Experiences of social work students with learning theoretical knowledge in constructivist higher vocational education: a qualitative exploration

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Permanent URL for this page: http://hdl.voced.edu.au/10707/236228.


Author: Bommel, Marijke van; Kwakman, Kitty; Boshuizen, Henny

Abstract:

An important learning goal in higher vocational education concerns the professional domain's shared body of knowledge. Constructivist programs use authentic learning contexts and self-directed learning to create a close connection throughout the learning process between theoretical knowledge and other forms of professional knowledge. Critics of constructivist learning contend that the situated way of learning places too much emphasis on the instrumental use of knowledge and that self-directed learning is too demanding for students. This qualitative case study investigated these criticisms by exploring the learning experiences of 18 final-year bachelor's students in social work in a constructivist program. From a previous study, the differences between these participants' theoretical knowledge were known. Results show that while all students agreed that their constructivist program was beneficial for learning knowledge pertaining to instrumental use, they had different experiences with acquiring knowledge as a system of meaning in itself. Students with high-level knowledge felt positively challenged and actively studied theories as a whole. Students with medium- and low-level knowledge had not reached beyond the knowledge that was immediately needed in the authentic learning contexts. Hypotheses and questions for further research into differences between students are discussed.

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An important learning goal in higher vocational education concerns the professional domain's shared body of knowledge. Constructivist programs use authentic learning contexts and self-directed learning to create a close connection throughout the learning process between theoretical knowledge and other forms of professional knowledge. Critics of constructivist learning contend that the situated way of learning places too much emphasis on the instrumental use of knowledge and that self-directed learning is too demanding for students. This qualitative case study investigated these ...  [+] Show more

Subjects: Vocational education and training; Higher education; Students; Teaching and learning; Research; Skills and knowledge

Keywords: Self directed learning; Case study

Published: Abingdon, England: Taylor and Francis, 2012

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Journal title: Journal of vocational education and training

Journal volume : 64

Journal number: 4

Journal date: December 2012

Pages: pp. 529-542

ISSN: 1363-6820 (print); 1747-5090 (online)

Statement of responsibility: Marijke van Bommel, Kitty Kwakman and Henny P. A. Boshuizen

Resource type: Article

Peer reviewed: Yes

Call Number:
TD/TNC 110.870



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