Research in Post-Compulsory Education

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Online ISSN: 1747-5112
Print ISSN: 1359-6748
A growing feature of global higher education policy is the explicit link with economic performance. Indeed there is much that mirrors the development in the major economic regions of the world. From Singapore to Melbourne and from Mumbai to San Francisco, directing public educational institutions to provide public capital for their student bodies and then charge them has become a driving imperative of policy. The example I offer here is how European educational strategy has assertively included the vast and varied field of vocational education and training within the lifelong learning perspective. Its commitment to entwine formal education, workplace learning and governmental policy has a leading part in the economic debate on the role of higher education in Europe’s economic development. A desire to develop transparency and comparability in all forms of learning and qualifications, together with the associated required quality of assessment and teaching, has been an underlying and recurring theme in the Bologna Process. The commitment of European educational policy to lifelong learning generates a progressive transnational framework supporting innovative practice by higher education institutions at the local and national levels.
There is a vast array of research in the two fields of education and youth studies that deals with issues of transition, and which has shared a common acceptance of a developmental image or model of transition that assumed a predictable linear pathway leading to an end-point defined in terms of arrival at or achievement of adult status. As a result of the widespread economic and social changes of the past 25 years this type of redictability and achievement has been called into question. There is thus a need to re-examine prevailing assumptions and models of transition to account for the actual experience of the present generation of young people. This article is based on this concern. It begins with an assessment of the mainstream perspectives on transition, examines some alternative approaches, provides an exploratory discussion of the changed circumstances of transition in the 1990s, and finally discusses the methodological implications of rethinking research on education transitions in the future. The analysis articulates a theoretical concern about the inappropriateness of conventional policy settings and the need to broaden the scope of our research to allow for a greater diversity of â-˜life-patternsâ-™ more compatible with young people's experience than the prevailing imagery of pathways.
Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) represent a key tenet of the United Kingdom Government's lifelong learning strategy. They purport to be an innovatory response to the problems of adult participation in learning. Their design seeks to enshrine principles of individual choice and responsibility over the direction learning takes, and to be a vehicle of sustainable lifelong learning. Notionally, then, the ILA reflects noble and honourable intentions, drawing on liberal principles such as equality, progress and empowerment. In pragmatic terms, however, the high hopes associated with ILAs have floundered somewhat. This article aims to further the debate surrounding individual commitment to, and participation in, learning by questioning whether ILAs are simply problematic in terms of the way they have been implemented or whether they are beset by inherent flaws. Drawing on case study data the discussion brings to the fore a number of practical, philosophical and ethical dimensions.
This article is a continuation of a previous article (Moreland & Carnwell, 2000) where the development and background of the Learning Support Needs Questionnaire (LSNQ) was explained. The LSNQ identifies and elicits practical, emotional and academic learning support needs, and is followed by an action planning process designed to assist the students to address any learning needs considered important but not met. Following on, this article presents the results of the first application of the questionnaire to two groups of nursing students - one group of distance learning based and one group of campus-based students. Whilst the distance education students overall had lower expectations of the different types of support than campus based students, both groups had significant but slightly different learning support needs. The failure to address the significant unmet learning needs by both the learners themselves and the providing institutions is likely to lead to unsatisfactory learning experiences and reduced achievements, though the results do have to be treated with caution until further research is carried out.
Editor's Note This article was written, but never published, by Dr Valerie Hall, who died in 2002. Its existence was brought to my attention by Professor Ron Glatter at the memorial event for her held at the University of Bristol. It was presented at a seminar in Milton Keynes in 1998 as part of an ESRC series on ‘Redefining Educational Management’ – a field in which Val excelled, evidenced by her influential publications and work as a leading academic in her field. Its topic – adult learning theory in relation to educational leadership and management – remains highly topical. It is fitting that the article argues for the transformative capability of the professional doctorate, as Val was instrumental in launching Europe's first such award in Education at the University of Bristol. I can think of no more appropriate memorial to her work and influence in the field of educational management.
This article seeks to make a critical contribution to the growing further education (FE) discourse and its current domination by the non-contextualised ideas of management and markets. In making this contribution the authors draw on both the general theoretical literature and original longitudinal research from within one post-Incorporation college. The research examines the impact of the introduction of the strategic management process (SMP) following the Education Act, 1992, and argues that the SMPâ-™s role was greater than that of just a management tool. It is argued that the role of the SMP should be seen as more extensive than that of simply fulfilling the requirements of the Further Education Funding Council and the FE marketplace. The process of constructing and implementing the strategy can be seen as a major vehicle for change in the socio-cultural context of FE colleges â-“ also that the SMP has an understated dimension that encompasses a social process. Using the SMP in this manner can facilitate and enable organisational learning whilst stimulating increased professional participation, development and ownership.
