was used to generate scenarios for policy measures to stimulate lifelong learning, depicting costs and benefits for those in the market for training as well as macroeconomic consequences.
KEY WORDS: Cost Effectiveness; Educational Policy; Employment Practices; Foreign Countries; Lifelong Learning; Macroeconomics; Models; On the Job Training; Policy Formation; Netherlands; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Venter, K. (2003). Building on formal education: Employers' approaches to the training and development of new recruits in the People's Republic of China. International Journal of Training and Development, 7(3), 186-202.


Some Chinese organizations are moving away from production-oriented traditions. Resource-rich enterprises are using formal education to select and develop an elite. Organizations with less access to highly qualified recruits are also less likely to provide extensive training. The gap between organizations in terms of employee development is likely to widen.
KEY WORDS: Educational Attainment; Employment Practices; Foreign Countries; Personnel Selection; Recruitment; Staff Development; Training; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Vickerstaff, S. A. (1998). The delivery of modern apprenticeships: Are training and enterprise councils the right mechanism? Journal of Vocational Education and Training: The Vocational Aspect of Education, 50(2), 209-224.


Examines whether Britain's Training and Enterprise Councils are the best way to forge consensus on Modern Apprenticeship. Concludes with the need for a greater role for industry-based organizations and dialog about what training policy should be.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Foreign Countries; Job Training; Public Policy; Modern Apprenticeships; Training and Enterprise Councils (Great Britain); United Kingdom; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Wendy, S., & Thomas, Z. (2004). Why do business service firms employ fewer apprentices? A comparison between Germany and The Netherlands. International Journal of Manpower, 25(1), 36-54.


Analysed is why in Germany and The Netherlands the share of apprentices in the business service sector is lower than in other economic sectors. A theoretical introduction surveys the potential reasons that could be responsible for this. Empirical analysis shows that the level of skill apprentices gain is the main explanation for the relatively low supply of apprenticeships in German business service enterprises. In The Netherlands, the option to hire skilled employees from full-time schools instead of training apprentices seems to be crucial. For these reasons, the authors propose to offer obligatory extra formal training in areas such as IT skills and foreign languages for the apprentices in business service firms in Germany in order to increase the attractiveness of the dual apprenticeship system for prospective apprentices as well as business service firms.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Skills; Business Support Services; Germany; The Netherlands; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Wonacott, M. E. (2000). Apprenticeship. Trends and Issues Alert No. 19. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED).


Although apprenticeship used to be viewed as academically questionable, today many educators consider it an ideal vehicle for the work-based learning necessary for the school-to-work transition. In particular, youth apprenticeships are seen as having potential to minimize youth floundering in the labor market, ensure educative work experiences, increase earnings and educational attainment, and make school more meaningful. Unions may perceive youth apprenticeship as a threat to their influence, or they may view it as a help in maintaining unions and wages. Many states focus their efforts on employer participation in youth apprenticeships, but concerns about costs, lost trainer productivity, and liability often affect employer participation in youth apprenticeship. Employers involved in apprenticeship would prefer increased training and support for workplace mentors and trainers and improved coordination with schools. Women tend to be underrepresented in apprenticeship and to enjoy less favorable earnings outcomes, while African Americans are often over-represented but have less favorable completion rates and employment and earnings outcomes. Students may not be aware of apprenticeship opportunities, or they and their parents may have unfavorable perceptions of this option.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Blacks; Citations (References); Education Work Relationship; Educational Attitudes; Educational Benefits; Employer Attitudes; Employer Employee Relationship; Females; Males; Mentors; Outcomes of Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; Unions; Women's Education; Work Experience Programs; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Worland, D., & Doughney, J. (2002). The decline in apprenticeship training in the electrical and associated industries in Victoria. Australian Bulletin of Labour, 28(2), 88-103.


Analysis of data from electrical and associated occupations in the Australian state of Victoria shows the following: (1) a decline in numbers of apprentices; (2) numbers of women and other disadvantaged groups not increasing in apprenticeships; and (3) skill shortages on the supply side that will be exacerbated at both ends of the age spectrum if action is not taken.
KEY WORDS: Access To Education; Apprenticeships; Electrical Occupations; Foreign Countries; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Needs; Labor Supply; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Xiao, J. (2002). Determinants of salary growth in Shenzhen, China: An analysis of formal education, on-the-job training, and adult education with a three-level model. Economics of Education Review, 21(6), 557-577.


Uses hierarchical linear model to estimate the effects of three forms of human capital on employee salary in China: Formal education, employer-provided on-the-job training, and adult education. Finds, for example, that employees' experience in changing production technology and on-the-job training are positively associated with salary increases through improved technical proficiency, while formal education is not.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Human Capital; Mathematical Models; On the Job Training; Salaries; Technological Advancement; Formal Training; Employment and Education.

Yang, S. (2003). Four contingent models of company job training in U.S. organizations: Evidence from the 1996 National Organizations Survey. Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 63(7).


This issue in job training has received attention from different disciplines and perspectives for many decades. Prior empirical results have related many predictors from different levels of analysis to organization job training. While researchers have fruitfully applied alternative theoretical perspectives to predict training, studies integrating those perspectives are scarce. My dissertation fills into this gap by synthesizing several theories and integrating different levels of analysis in explaining organization job training. I propose four contingent models by which different organizational and environmental attributes interact to affect organizational training practices. Namely, the relationships between workforce composition (gender and occupational composition) and company training programs change under different organizational contexts. Organizational characteristics interact with environmental factors to affect organizational training practices. Analyzing 1996 National Organizations Survey (NOS), the author shows that (1) occupational impact on company job training is contingent upon organizational bureaucratization and institutionalization. The training gap between professional/technical core workers and blue-collar core workers widens with increases in bureaucratization, whereas the gap shrinks with an increase in institutionalization; and (2) institutionalization exerts a strong impact on organization job training, provided that organizations under investigation embrace a low level of bureaucratization. Highly bureaucratized organizations results in the institutional impact on organization training which is dramatically reduced.
KEY WORDS: Job Training; Labor Force; Organizational Culture; Organizational Structure; Bureaucratization; United States of America; Formal Training; Employment and Education.



Section 4.3 Employment and Informal
Education - Informal Learning


Ashton, D. N. (2004). The impact of organisational structure and practices on learning in the workplace. International Journal of Training and Development, 8(1), 43–53.
The main thrust of the research effort into workplace learning has been to identify the characteristics of workplace learning as experienced by the learner. The impact of the wider organisational process in which that learning is embedded have been played down. This paper, building on the work of Koike and Darrah, uses research conducted in a major multinational corporation (MNC) in South-East Asia, to explore the impact of the wider organisational structures on the process of learning. The model it develops not only shows how these processes impact on workplace learning but also helps explain why workers acquire different levels of skill.
KEY WORDS: Workplace Learning; Workplace Characteristics; Organisational Process; Process of Learning; Skill.

Ashton, D. N., & Sung, J. (2002). Supporting workplace learning for high performance working. Geneva: International Labour Organization.


The objectives of this book are twofold. The first objective is to increase the awareness among governments, employers and unions of the importance of workplace learning as a means of enhancing both work performance and the quality of working life. The second is to explore the ways in which public policy can be used to encourage organizations to make more effective use of the skills of all their employees.
KEY WORDS: High Skills Society; Workplace Culture; Workplace Learning; Work Performance; Quality of Working Life; Equity; Employer Employee Relationship; Productivity; Government Role; Theory.

Barber, J. (2004). Skill upgrading within informal training: Lessons from the Indian auto mechanic. International Journal of Training & Development, 8(2), 128-139.


Informal training is known to be the dominant skill acquisition strategy for the majority of workers in India and many other economically developing countries and there is much benefit in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of this form of training. This article uses a participant observation case study in northern India to investigate these strengths and weaknesses as well as to search out causes and influences that may be of benefit to those that seek to understand the process of informal learning.
KEY WORDS: Skill Upgrading; Informal Training; Skill Acquisition Strategy; Indian Auto Mechanic; Developing Countries.

Bauer, J., & Mulder, R. H. (2007). Modelling learning from errors in daily work. Learning in Health & Social Care, 6(3), 121-133.


Workplace errors are an opportunity for individual learning as well as an impetus for organizational change. The study explores the learning process that nurses experience after the occurrence of an error, and focuses on the importance of addressing the error with an open and learning oriented approach. The paper also explores a process model developed as an attempt to institute such a learning orientation. Non-formal learning coupled with social exchanges were determined to be important.
KEY WORDS: Workplace Errors; Workplace Learning, Nurses.

Beitler, M. A., & Mitlacher, L. W. (2007). Information sharing, self-directed learning and its implications for workplace learning: A comparison of business student attitudes in Germany and the USA. Journal of Workplace Learning, 19(8), 526-536.


This paper investigates the relationship between self-directed learning readiness (SDLR) of business students in Germany and the USA and their attitudes towards information sharing and to ascertain implications for workplace learning. The authors find that surveyed US business students have higher SDLR scores than their German counterparts, implying that they are more self-directed when it comes to learning. In both countries, the higher the SDLR score of a person, the more likely this person is willing to share information. The motivation behind it is primarily to help others. This means that employees with high SDLR scores can support and foster workplace learning as they distribute information more freely.
KEY WORDS: Self Managed Learning; Students; Germany; United States of America; Workplace Learning; Cross-cultural Studies.

Billett, S. (2002). Workplace pedagogic practices: Co-participation and learning. British Journal of Educational Studies, 50(4), 457-481.


