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Blended learning in vocational training.

Henriette Duch (HEDU), Lene Mark, Hanne Wacher Kjaergaard

In relation to the theme of the conference, this project is an example of theory having an impact on practice. When using blended learning as a facilitator of differentiation, teachers need to develop new routines and to acquire new pedagogical knowledge.

Four different types of vocational schools have experimented with blended learning as a way of dealing with problems faced in their students’ theoretical and practical training and the interplay between these. A large part of this has involved the need for differentiated teaching as will be illustrated through selected cases.

The foci of the cases are:

• How can students be part of school-based teaching and learning during periods of practical training?

• How can authentic practice be brought into school-based practical training?

• How may blended learning assist and support students who are otherwise challenged in terms of meeting the prescribed competence goals?

Methodologically, scenarios have been employed as a tool for defining the practice-related problems teachers meet in their practice and describing ways in which blended learning may present solutions. Subsequently, the solutions have been made more specific and contextualized and have been tested.

Evaluations of teachers’ learning has been carried out  through  observation and dialog so as to estimate the degree to which blended learning can provide a possible solution to some of the challenges of vocational schools in Denmark and so as to assess the role of context in terms of blended-learning implementation.

The project is inductive in its approach, inspired by grounded theory, and thus no fixed theoretical framework has been laid down in advance. Theoretical approaches have been discussed and developed along the way.

Preliminary results indicate shared, cross-contextual experiences among teachers despite the different types of training and problems involved at the four schools:

• Blended learning challenges teachers’ view of the relation between theory and practice. Tacit pedagogical knowledge is verbalized.

• Teachers’ habitual dialog with places of practical training is challenged as continuous communication becomes essential to allow for blended learning also in periods of practical training

• Blended learning changes work and teaching routines more than teachers had imagined

• Differentiation becomes both natural and necessary

• Blended learning causes the teacher role to change and increasingly teaching ways to utilize the new options – based on students’ individual needs. This requires new routines so that students may benefit and competently choose and use the new offers.


Problem Based Learning as a Cultural Tool for Health and Safety Learning in a Multi-national Company

Søren Henrik Adam, Eva Petersson Brooks

The general background of this study is an interest in how cultural tools contribute to structuring learning activities. The specific interest is to explore how such tools co-determine employees’ problem solving actions in health, safety and environment (HSE) training activities in a multi-national company context. Theoretically, the research takes its point of departure in a socio-cultural perspective on the role of cultural tools in learning, and in a complementary interest in the role of communicative framing of learning activities.

Over the past few decades, the realisation of the situated nature of human actions has become an important premise for the study of learning. In the perspectives on learning as situated (Lave and Wenger, 1991), the context of human action has come to be considered as a constitutive factor of human knowing. Contexts constitute resources people use for framing (Goffman, 1986; Kress, 2010) their actions. The contexts of this study imply an understanding of different cultural systems and how they produce social conventions and operate to provide meaning to HSE training activities (Hofstede, 2001).

In the research reported here, the focus is on how employees learn to organise HSE actions in the context of using Problem Based Learning (PBL) applied as a cultural tool (Wertsch, 1998). More specifically, our interest is in how PBL promotes adult learning by drawing on learners’ experience and involving them in reflective and social processes in the given context (Yeo, 2007).

The empirical material consists of video and interview documentation of employees participating in HSE training applying PBL. Interaction analysis (Jordan and Henderson, 1995) is used as an approach/method. The aim of interaction analysis is to identify how the participants use resources in the complex social and material context they (inter)act in. An assumption in interaction analysis is that verified observations are the best empirical material for generating analytical knowledge about learning.

Expected findings argue how PBL to a significant degree frames the HSE learning practices. Furthermore, PBL can be used to structure problem solving through participation and negotiation. In this way, problem solving emerges through experience situated in specific practices rather than through abstract knowledge.

The practice included in this research is a multi-national production company, which over a period of extensive growth and several organisational changes, has not managed to secure adequate safety culture. Safety implementation processes traditionally involve a large amount of training; which is associated with reduced productivity for the time spent on training. Therefore, the company in question wants to find ways to implement more efficient HSE training programmes applicable in different culture

Intersubjectivity in Entrepreneurial Education

Timo Nevalainen

I will present a work in progress study of prevalent ethical discourse related to entrepreneurship education in the context of policy-making in Finland and in the European context, and its implications from the perspectives of ‘entrepreneurial self’, and intersubjectivity and morality in Habermasian sense. The main hypothesis in my paper will be that focusing exclusively on the ‘objective’ reality of economic competition and the individual subject as an ‘entrepreneurial self’ with by no means an easily definable relationship to community and society, the discourse of entrepreneurship education is effectively excluding the intersubjective moral perspective from educational policy, undermining the basis for developing meaningful intersubjective relationships between actors in the context of education and imprisoning education and renewal of within the logic of calculative instrumental reason and economic competition.
In my paper, I will also attempt to interpret one possible answer on the question of how entrepreneurship education can be redefined to account for a more viable, holistic view of a full embodied, conscious and situated human being as a goal of education, based on philosopher Lauri Rauhala’s phenomenological notion of human being and my own experiences of dialogical and communal forms of entrepreneurship education as a team coach (lecturer) in Tampere University of Applied Sciences’ (TAMK) Proacademy special unit for entrepreneurship studies. One of the goals of this re-interpretation is to enable and support a more pluralistic view of possible ‘entrepreneurial selves’, intersubjective lifeworld and the ethics of infinite possibilities and responsibility in relation to entrepreneurship education.
The empirical part of this preliminary study consists of a discourse analysis of relevant European and national level (Finland) policy documents, project documentation and teaching materials in the field of entrepreneurship education and ethnographic observation and interviews of BBA students and coaches in TAMK Proacademy.
This preliminary study will constitute a part of my ongoing PhD research in Education & Society doctoral programme in University of Tampere.

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