An exploration of a 10-week stress management and relaxation course which aims to support stressed and anxious learners. As students develop physical relaxation skills for the reduction in symptoms of stress and anxiety, they gain knowledge of stress management theory in relation to their own difficult life experiences and go on to self-select strategies for the management of personal stress and anxiety. The course itself encourages students to explore the notion of uncertainty and discontinuity in relation to their own lives and weaves in a variety of education learning theories, along with Huttonâ-™s model for â-˜Learning in Actionâ-™. Within this structured, yet experiential learning environment, the underlying aim of the curriculum is the promotion of personal autonomy and the development of metacognition.
The relationship between the workplace, the researcher and the university is of a complex nature and all three stakeholders have their own influences on work-based learning. Defining the relationship between the stakeholders provokes a consideration of the issue of power, since power relations within a workplace can affect the reliability of findings. The organisational context and conflict of interest might pose a risk of the academic investigation being compromised. Following from Foucault's conclusion that the pursuit of personal autonomy in education is destined to fail, this article argues that autonomy of the researcher in the workplace can only be guaranteed by a robust defence of academic rigour by the academy in the support it offers the learner.
This article reports on research into the teaching of information systems project management using a student-centred approach. The literature contains many references to an unrest in the traditional paradigm of the university lecture where, it is supposed, that knowledge is passed from the learned lecturer to the eager student. An investigation into the theoretical epistemology showed short-falls in the traditional lecture paradigm. Some learning strategies differ significantly from traditional didactic teaching by placing the emphasis on the learner not the teacher. This research addresses the question â-˜Does a student-centred learning approach help in the teaching of information systems project management?â-™ Research methods are discussed leading to the choice of a case study approach. A student-centred model was derived and applied to a volunteer group of students, the results are reported, the student-centred learning method is evaluated and conclusions drawn.
This article proposes an approach to the study of â-˜performanceâ-™ in higher education that seeks to empower students through the activity of practice, rather than through a reliance on the passivity of post-practice analysis. In arguing this position, the article locates objectivity as an academic myth and subjectivity as a positive force. To this end, this article suggests that within the context of students' submissions the immediacy of the personal pronoun â-˜Iâ-™ should be regarded as indicative of good practice, rather than as the negative breaking of an entirely positive academic tradition. In recognising that contemporary art knows no boundaries the author stresses the role of the university tutor as guide instead of guru. In this way, it is argued, the emphasis shifts from the controlling aspects of curricular impositions towards the creation of spaces for dynamic and subject-specific learning. Assumptions of standardized expectations and correctness are challenged, and these are set in opposition to the ideas of interrogative educational practice, which form the core of this article. Notwithstanding its focus on the areas of â-˜theatreâ-™ and â-˜performanceâ-™, this article has a wide application to the field of developmental post-compulsory education. For it is only through freeing students from the certainties of our teaching that we are able to shift knowledge away from the accumulation of our own preconceptions. Whereas performance functions as a peg on which the article hangs, the article itself is concerned with locating the student-experience at the heart of all study.
It is evident that many colleges are seeking to use information communication technology (ICT) as a way of transforming the teaching and learning process and, as a consequence, adding value or increasing efficiency outcomes. Whilst to some construction might not seem the most verdant curricular terrain for the introduction of ICT, it has been pointed out by Evans (2000) that there is an increasing need within this sector of the economy to grasp the benefits of the new technology â-“ not only in terms of what might be regarded as the more â-˜traditionalâ-™ applications of design and development but also in the development of â-˜hands onâ-™ skills. With this in mind and using funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), Stourbridge College in the West Midlands, United Kingdom set out to explore the ways in which ICT can play a meaningful part in supporting construction skills development through the creation of an Advanced Technology Centre (ATC). Keen to take a systematic approach the college appointed a project researcher to assist in identifying the barriers and opportunities associated with the introduction of ICT into the construction curriculum. This report forms part of an ongoing evaluation by the researcher. It incorporates changes made by the college in response to earlier feedback from the researcher. In summary it is argued that ICT does have the potential to be both cost effective and efficient in providing â-˜state of the artâ-™ training to the construction industry, thereby facilitating the IT up skilling of its customers. However, amidst all the ICT excitement, the human dimension has proved to be the pivotal ingredient for the success of the venture, both in its embryonic stages and in the realisation of the dream.
The talk of secondary school students concerning continuing education post-GCSE and the extent of its importance are discussed. The different arguments students used to explain their constructions of the relative importance of continuing with education are categorised. These are analysed in order to discover the various discourses underlying their statements, and the ways in which these discourses position further education, students, and the world at large. It is argued that discourses of meritocracy underlying policy and debate on lifelong learning may give students a somewhat unrepresentative view of post-16 education as a direct route of access to desired jobs.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has become progressively more important among individuals, employers and professional organisations with the increasing demand for accountability, competitiveness, flexibility and a skilled and competent workforce. This article reports on a study undertaken to consider the support physiotherapists require to undertake effective CPD and to identify the support the professional body, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy could provide. A qualitative study was undertaken to explore the barriers to undertaking CPD and to consider possible solutions. The main issue to emerge was that individuals were motivated and committed to CPD but experienced guilt about taking time for it because they were working in demanding environments where the patient needs are paramount, and CPD was not necessarily integral to practice. The study concluded that physiotherapists require support from their professional organisation and employers to enable them to integrate their CPD with their practice. An increased awareness and understanding of CPD is required to enable them to become independent learners. Support for effective CPD is the key which can unlock the potential of the workforce.
