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

Marijke Van Bommel, Kitty Kwakman, Els Boshuizen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    20 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    An important learning goal in higher vocational education concerns the professional domain’s shared body of knowledge. Constructivist programmes 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 programme. From a previous study, the differences between these participants’ theoretical knowledge were known. Results show that while all students agreed that their constructivist programme 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
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)529-542
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Vocational Education & Training
    Volume64
    Issue number4
    Early online date4 Oct 2012
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

    Keywords

    • higher vocational education
    • body of knowledge
    • authentic learning contexts
    • self-directed learning
    • social work

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Experiences of social work students with learning theoretical knowledge in constructivist higher vocational education: a qualitative exploration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this