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Learning in the workplace and the significance of school‐based education: a study of learning in a Danish vocational education and training programme

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Over the last decades educational researchers and politicians have shown a growing interest in the concept of learning in practice, i.e. learning in the workplace. Learning in practice plays an important role in connection with lifelong learning, as the workplace is an obvious setting for realizing this aim. Theories about learning in practice often include a critique of school-based learning by seriously questioning the idea that learning in school can be transferred to action and by emphasizing the context dependence of learning and acting. This article contributes to the debate by pointing out some advantages of combining school-based and workplace-based learning. The results of a study of learning in a vocational education and training (VET) programme for sales assistants show that both the theoretical training in the VET school and the practical training in the workplace are necessary to develop competency. Furthermore, the results indicate that a careful matching of specific parts of the curriculum with the learning setting (the workplace or the school) may improve the trainees' achievements. The matching is not only useful in improving VET programmes but is also generally useful in planning lifelong learning as work-related education.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Danish University of Education, Denmark

Publication date: 01 March 2005

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