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Title: Innovation in European vocational education and training : network learning in England, Finland and Germany
Author: Heikkila, Eila Helena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 3055
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis, positioned in the interface of innovation research and comparative education, studies innovation in European vocational education and training in three highly innovative countries: England, Finland and Germany. The research focuses on innovation in inter-organisational networks of VET with local, regional, national and European reach. The qualitative research is based on a theoretical framework including practitioner-driven innovation and interorganisational innovation, and empirical research from the three countries. The research adopts a phenomenographic method to study perceptions of VET professionals (directors, teachers, international coordinators) involved in interorganisational networks. The data was collected through in-depth interviews. The aim is to look at how participation in inter-organisational networks is perceived to support innovation in VET in the three European countries. The findings of the comparative research indicate that innovation is perceived to be emerging in largely convergent ways in inter-organisational networks of VET in the three European countries. The thesis concludes that the outer-driven innovation and participation of VET organisations and practitioners in interorganisational network learning enhances innovation in VET with, for example, improved efficiency of VET provision, specialisation, new training models, internationalisation and professional development. While noting the limitations of the research, the thesis suggests that VET may play a stronger role in innovation and learning in global learning economies than has thus far been discussed. Since the participation of practitioners in inter-organisational network learning in VET is perceived to promote innovation in VET, the thesis recommends that educational policies, both national and European, should facilitate and support long-term inter-organisational network learning and professional development for VET organisations. The research findings may benefit academic researchers of innovation in education and training, as well as policy-makers and practitioners, who can avail themselves of the findings and recommendations of the research in Europe and beyond. [292 words]
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available