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ERIC Number: EJ986185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-1363-6820
Experiences of Social Work Students with Learning Theoretical Knowledge in Constructivist Higher Vocational Education: A Qualitative Exploration
van Bommel, Marijke; Kwakman, Kitty; Boshuizen, Henny P. A.
Journal of Vocational Education and Training, v64 n4 p529-542 2012
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. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands