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Effect of Pedagogy Differences for Vocational Education Graduates Transitioning to Higher Education Bachelor Degrees.

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2021 CoNECD


Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 2 Slot 7 Technical Session 4

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

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Luke Alao P.E. Swinburne University of Technology

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Engineering Education Researcher since 2013.

I am a PhD student at Swinburne University of Education and a Lecturer

My research interest is focused on


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TITLE: Effect of Pedagogy Differences for Vocational Education Graduates transitioning to Higher Education Bachelor Degrees.

CONTEXT: This paper presents a study into students' academic transition lived-experiences of graduates from a vocational education after they have transitioned into a higher education Bachelor of Engineering programs. Most industrial economies use the Vocational education (VE) for upskilling the workforce and bringing more people into the Higher education (HE) system that would not be accepted through the traditional entry requirement conditions. This is essential for the continuous growth of the modern industrial economy. Narratives outcomes from the investigation of the students' academic transition lived-experiences provide an insight into their transition experiences that cannot be captured by traditional quantitative or some qualitative approaches. These narratives are used as feedback information into the academic transition programs and training. The outcomes of this study are used to inform the institutions on the possible changes in the provision of transition services to suit students transitioning from vocational to higher education in engineering programs.

PURPOSE: This paper presents the outcome of the effect of the pedagogy differences for vocational education graduates transitioning to higher education. It uses the study outcomes of a narrative analysis of the investigation of students' academic transition lived-experiences in engineering education articulating from Vocational education to Higher education Bachelor degree programs.

APPROACH: This paper describes participants' insights into the academic transition lived-experiences using the narratives collected from a narrative analysis, and Schlossberg's transition theory (Anderson et al. [3]) was used to explain the result findings. The narratives are the findings from the narrative analysis. It explores the stories of the participants as a unique data source, and it replaces the coding and categorising methods typically used to produce a generalised or transferable description in some engineering education research. Narratives findings present the participant's accounts as unique and as a whole story, see research studies [1], [2], instead of theme categories.

For an optimal First-year education (FYE), a good first-year curriculum design should follow the six FYE curriculum principles that are interconnected by four key First-Year Experience Program (FYEP) strategies based on Kift et al. [5], namely (1) Curriculum that engages students learning, (2) Proactive and timely access to learning and life support, (3) Intentionally fostering a sense of belonging and (4) Sustainable academic-professional partnerships. If the FYE curriculum designer follows these principles, it will facilitate all students fully achieving their desired learning outcomes. In this study, these principles are particularly important since the participants of this study spend two years in a developmental education program. That is an Associate degree of engineering in the Vocational education and training (VET) environment and articulated into the Bachelor degree of engineering in higher education.

The Academic Transition Gaps (ATG) Model was developed. The ATG model is based on Australian education systems. Other countries may have different education scaffolding systems that may require this model to be modified for additional studies. In the model, Gap 1 represents a community of practice where the trade (Certificate one to Certificate four apprenticeship qualifications) and diploma students are encouraged to pursue para-professional education. Gap-2 is the community of practice where the Diploma and Advanced Diploma students are encouraged to complete additional pathway study. Gap 3 is the community of practice where Associate degree students are encouraged to do some university electives as preparation for transition to Higher Education environment. This model development raises the following research question: What are the pedagogies differences 1. between vocational education programs and pathways programs where Gap-1 existed, 2. between pathway programs and transition programs where Gap-2 existed, and 3. between transition programs and higher education programs where Gap-3 existed?

RESULTS: A total of twelve cases were investigated using narrative in-depth-interviews from which two examples will be presented in this paper to demonstrate the insights into the effect of pedagogy differences experienced during transitioning from vocational to higher education. These narratives are used to contextualise the importance of using the participant's voice as a useful source of feedback in engineering education research. The finding of this study shows a necessary implication that is sometimes overlooked regarding pedagogies differences in academic transition. What is the dynamic relationship between educators and learners in higher education settings? If we accept that the classroom, lecture theatre and the laboratory are workplaces for the community of practice for a lifelong learning irrespective of the engineering disciplines in practice. This question conceptualised pedagogies identities. What are the pedagogies identities of an educator that affects life-long learners learning? This question is vital to a learner that aspires to become a professional engineer. The influence and interaction of the educators could decide what disciplines of engineering a learner would choose for their engineering profession. Although the scope of this study does not cover these questions, these questions would be a further research recommendation coming out of this study. It is important to note that Zukas and Malcolm [6] identified five pedagogies identities in their review of literature on pedagogy in higher education, 1. The educator as a critical practitioner 2. The educator as psycho-diagnostician and facilitator of learning 3. The educator as a reflective practitioner 4. The educator as a situated learner within a community of practice 5. The educator as assurer of organisational quality and efficiency; deliverer of service to agreed or imposed standards As a researcher, I argue that the current version of pedagogy for the higher education has separated teaching from research and a new form of pedagogy that promotes practice-based research would be beneficial for the vocational education graduates articulating into the higher education university.

CONCLUSIONS: It would be useful to the vocational education graduates to have the transition activities that the higher education is promoting and advocating for the VET graduates joining the Bachelor degree course in the middle of the Bachelor degree course program based on research by Gale et al. [4]. The institution needs to create a suite of transition activities that are designed for the conditionally-admitted VET students into the Bachelor degree courses. It is important to note that the existing transition induction programs designed for students admitted through the regular first-year entry requirement admission do not serve the vocational education graduates effectively in their transition to higher education university.

REFERENCES [1] L. Alao, L. Mann and M. Bryant, "Using narrative analysis in engineering education research to investigate students' academic transition". Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia, 2016. [2] L. Alao and L. Mann, "Using Narrative Research Findings as Student Voice for Providing Insights into Transition Experiences in Engineering Education". Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Manly, Sydney, Australia, 2017. [3] M. L. Anderson, J. Goodman and N. K. Schlossberg. Counselling adults in transition: Linking Schlossberg's theory with practice in a diverse world (4th ed.), New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2012. [4] T. Gale and S. Parker. "Navigating Change: a typology of student transition in higher education," Studies in Higher Education Conference, Vol.39, No.5, 734-753, 2014 [5] S. Kift, K. Nelson and J. Clarke, "Transition Pedagogy: A third-generation Approach to FYE – A case study of policy and practice for the higher education sector." The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 1(1), 1-20, 2010. [6] M. Zukas and J. Malcolm. "Pedagogies for Lifelong Learning:-Building Bridges or Building Walls?" The University of Leeds, School of Continuing Education, 2002.

Alao, L. (2021, January), Effect of Pedagogy Differences for Vocational Education Graduates Transitioning to Higher Education Bachelor Degrees. Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day .

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