Characteristics of workplace learning among Finnish vocational students
Virtanen, A., Tynjälä, P., & Collin, K. (2009). Characteristics of workplace learning among Finnish vocational students. Vocations and Learning, 2 (3), 153-175. doi:10.1007/s12186-009-9022-9
Published inVocations and Learning
© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the journal 'Vocations and Learning' by Springer.
In Finnish VET, students’ work experience is explicitly defined as workplace learning, instead of the practice of already learnt skills. Therefore, vocational students’ learning periods in the workplace are goal-oriented, guided and assessed. This paper examines the characteristics of students’ workplace learning and compares them with the characteristics of employees’ workplace learning. The data were collected with an Internet questionnaire from final-year vocational students (N = 3106). In total, 1603 students (52 %) answered the questionnaire. The data were analysed using quantitative methods. The results indicate that features typical of employees’ workplace learning can also be found in student learning as well. However, VET-related workplace learning has a number of characteristics that have not been brought to light in research on employees’ workplace learning thus far. We suggest that in developing educational practices it would be useful to draw on some of the features of workplace learning such as the use of collaboration and shared practices; conversely for workplace practices it would be useful to draw on some of the features of educational practices. For example, by utilising the structures of students’ workplace learning system presented in this study, learning at work could be transformed towards more goal-directed, guided and assessed activity. ...