The integration of learning across different learning sites is an important and challenging task for each vocational education and training system. Although various integrative teaching and learning models have been developed and many reforms have been undertaken, their implementation is complicated by several factors. In particular, individual ways of understanding the relationship between the learning sites could be considered filters that may potentially influence the communications and actions of protagonists in this learning context. This study aimed to explore different ways of conceptualising learning and teaching across learning sites in the Swiss vocational education and training system. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 vocational school teachers, company trainers and apprentices in apprenticeship programmes in industry and business and administration in the Canton of Tessin. Data were analysed by combining data-driven (phenomenography) and theory-driven (content analysis) text analysis procedures. By adopting a phenomenographic method, four ways of conceptualising vocational learning across multiple learning sites were found: as separate learning experiences, as complementary learning experiences, as experiences mediated by intercompany training centres and as experiences integrated at the school level. Content analysis showed qualitative differences among the conceptions in relation to what extent they included socio-cultural key claims of school-workplace connectivity. Conclusions regarding potential implications for teachers, trainers and apprentices are drawn, and suggestions for future research are made.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.