• Curriculum design for the post-industrial society: The facilitation of individually negotiated higher education in work based learning shell frameworks in the United Kingdom

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (Nova Science Publishers, 2017-02-01)
      During the past twenty years there has been increasing demand for more flexible forms of higher education, especially for adult learners. Adults have strong preferences for vocational learning, tailored to their professional context. Universities, organised along lines designed to meet the needs of an industrial society have been largely unable to adapt to the consequences of increased role specialisation in the post-industrial labour market. This chapter reviews developments in accredited universities in the United Kingdom where the development of ‘shell frameworks’, based upon the requirements of learners rather than subject discipline, has enabled some adults to fulfil their learning requirements and gain formally accredited qualifications. In the absence of research in this area a detailed case study familiar to the author is presented and an agenda for further research outlined.
    • Positive emotion in workplace impact: the case of a work-based learning project utilising appreciative inquiry

      Wall, Tony; Russell, Jayne; Moore, Neil; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role of positive emotions in generating workplace impacts and examine it through the application of an adapted appreciative inquiry process in the context of a work-based project aimed at promoting integrated working under challenging organisational circumstances. The paper adopts a case study methodology which highlights how an organisation facing difficult circumstances (such as austerity measures, siloed cultures, constant threats of reorganisation, and requirement to work across occupational boundaries) adapted an appreciative inquiry intervention/method. This paper found (1) that the utilisation of appreciative inquiry in the context of an adapted work-based project in difficult organisational circumstances generated positive emotions manifest through a compelling vision and action plans, (2) that the impacts (such as a vision) can become entangled and therefore part of the wider ecological context which promotes pathways to such impact, but that (3) there are a various cultural and climate features which may limit the implementation of actions or the continuation of psychological states beyond the time-bound nature of the work-based project. The paper illustrates how an organisation adapted a form of appreciative inquiry to facilitate organisational change and generated outcomes which were meaningful to the various occupational groupings involved. This paper offers new evidence and insight into the adaptation of appreciative inquiry under challenging circumstances in the context of a work-based learning project. It also provides a richer picture of how positive emotion can manifest in ways which are meaningful to a localised context.
    • Repurposing MOOC learning for academic credit: A survey of practice in University Work Based Learning departments in England and Wales

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2017-11-30)
      This small study is an investigation into the potential for converting learning from MOOCs into credit bearing qualifications in universities. The mechanism for achieving such conversion is the use of what is variously known as the Accreditation or Recognition of Prior Learning (A/RPL). The evidence suggests such practices in the UK are heavily concentrated in Work Based Learning (WBL) departments. This study investigated practices in 26 WBL departments in England and Wales. The results indicate there is very little awareness of the potential of MOOC learning as the basis for A/RPL claims among tutors in WBL departments. Moreover there are relatively few departments which have sufficiently flexible procedures to integrate MOOC learning into curricula. At a time when policy makers are seeking the removal of barriers to the recognition of informal and non-formal learning it seems there are few opportunities for those completing MOOC courses in England and Wales to convert them into recognised qualifications. The study provides evidence that in the UK completion of MOOC courses is unlikely to result in accredited qualifications.
    • Sustainability 2030: a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards Council

      Wall, Tony; Crawford-Lee, Mandy; University of Chester; University of Bolton (Emerald, 2018-08-13)
      Purpose: The policy and practice sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning has become increasingly problematic in the last few years, and the extent to which sustainability and sustainable development are embedded in policy and practice spaces is a cause for concern. This paper posits a policy perspective from the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC), the national representative organisation for universities committed to the vocational agenda and an independent voice in the sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a reflective policy and practice piece which draws on the latest policy moves by the UK government and associated organisations and engages the latest literature to examine the issues in policy and practice that need to be tackled. Findings: This paper argues for a greater integration of sustainable development into higher education, skills and work-based learning policy and practice, and specifically in relation to (1) creating inclusive workplaces, (2) promoting social mobility, (3) a balanced approach to productivity, health and wellbeing, and (4) embedding educational approaches and methods which promote inequality in workplaces. Originality/value: The paper is the only UK policy perspective explicitly dedicated to sustainability and sustainable development in the context of the sphere of higher education, skills and work-based learning. Although it is focused on UK policy context, it will be of interest to international readers wishing to learn about UK developments and the sustainable development challenges in relation to its apprenticeship, technical and vocational education system.
    • The challenges of managing degree apprentices in the workplace: a manager’s perspective

      Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; Perrin, David; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      This paper explores the issues and challenges facing employers as they manage degree apprentices in the workplace. It examines the relationship between managers and apprentices undertaking a work-based degree. This research is of particular relevance at this time because of the UK government’s initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to three million new starts by 2020 inevitably bringing a range of pressures to bear on employers (BIS, 2015). The purpose is to share early experiences of employer management of degree apprenticeships, and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and HEI practice. This paper combines desk research with qualitative data drawn from interviews with a range of cross-sector organisations to investigate the employer’s experience of developing the new Degree Apprenticeships. The data is explored inductively using thematic analysis in order to surface dominant patterns and considers the implications of findings upon current and emerging HEI and employer practice and research. There were a number of key themes which emerged from the data collected. These included the need for effective, employer-led recruitment processes, careful management of expectations, sound HEI retention strategies, employer involvement and board level motivators to ensure organisational benefits are derived from effectively situated workplace learning and a focus upon effective, empowering mentoring and support strategies. As degree apprenticeship standards and programmes are currently at the early stages of implementation, and opportunities, funding and resourcing are rapidly changing in the context of government policy, so too will employer appetite and strategies for supporting degree apprentices, along with apprentice behaviour. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this paper may emerge in the near future. There are a number of practical implications supporting managerial development and support of degree apprentices in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the findings, and include the development of flexible and collaborative processes, resources, mentor training and networks. This paper is one of the first published accounts of the employers’ perspective of managing a Degree Apprenticeship within the new policy context in the UK. As a result the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by managers working with degree apprentices in the twenty first century business environment.
    • What does it take for flexible learning to survive? A UK case study

      Tabot, Jon; Perrin, David; Meakin, Bob; University of Chester
      Purpose: To identify potential reasons why an innovative Work based learning shell framework has succeeded in an adverse environment Design/methodology/approach: Case study Findings: Demand-led, flexible Work based learning programmes have to overcome a number of internal cultural and institutional barriers in order to succeed. Important requirements are likely to include effective leadership, financial viability, adherence to Quality Assurance, adaptability, entrepreneurialism and a cohesive community of practice incorporating these traits. Research limitations/implications: The conclusions are drawn from shared experience and are suggestive only as they are not readily susceptible to empirical verification. The authors accept that for some the conclusions appear speculative but they suggest that in order for innovative programmes to survive more is required than sound pedagogy. Practical implications: Although lessons may not be directly transferable, the paper draws attention to the importance of managerial, leadership and organisational factors necessary for innovative Work based learning programmes to survive and develop. Social implications: Originality/value: There is some literature on why some innovative higher education programmes and institutions have failed: there is little on why some programmes are successful.
    • Work based learning in the United Kingdom: What we know of practice and an example: The WBL module and WBIS program at the University of Chester

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (IGI Global, 2019)
      The chapter summarises the development and spread of Work based learning in British universities and includes case studies of at the University of Chester, where all three modes of practice are evidenced.