Purpose – The aim of this paper is to evaluate the role of learning from participation in a group of work‐based learners. Design/methodology/approach – This study relies on qualitative data obtained from a survey of perspectives of students on two work‐based learning programmes. A group of 16 undergraduate and seven postgraduate students participated in a focus group and a number of one‐to‐one interviews. Findings – It was found that work‐based learners learn effectively from both their community of practice in the workplace and their learning group of work‐based learners within the university. The study suggests that a learning group experience is valued highly by work‐based students and that dialogue with other students in the learning group appears to make a significant contribution to enhancing their knowledge. Practical implications – The findings have implications for the design of work‐based learning programmes. The approach which integrates learning from the students' workplace community of practice and learning from the learning group at the university appears to be most effective. Originality/value – The paper discusses the relationship between the nature of work‐based learning and the structure and pedagogy underlying such learning. Whilst the paper recognises that there are benefits to the individualised approach to work‐based learning, it nevertheless argues for more focus on the social aspect of learning, and emphasises the role of interaction with other learners in the learning group.
Journal of Workplace Learning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2009
Keywords: Workplace learning; Teaching; Communities
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