Independence and Prescription in Learning: Researching the Paradox of Advanced GNVQs
This article outlines the context in which General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) have been developed with particular reference to the independent learning dimension of their principles and practice. It provides an overview of the problems associated with the GNVQ approach from the literature and from a study by the authors of twelve post-16 institutions in the process of implementing Advanced GNVQ programmes. It analyses the dimensions of independent learning and argues that GNVQs provide a hybrid learner experience in which autonomy in the organisation of the individual learning process is mediated by a heavily prescribed GNVQ framework. The article concludes by locating this paradox in four central dilemmas characterising post-16 curricular policy in the UK.