Continuing education and training: Learning preferences of worker- learners to remain competent in their current jobs Sarojni Choy, Stephen Billett and Ann Kelly, Griffith University 2012 AVETRA Conference, 12-14 April 2012, Canberra, ACT Premises of CET study • Entry-level training: - not sufficient for a lifetime of work - mode of delivery not always appropriate/ desirable for workers A focus on teaching, rather than learning, not always appropriate or desirable. • All workers need to engage in continuing education and training (CET): - to respond to workplace requirements; improved productivity, efficiencies and constant change; and - to participate in work for longer. • Workers’ knowledge, skills and needs vary Overview of CET study • Funded by NCVER for 3 years • Focus is to appraise current tertiary education and training (TET) provisions • If these are shown to be inadequate, then • to identify additional models for, and approaches to, supporting a national provision of CET to better meet the needs of worker- learners - so that their employability across lengthening working lives can be sustained and - their contributions to the settings in which they work and, collectively, to the nation’s productivity, can be maximised. Phase 1 – Two industry sectors focus of Phase 1 investigations (Aged care and Transport and Logistics) Diverse needs of workers’ employability Three focuses on employability:- • Unemployed adults who need to learn for work in response to changes – to secure employment • Employed workers who need to learn at work in response to a range of changes (e.g. technological, legislative) in their workplace - to maintain employment • Employed workers who wish to progress their careers – to advance their employment Aged care component of Phase 1 Focus is on aged care worker’s preferences for CET provisions • to highlight factors that determine their preferences • so that current arrangements could be modified to enhance success in their learning. Twenty nine aged care workers interviewed in face-to- face mode and responded to written questions with items relating to how they: • learnt their current job • were currently learning to remain competent • would prefer to be assisted in their learning. Demographic data: Table 1 N (%) Region Brisbane 19 (66) Qld regional 10 (35) Gender Male 4 (14) Female 25 (86) Age 20-29 6 (21) 30-39 5 (17) 40-49 6 (21) 50-59 5 (17) 60-69 3 (10) Employment Full time 13 (45) Part time Casual 12 (41) 2 (7) Aged care component of Phase 1 (cont) Over half had worked in their current jobs for between 1-5 years; the others had worked for between 6-40 years. The size of the workplaces varied between 6 to over 200 employees. The most common qualifications held were a vocational Certificate, Diploma or Advanced Diploma. 70% indicated that courses and formal qualifications were essential or very important for being able to do their job, obtain advancement or gain other jobs. 72% said that their decision to obtain a qualifications was personal, and 34% stated this was requested and supported by employers. All workers engaged in mandatory learning to meet compliance and licensing requirements; this did not necessarily lead to a qualification. Means of learning: Aged care workers 6 most frequently reported means of learning 1. Everyday learning through work – individually (83%); 2. Everyday learning through work individually - assisted by other workers (79%); 3. Everyday learning + group training courses at work from employer (69%); 4. Small group training at work – external provider (52%); 5. Everyday learning + training courses away from work (off- site) (38%); 6. On-site learning with individual mentoring: one-to-one (38%). Key features of these means: Based at work Integrated as part of everyday work Minimum time away from work site Pedagogical practices 5 most frequently reported pedagogical practices: 1. Working and sharing with another person on the job (79%); 2. Direct teaching in a group (e.g. a trainer in a classroom) (72%); 3. Direct teaching by a workplace expert (65%); 4. Self-directed learning individually – online, books, etc. (58%); 5. Group activities in a classroom, guided by a trainer or facilitator (48%). Key features of those practices • Based at work • Learning with others at work – individually and in groups • Minimum time away from work site Foundations of likely CET models Practice-based experiences with direct guidance Opportunity based experiences Practice-based experiences with educational interventions Significant CET practices • Individuals working alone: e.g. engaging with resources; individual projects; tertiary/higher education studies • Dyads: e.g. expert-novice; peer-sharing; joint project; mentoring; coaching etc; guided learning in the workplace • Facilitated/expert guided group processes, and as in teaching: (e.g. action learning; group facilitated discussion; learning circles, dialogue forums) • Integration of experiences in practice and education settings (i.e. before, during, after). Implications for CET provisions These aged care workers reported engaging in CET to advance their existing knowledge and competencies; therefore CET provisions need to meet current and emerging legislative requirements and, where possible, offer opportunities for accreditation within the AQF. There is a need for an extension and affordance of learning opportunities in workplaces; this may require new partnerships between employers and RTOs and utilisation of expertise of co-workers. There is a need to consider preferences of workers in the organisation and pedagogical support that is provided through CET.
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