- Designing innovative learning environments to foster communities of learners for students in initial vocational education
- Learning Environments Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
In this study, the concept of ‘community of learners’ was used to improve initial vocational education. The framework of a ‘community of learners for vocational orientation’ that we present offers both a theoretical understanding of teaching–learning processes in initial vocational education and heuristics for the design of innovative learning environments for optimising these processes. In a design research study, we investigated if, and how, learning environments designed on the basis of these heuristics fostered communities of learners for vocational orientation, in which students experience to learn in a shared, meaningful, reflective and transfer-oriented way. We examined students’ perceptions of the learning environment and their learning activities during eight curriculum units specifically designed to foster the communities of learners. During almost all of the units that we designed, students found themselves learning in a more shared, meaningful, reflective and transfer-oriented way than during regular units. We conclude that the proposed heuristics had been useful starting points for the design of innovative learning environments that foster communities of learners for vocational orientation. In addition, we show how the heuristics can be elaborated for a particular school, based on practical and pedagogical content knowledge of teachers, as well as students’ perceptions of the learning environment and their learning activities.
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