As one of the consultants commissioned by the University of London Institute of Education to analyse the 805 responses, the author has been close to the report on these written for the United Kingdom National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (NCIHE or â-˜Dearing Committeeâ-™). This article submits the responses to the July 1996 Request for Evidence to further evaluation, concentrating on those questions dealing with the aims, purposes and role of higher education in the next 20 years. Most of the issues concerning the future aims and role of higher education can be focused in the very strong plea that lifelong learning should be added explicitly to the purposes that higher education is expected to fulfil, and many put this in the context of promoting a â-˜learning societyâ-™ so that everyone can use the information revolution. The article draws out from the responses what they mean by lifelong learning and a learning society, and contrasts these ideas with papers from the United Kingdom government and the EU Commission. Lifelong learning is not just a method but a culture and an overriding concept which subsumes others such as self-directed learning credit accumulation, access, continuing professional development, distance and open learning. The article discusses access to lifelong learning, and its benefits and implementation issues for the higher education system, institutions and other stakeholders. Finally the evidence on what respondents sought from Dearing is compared with what the NCIHE Report itself concludes, and the Report is found wanting. All in all, the report makes some useful noises, but the analysis and recommendations on aims and role and on lifelong learning and a learning society, are disappointing, tend to reinforce the full-time traditional starting point, and do not envisage the extent of cultural change which is needed. The Report's recommendations as a whole lack force and understanding of which â-˜leversâ-™ have to be moved.
Research into a mentoring scheme, set up to assist in the induction of new academic staff to a college offering further, higher and adult education, is explored to determine how better understanding of mentoring can improve the performance of mentors. New definitions for peer mentoring in a professional environment are suggested as well as new models, which explore styles and depth of learning.
Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) are a relatively recent phenomenon and are a new category of lay representation within the workplace in the United Kingdom. They are part of the present New Labour administration's drive to expand and improve lifelong learning and continuous professional development and create the new `learning society'. ULRs have become significant in the Scottish educational system, particularly in response to the McCrone Report, which dealt with the future of continuous professional development (CPD) of Scottish teachers and made significant recommendations in this area. To this end, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), which represents the overwhelming majority of teachers in Scotland, took up the challenge and launched a Learning Representatives scheme with the expressed desire that these representatives work to advise, broker and facilitate improved CPD opportunities for their colleagues. The aim of our article is twofold. Firstly, to outline the EIS Learning Representatives scheme in some detail, and secondly, to outline how it is progressing from the perspective of the representatives themselves. Our hope is that this article will help stimulate a debate in Europe amongst academics, politicians and practitioners to the extent that the concept of ULRs is adopted beyond the shores of the UK.
The commitment of individuals to development in general and personal development in particular is critical to longer term organisational success. In a wider sense it is claimed that organisations are able to support and enable change through training and development. However individuals find it difficult to recognise investment in training and development for them as individuals. In particular professional qualifications are pursued because they are recognised as important for CVs, personal profile and career development. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Professional Assessment Scheme is a flexible, suitable opportunity to allow both personal and professional development to be pursued. This article examines the CIPD scheme and its benefits for both the individual and organisation and concludes that although the scheme offers an opportunity for organising professionally related learning in a systematic way there are a considerable range of benefits which have hitherto gone unrecognised.
Much has been written about the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in distance learning environments. A quick Google search turns up as many as 178,000 links to the term. ICT has been less used and discussed as a means of communication between research student and supervisor - particularly where this is the major means of student delivery, tutorial input and critical direction. This article discusses how an education research project depends on communication between student and supervisor via the Internet and emails, rather than face-to-face meetings. It examines the opportunities and drawbacks of ICT and also how emails, webpages and the Internet help the supervisor, research student, and also participants who provide the research data, to examine and reflect on questions asked and issues raised. It is argued that the use of ICT facilitates strong reflective processes. There is a focus on issues of power and control, which are always at the heart of human activity.
This article reviews some of the most influential theories relating to leadership and the management of change, and evaluates their efficacy in explaining the approach taken to leadership and the management of change in a post-1992 university. It notes that appointment practices to senior positions in such institutions appear to be based on traditional views of the function and role of senior managers. It concludes by showing that many traditional theories of leadership do little to cast light on the approach to leadership and the management of change found in such institutions, and that appointment practices based on such views may be misguided. It suggests that perspectives that include wider sets of variables, and which adopt a post-modernist approach to the understanding of management and leadership, may be more useful to our understanding of leadership and may lead to the appointment of senior managers with a more inclusive approach.