This paper advances tentative bases for understanding workplace pedagogic practices. It draws on a series of studies examining learning through everyday work activities and guided learning in the workplace. These studies identified the contributions and limitations of these learning experiences. However, whether referring to the activities and interactions arising through work or intentional guided learning, the quality and likely contributions of these learning experiences are underpinned by workplace participatory practices. These practices comprise the reciprocal process of how workplaces afford participation and how individuals elect to engage with the work practice, termed co-participation. Workplace experiences are not informal. They are a product of the historical-cultural practices and situational factors that constitute the particular work practice, which in turn distributes opportunities for participation to individuals or cohorts of individuals. That is, they shape the conduct of work and learning through these practices. However, how individuals construe what is afforded by the workplace shapes how they elect to engage in that practice and learn. There is no separation between engaging in conscious thought - such as when participating in socially derived activities and interactions and learning. Learning is conceptualised as an inter-psychological process of participation in social practices such as workplaces. It is not reserved for activities and interactions intentionally organised for learning (e.g. those in educational institutions). Nevertheless, particular kinds of activities are likely to have particular learning consequences, regardless of whether they occur in the workplace or in educational institutions. The significance of co-participation is discussed in terms of the affordance of the workplace and individuals' construction of that affordance and subsequent engagement. Co- participation is proposed as a platform to build an understanding of workplace pedagogic practices. This includes understanding the likely contributions of learning through everyday work activities and the use of intentional workplace learning strategies, such as guided workplace learning (e.g. modelling, coaching, questioning, etc.). Instances of co- participatory practices are illustrated and discussed. Following this, a tentative scheme, founded in socio-historical activity theory, is advanced as a means for describing the requirements for work and bases for participation. The scheme comprises two dimensions: activities and interdependencies.
KEY WORDS: Workplace Learning; Pedagogic Practices; Participatory Practices; Workplace Pedagogy; Learning Through Work.

Billett, S. (2002). Toward a workplace pedagogy: Guidance, participation, and engagement. Adult Education Quarterly, 53(1), 27-43.


This article proposes bases for a workplace pedagogy. Planes of intentional guidance and sequenced access to workplace activities represent some key workplace pedagogic practices. Guidance by others, situations, and artifacts are central to learning through work because the knowledge to be learned is historically, culturally, and situationally constituted. However, the quality of learning through these planes of activities and guidance is ultimately premised on the workplace's participatory practices, which shape and distribute the activities and support the workplace affordance workers and from which they learn. Situational and political processes underpin these workplace affordances. Yet participatory practices are reciprocally constructed because individuals elect how to engage in and learn from what workplaces afford them. A workplace pedagogy is founded in these coparticipatory practices and needs to account for how workplaces invite access to activities and guidance and how individuals elect to participate in what the workplace affords.
KEY WORDS: Adult Learning; Interpersonal Relationship; Learning Processes; On the Job Training; Transfer of Training; Work Environment.

Billett, S. (2004). Workplace participatory practices: Conceptualising workplaces as learning environments. The Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(6), 312-324.


Arguing against a concept of learning as only a formal process occurring in explicitly educational settings like schools, the paper proposes a conception of the workplace as a learning environment focusing on the interaction between the affordances and constraints of the social setting, on the one hand, and the agency and biography of the individual participant, on the other. Workplaces impose certain expectations and norms in the interest of their own continuity and survival, and in the interest of certain participants; but learners also choose to act in certain ways dependent on their won preferences and goals. thus, the workplace as a learning environment must be understood as a complex negotiation about knowledge-use, roles and processes - essentially as a question of the learner's participation in situated work activities.
KEY WORDS: Workplace Learning; Employee Participation.
Billett, S., Barker, M., & Hernon-Tinning, B. (2002). Co-participatory practices at work. NALL Working Paper No. 67. Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at: www.nall.ca.
The reciprocal process of engaging in and learning through work was examined. Reciprocity between how workplaces invite individuals to participate in and learn through work (its invitational qualities) and individuals' engagement in the workplace was proposed as a means of understanding how learning through work proceeds. Workplaces' invitational qualities were shown to be shaped by workplace norms and practice and by affiliations (for example, cliques, associations, occupational groupings, and employment status) and to be frequently characterized by inequitable distribution. The distribution of and access to opportunities for practice were shown to be directed toward sustaining the work practice and/or the interests of particular individuals and groups who participate in it. These reciprocal processes of participation in workplace were illustrated through an analysis of the participatory practices of three workers--a union worker, a grief counselor, and a school-based information technology consultant--over a 6-month period. The work of all three individuals was examined through the lens of an analytical framework comprising categories of activities and interdependencies. In all three cases, there was evidence of exercise of individuals' agency in shaping the organization of their work and evidence of new learning opportunities arising from events that were structured by workplace practices and leading to significant new learning. (Contains 34 references.) (MN).

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