Child care students' practical conceptions of learning

Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M., Brownlee, Joanne M., Berthelsen, Donna, & Dunbar, Stephanie (2008) Child care students' practical conceptions of learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 30(2), pp. 119-128.

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This paper describes an analysis of interview transcripts for 77 first- and second-year students enrolled in a vocational education course for child-care work. The purpose was to identify their conceptions of learning. All six categories of conceptions, as identified originally by Marton et al. (1993), were found. However, more than 50% of the conceptions were at level A (increasing knowledge). This category was richer and more differentiated than found in other research and had a practical, applied focus. The participants did not generally situate their learning in a formal context based on reading theoretical material. This finding provides a new perspective on conceptions of learning. The results are compared with research in vocational, informal, workplace and teacher learning. The conceptions of learning held by the child-care students could present a challenge for lecturers in the vocational programme who expect that students will underpin practical skills with theoretical knowledge. It is less likely that students will engage in innovative behaviours in practice if their approach to learning is based mainly on practical, procedural knowledge. The findings raise questions as to how to move students’ conceptions to a higher more theoretical mode of learning.

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3 citations in Scopus
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4 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 21010
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: child care students, conceptions, learning, practical, HERN
DOI: 10.1080/01580370802097710
ISSN: 0158-037X
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Taylor & Francis/Routledge
Deposited On: 09 Jun 2009 00:17
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2013 01:04

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