Along with the rest of the education sector universities have been encouraged to develop strategies for educational improvement. The strategies that have emerged have been heavily influenced by the policies and priorities of the government and government agencies, such as the Quality Assurance Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council, and the targets set as a consequence of these policies and priorities. The government's emphasis has been on such things as fitness for purpose and value for money, whilst at the same time demanding high standards of quality assurance and widening participation. To what extent are the demands for educational improvement and the approach to this taken by the post-1992 university sector justified or supported by the current research in this area? It is the conclusion of this article that there is a paucity of directly relevant research, but that the research that does apply indicates that the sector needs to rethink its approach to educational improvement if it wishes to avoid the impoverishment of the education it provides.
This research paper shows the ways in which survivors of domestic abuse can move on with their lives and take action to prevent their re-victimisation by returning to education. The primary aim was to explore the role of education as an agent of change, effecting positive and empowering changes to survivors' lives, thereby enhancing their life chances and preventing future re-victimisation. A qualitative approach was adopted in which in-depth life-history interviews were conducted with the target population and semi-structured interviews conducted with key workers from domestic abuse support agencies and educational service providers. A measure of social capital was used to assess the level of social support available to participants at two points in time. Findings suggest a relationship between social support networks and a need for long-term one-to-one support in achieving personal and educational development—a primary motivation to living abuse-free lives.
Failure to adapt to the demands of higher education (HE) is often cited as a cause of withdrawal from the course. Parker and others (Parker, J.D.A., L.J. Summerfeldt, M.J. Hogan, and S.A. Majeski. 200429. Parker , J.D.A. , Summerfeldt , L.J. , Hogan , M.J. and Majeski , S.A. 2004. Emotional intelligence and academic success: Examining the transition from high school to university. Personality and Individual Differences, 36: 163–72. [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®]View all references. Emotional intelligence and academic success: Examining the transition from high school to university. Personality and Individual Differences 36: 163–72) considered the role of individual differences in Emotional Intelligence (EI) and demonstrated a link between EI, withdrawal/retention and measures of academic achievement. In this study we ask whether EI mediates withdrawal in a UK HE institution and whether an EI‐based intervention might improve retention rates. Study 1 considers the effects of EI upon retention, revealing that students with higher levels of EI are more likely to progress to Year 2 of study. Study 2 evaluates an EI‐based intervention programme, demonstrating that students who show an increase in EI are more likely to persist with their studies. These findings are discussed in the light of current theoretical work. The prospects for EI‐based intervention programmes are also considered.
Incl. bibl., abstract, tables. This study examined whether academics at the University of Nairobi (Kenya) would differ in their support for merit versus equity values in student admission based on their demographic and role structure characteristics. The findings indicated that overall academics gave overwhelming support to the use of merit as the admission criterion in higher education while equity received only slight support. In demographic terms, sex, age and ethnicity were significantly associated with attitudes towards equity. With regard to role structure variables, only disciplinary affiliations of the academics were significantly associated with either merit or equity. Faculty in humanities showed significantly lower support for merit than those in social and natural sciences while those in the social sciences showed significantly higher support for equity. It was concluded that the academics, to a considerable degree, display homogeneity of values that center on support for merit. Furthermore, it was deduced that the sex, age, ethnicity and disciplinary affiliation of academics moderate this support for merit. Policy-wise, the results gave a strong reason for recommending for the continuation of merit-based admissions since most academics would likely reject equity-based admission policies. Additionally, it was suggested that policy initiatives aimed at reducing disparities in higher education should be directed at the qualitative improvement of education at the lower levels in order to provide equality of opportunity in the national examinations.
This paper addresses the policies and strategies of the Palestinian vocational education, and indicates that there are differences within the perceptions of different internal stakeholders (50 secondary vocational education teachers, 50 academic secondary school teachers, 50 university faculty members and 50 technicians working in educational institutions). The study shows that placing vocational education within a comprehensive secondary curriculum is an appropriate strategy for Palestinian vocational education, and that basic education is an essential prerequisite for vocational education. The participants believe that private business should participate in financing vocational education but not be solely responsible for it. Furthermore, they felt that graduates of vocational schools should be permitted to have access to university education and community college programs without restrictions. Finally, there is agreement among the four participating groups in terms of their perceptions regarding the majority of vocational policies. Significant differences were observed among the perceptions of the four participating groups concerning adopting a range of possible policies. The controversial policies are related to restrictions on vocational education and forcing low achieving students to follow the vocational education track only.
This research project explores the pre-entry guidance experiences of adult learners undertaking an 'Access to Health and Professions Allied to Medicine' (PAMs) course offered by Darlington College of Technology (DCT), a Further Education (FE) college in the north-east of England. The study generates qualitative data on the sources of guidance accessed by these students, the types of guidance they have received and their reasons for accessing this guidance. Results support both Social Learning Theory and the Social Learning Theory of Career Decision-Making. They also highlight the key role of FE admissions tutors as a source of guidance and raise concerns about the quality of formal guidance received by some respondents.
Incl. bibl., abstract. Multiple deprivations are widespread in rural India. Literacy levels remain stubbornly low, albeit gradually improving. Caste, class, religion, gender, age and disability all impact on access to education, participation and successful completion. The education of girls remains problematic given the higher value attached to sons, especially in rural communities; their frequent confinement to the home on reaching puberty; the cost of dowries (despite being outlawed); trafficking of adolescent girls and/or early marriage. The education of tribal communities and other scheduled castes in rural communities, despite principles of free education and equality of access, are inhibited by poor facilities and availability of provision; by economic circumstances and past family experiences and histories. Against a cultural and familial history of poverty, illiteracy, child labour, early marriage, increased abandonment of the elderly and extensive and entrenched patterns of discrimination, one NGO has developed a holistic and integrated approach to supporting some of the most disadvantaged groups in a poor rural area in West Bengal. This approach appears to fundamentally change, for the better, the life chances, educational outcomes and economic prospects of the target communities. While there can be no direct transfer of strategies between the two countries this paper will explore possible explanations for such success and what lessons, if any, might be learnt by educationalists working towards widening successful participation in education in England. Ghandi: intolerance is a form of violence
This article explores the experience of adult learners and their perceptions of learning using computer-based learning materials, mainly Learndirect packages. The findings are based on focus group interviews with learners in a range of settings, including centres in community-based organisations, further education colleges and private training providers based in the Midlands region of England. The research forms part of a larger study of partnership working and its role in widening participation in lifelong learning in the Black Country sub-region of England, but this article will focus specifically on the data from focus group interviews with learners. The findings reported here provide an insight into the ability of learners to articulate the benefits and the weakness of learning in this way, and to be clear about their learning goals. The data reveal aspects of the physical, social and psychological learning environment, which help learners participate in learning. This is, of course, useful for practitioners, but the individual stories also reveal deeper and more hurtful previous experiences, which cannot be tackled by tinkering with the learning environment or the learning materials.
A critical discourse analysis of the Adult Numeracy Core Curriculum is used to expose and challenge the underlying assumptions of the Skills for Life strategy, and to examine the way in which the text constructs subject positions for adult numeracy teachers and learners. The analysis finds that presuppositions include the unproblematic transfer of classroom numeracy learning to social practice, and the need for adults to learn functional numeracy rather than academic mathematics. Teachers are found to be constructed by the text within a deficit model, as needing help, guidance, and instruction, while learners are positioned as also deficient, passive, childlike and ‘other’. Learners are excluded from high status academic mathematics and restricted to functional numeracy, and this finding is considered in relation to the theories of Bourdieu and Bernstein. Implications for the coming review of the Skills for Life core curricula are examined, and alternative discourses considered.
Despite the essentially functional, technicist basis of both the International Adult Literacy Survey (1997), and the Moser report in England (1999), the past two decades have witnessed a radical shift in our understanding of the nature of literacy and numeracy, which should in turn have a marked effect on the way that provision is structured. This 'new' approach is embedded in a definitional shift from literacy and numeracy, to literacies. This article examines the impact that the new approach to literacies has had in three areas; (1) the nature of literacies provision in communities, (2) adults' understanding of 'being literate', and (3) their perceptions of literacy learning. Drawing on an innovative research project in North Ayrshire, it asks whether this new vision of literacies is a shared one, or one that has not yet impacted on providers and learners. The authors suggest that the task of translating theoretical understandings into local praxis is a major one. In addition to the significant changes that it requires of providers, evidence from their research indicates the enormity of the task ahead in changing many adults' perceptions both of self as learner and of literacies learning, and they consider the policy implications of this.
Using data from in-depth individual interviews, this article discusses the educational experiences and ambitions of two young working-class full-time female students. The two studies are derived from a wider investigation into student post-16 educational experiences and decision-making, based on a sample of students and staff of an Advanced Vocational Certificate of Education in Travel and Tourism at a large further and higher education college in the West Midlands of England. The author considers the young women's stories in the light of governmental aims to widen participation in the post-16 sector. It is argued that, although the students' stories offer a positive account of determination and ambition, they also reveal ambivalences and struggles that reflect the nature of the barriers that working-class students can encounter within post-16 education. Such ambivalences and struggles reflect, in turn, the wider contradictions that the post-compulsory sector faces within the "market state".
Incl. bibl., abstract The introduction of national qualification frameworks (NQFs), including frameworks specifically for the vocational sector (NVQFs), are policy initiatives that have far reaching implications for the management and delivery of education and training. Despite the caution called for by researchers and the challenging reality of implementation in both developed and developing countries, NQFs and NVQFs continue to be included in national reform programs in many regions of the world. This paper summarises current developments in the Asia-Pacific region, where enthusiasm for national qualification frameworks has reached new heights. The paper also draws on the author's experience in working on NVQF development and implementation in Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea to highlight the role of donors who are active partners in the expansion of the international trend to implement qualification frameworks.
The value of learning from work-based experience has been advocated by a number of commentators, including management writers as well as those addressing aspects of organisation and leadership in the higher education (HE) sector. Yet, in the field of HE administration, as is the case more generally, evidence suggests the limited application of this form of learning in practice, despite recognition of the benefits that can arise from reflecting upon work-based experience. Such modest levels of adoption may, in part at least, relate to the challenge of identifying suitable reflective tools. This study considers the findings from the piloting of one such tool aimed at identifying, capturing and sharing experiential learning within a university-based team working in student outreach and recruitment. The evidence gathered reveals a high and sustained level of take-up, as well as confirming the value of this approach; not only in terms of individual practice but as a means of enhancing the work of the team through the sharing of insights into the quality of the interventions team members deliver. It is hoped that the tool profiled in this study has the potential to be used elsewhere. To this end, the paper concludes with some recommendations for wider adoption whilst also reflecting upon the importance of an organisational culture that supports such practice.
Demographic, psychological and secondary level examination measures were obtained at the start of undergraduate courses in an attempt to predict first year higher education (HE) withdrawal. As usual, withdrawal was greatest for males. Overall, intrinsic motivation and independent study expectations were better predictors of withdrawal than extrinsic motivation, lack of direction, and psychological health (anxiety and depression) variables. While 23% of the variance in continuance / withdrawal was explained, only 13% of variance was explained when gender and faculty of study were controlled. It is concluded that prediction of withdrawal is easier once students’ behaviours and performance within HE are apparent than it is at the outset of their HE careers. Nevertheless, some suggestions for interventions are made, centring upon the current findings for intrinsic motivation and independent study expectations.
Incl. abstract, tabl., bibl. This article examines the development of nationally funded vocational education and training (VET) research in Australia since the mid-1990s. The provision of nationally competitive funding through the Australian National Training Authority has led to an explosion of VET research guided by a national strategy that outlines the key priorities for the major stakeholders in the VET system. The article reports on the results of an analysis of Australia's major national competitive grant scheme for VET research from 1997 to 2000, and examines the quality and impact of that research. Issues of quality and impact are crucial to the future of VET research in Australia, and the analysis leads to the conclusion that there is a need for the development of new skills amongst VET researchers to ensure the continuity of the field.
Ongoing reform in vocational education and training (VET) has placed significant pressure on leaders in private training organisations in terms of striking an ‘appropriate’ balance between educational and business imperatives. This paper draws on data from 34 interviews with leaders from 16 private registered training organisations in Australia to investigate how educational leadership is understood and enacted in their work. The study found that these leaders were able to articulate clearly the tensions between managing business imperatives and assuring quality educational outcomes. Further, they were conscious of the ways in which their leadership extended beyond their organisations into external environments in order to further educational as well as business goals. The findings suggest that, contrary to the popular notion of seeing educational and business leadership as competing priorities, leaders view them as complementary and integrated domains. They are therefore better understood as situated practices embedded in specific organisational contexts.
This study examined how full-time university students cope with part-time working during term time. A qualitative approach was used to examine how students simultaneously manage the two activities, and how part-time working affects their academic study. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain data from a sample of 30 undergraduate business students. The findings confirm that students merely satisfice many aspects of their lives, with time set aside for reading and assignment preparation being areas that are most likely to suffer in order to allow students to engage with part-time work. Possible options available to higher education institutions to adapt to, and remedy, the situation are explored in the conclusion.
Overview of the independent variables.
Background variables and ESE as predicators for three types of entrepreneurial intentions.
The rationale behind this study is that entrepreneurship education programmes (EEP) in post-compulsory education mainly address entrepreneurial intentions, instead of actual entrepreneurial behaviour, and that students, compared to practicing entrepreneurs, might have a wide range of entrepreneurial intentions when entering such a programme. The question is whether or not students indeed have different entrepreneurial intentions and, if so, whether it is possible to predict these intentions based on various classical antecedents known to influence these intentions. A quantitative study among 102 life-sciences students was carried out in order to investigate this question. The results show that students, independent of their domain of study, differentiate between different types of entrepreneurial intentions. Furthermore, the results illustrate that gender and entrepreneurial self-efficacy have a direct influence on entrepreneurial intentions. However, the effect of gender depended on the type of entrepreneurial intentions studied. As EEP aim to increase entrepreneurship not only as a start-up activity but also more generally in the world of work, the outcomes of this study suggest that it is fruitful for such programmes to rethink the way they operationalise, approach and aim to stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour of students
This study explores relationships between experiences in initial education, subsequent life experiences/opportunities and the decision to return to education later in life. Semi-structured interviews with seven female returners to education, focused initially upon the women’s perceptions of their aspirations and motivations at various ages, how these related to the choices they felt they had available to them at different points in time, and their sense of agency. Subsequently, the interviewees considered the relationship between early educational experiences, post-school experiences, and their current choices. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts led to the identification of four main themes: restrictions, opportunities, personal development, and an underlying theme of planning. Consideration of the relationships between these themes led to the conclusion that it was life experiences rather than initial education that both motivated and empowered the interviewees to take advantage of opportunities for higher education.
Drawing on a sample of interviews from an empirical research project this article examines the ways in which discourses of flexibility are ‘worked’ to produce complex and shifting identity positions in the workplace of further education in the United Kingdom. The analysis follows others in viewing the workplace as a ‘site of struggle’ in which identity positions are discursively constructed. However, this is not to suggest that new identities associated with discourses of the ‘flexible worker’ are unproblematically taken up. The analysis draws on Foucault's notions of discourse and power to suggest that college lecturers are actively working the discourses of flexibility to produce a kaleidoscope of new identities for new contexts, new circumstances and new purposes.
This article examines the expectations and experiences of staff new to the FE/HE sector. The research involved the use of focus group interviews supported by a questionnaire. Key findings of the research indicate the pervasiveness of managerialism and the intensification of labour across sectors. Findings also suggest that there is a blurring of the division between labour processes within the new University and FE sectors, and a shared discourse about learners and their expectations of learning. Orientations to research were differentiated within and across the sectors, and those new to FE were largely unaware of the thrust towards the development of practicebased/evidence-based research.
Incl. bibl., abstract. This article explores the emerging phenomenon of workplace learning brokerage and the extent to which learning brokers can facilitate workplace learning in firms that have little history of employee development. Drawing on research carried out over a 6-year period, the article puts forward a typology of practice and identifies four distinct forms of brokerage. It then considers the factors that constrain and enable successful brokerage. We suggest that factors constraining brokerage are organizational structures, discourse and tensions characterising the broker role. We conclude by arguing that brokerage functions best under conditions of social cohesion in the workplace, and where learners perceive themselves to have a sense of ownership of their own learning.
This paper is based on in-depth interviews carried out with students in their first and final years of undergraduate study. The paper examines how students approached career decision-making and the rationale underpinning the approach they adopted. The research found that students were not utilising the type of rational approaches to career decision-making promoted by policymakers, careers professionals and the educational system. This was because students tended to be present- rather than future-orientated; they had a predisposition to an extrinsic locus of control and dependency rather than agency; and they preferred to make decisions using informally absorbed information and their intuition. The paper concludes by suggesting that colleges and universities should encourage students to critically evaluate the way they currently make decisions and support the development of their students’ decision-making skills so that they can make more rational career decisions.
This article reports on the outcomes from an initial study to explore the job satisfaction of academics in the light of changes in higher education in the UK. The study is placed in relation to attendant concerns that the job satisfaction, motivation and morale of academic staff may be being tested. A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to secure academics perceptions from two Schools of Education located within chartered and statutory universities in the English West Midlands. Thirty facets perceived important in impacting upon job satisfaction were identified and from these, key facets deemed either deeply satisfying or deeply dissatisfying to academics were established. These key facets have the potential to impact upon academic's motivation and morale as well as their job satisfaction. A typology based on the balance between key facets is presented as a means to enable manager-academics to further reflect upon possible actions within their Schools and institutions. The study captures insights relevant to informing the future research agenda and highlights the possible consequences of a laissez-faire stance to these important issues.
This study explores the most significant formal and informal learning experiences for mature students on a full-time childcare and early years education (CEYE) course offered by a large Further Education (FE) college in the north east of England, referred to as 'Riverbank City College' (RCC) throughout the article. The research generates qualitative data on the perceived importance and congruence of the placement and college-based dimensions of the programme, the nature of student learning on this course and the influence of others upon individual learning experiences. The project also explores the extent to which the principles of Social Learning Theory and Situated Learning are reflected in student discourses. Results support key elements of both theories and highlight the importance students attach to placement experience. They also raise concerns regarding a 'theory-practice gap' and the quality of placement support on the course.
Incl. bibl., abstract. It has been estimated that as many as one in five adults in England have difficulties with literacy or numeracy skills. Raising the standards of language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills amongst all adults of working age in England has become one of the government's highest priorities. Following the launch of the Skills for Life strategy in England, adults with poor LLN skills were targeted to attend training provision to upgrade their skills. As a result of the strategy, some identified target groups, i.e. the unemployed and benefit claimants, have found that receipt of benefits has had 'conditionality' attached to it; that is, they are required to undertake activities, including training, in order to maintain welfare benefits. Whilst resistance is often associated with motivation, this paper argues that making attendance at training provision a 'conditionality' of receipt of welfare benefits is unlikely to result in an increase in an adult's LLN skills. We argue that whilst attendance at training provision can be increased through the use of such sanctioning interventions, this negative intervention does not result in a learner engaging in the training activities. There is a distinct difference between attending training programmes and engaging with training provision. Using the conceptual framework provided by Pierre Bourdieu's discussion of reproduction in culture, society and education, we argue that the Skills for Life strategy is being used as an apparatus of symbolic violence; being legitimised through misrecognition.
Incl. bibl., abstract. For some years now, teachers in the post compulsory sector have been lambasted in educational circles for what some perceive as the poor quality of teaching and learning in classrooms. Such criticisms have tended to emanate from those responsible for inspecting the sector's provision. In fact, when Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) and the ALI (Adult Learning Inspectorate) took over responsibility from the FEFC (Further Education Funding Council) for post compulsory inspections, it made it clear that as part of its remit, it would endeavour to bring about an overall improvement in the standards of teaching and learning in classrooms. This 'improvement' was to be based significantly on the strengths and weaknesses identified by inspectors in classroom observations. This paper examines the role that classroom observation has to play as a tool for teacher assessment and development in external inspections and similar schemes within the post compulsory sector. It is argued throughout that current models of classroom observation, which typically involve some form of appraisal or assessment of the teacher's performance, run contrary to the principles of teacher development and as such do little to improve the overall quality of teacher performance. The position postulated in this paper is that such approaches to observation tend to induce a culture of negatively charged emotions and focus on the more trivial features of teaching. Furthermore, instead of providing teachers with the opportunity to develop their own ability to reflect on, and assess, their teaching, they tend to rely too heavily on the subjective judgements of inspectors/observers. In conclusion, this paper contests that if future classroom observation schemes are serious about improving the standards of teaching and learning in the post compulsory sector, then they must move towards a more equitable model in which both teachers and learners themselves are actively involved in the process of assessment.
The professional status of further education lecturers has been widely debated and contested within the published literature. This article presents the results of a series of semi-structured interviews undertaken with a small sample of college lecturers working within a partner college network in south-west England. Regardless of the level of the higher/further education teaching the lecturers identities remain strongly rooted in their role as teachers and commitment to supporting learners attain their educational ambitions. The lecturers' identities were in a state of flux due to the dual demands of their employer (the college) and collaborating institution (the university). Their shifting identities may only be mediated through wider recognition being afforded to the role of a higher education lecturer working in a further education college from their managers, universities and supporting bodies.
Incl. abstract, graphs, bibl. Student drop-out is a complex phenomenon; this paper addresses some dysfunctional precursors, which may predispose college students to drop out of further education. These precursors are seen in the light of institutional failure to transmit appropriate, positive values to children in schools, in respect of vocational education and training. Two methods of investigation have been employed: a correlation study between school performance and college drop-out, and a narrative analysis, which 'imaginatively' exploits the practical-wisdom of teachers to determine why this correlation exists. The proposed solution suggested by this research is one of vertical integration, incorporating a life-long learning approach, connecting schools with FE colleges and the world of work. The dualistic method itself is also spotlighted to evaluate the policy and practice challenges it suggests.
This paper presents a summary of preliminary findings regarding the perceptions of the legitimacy and quality of the higher education (HE) student experience through the lens of those studying animal/equine studies foundation degrees and BSc degrees within a small, ostensibly further education (FE) land-based college setting. As part of a PhD study, research data was collected using two student focus groups. Empirical student perception data from animal/equine studies students gathered whilst discharging external examiner duties at six English FE land-based colleges from 2007 to 2013 was also included. Despite FE college claims regarding the ‘supportive environment’ and ‘small classes’ being the unique selling point for those studying HE in FE (as opposed to HE within the university sector), responses from animal/equine studies students reported dissatisfaction with regard to the predominating FE culture, as well as concerns surrounding their HE status and the perception of others, as being bona fide HE students. Drawing on Bourdieu’s conceptual framework of habitus and field and notions of an institutional habitus, the HE in FE student experience is contextualised, together with recommendations for enriching HE in FE from the student perspective.
This paper provides a critique of the current policy orthodoxy of using markets to organise and structure education provision in England, focusing in particular on Further Education (FE) provision. Starting from the context of New Labour's so-called Third Way, it sets out research findings that indicate that marketisation not only produces cultures that relate first and foremost to institutional self-interest but also may be detrimental to quality provision for students. Drawing on qualitative research, the paper explores the impact of quasi-marketisation, focusing on how one college 'successfully' negotiated the funding changes and the competitive context of the FE quasi-market. The paper concludes by looking at the findings through the theoretical lenses of some key concepts from Habermasian theory.
Top-cited authors
James Avis
  • University of Huddersfield
Sue Law
  • University of Leicester
Paul Gibbs
  • Middlesex University, UK
Stephen Gorard
  • Durham University
Heather Barrett
  • University of Worcester