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Title: An examination of forms of knowledge in individualised programmes of work-based learning in higher education : a case study of perceptions of students in a UK university
Author: Willis, Karen Felicity
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 6260
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Debates over the role of universities often contest the balance between public good and private benefit. UK government policies have promoted work-based learning programmes in higher education as a means of improving the national economy. This research examines knowledge in work-based learning where curriculum is individually negotiated around each student's work role and projects, questioning the knowledge base legitimated by universities in these awards. The literature used draws on three main areas of thought, concerning the purposes of universities in society, everyday knowledge in the curriculum, and theories related to the curriculum of work, including reflection on practice. The investigation uses an interpretivist approach to examine a sample of students' perceptions of the forms of knowledge being gained, and explores the extent to which academic recognition is premised on their own experience and privileges personal knowledge. Through semi-structured interviews a model encompassing different forms of codified and uncodified knowledge is used as a tool for both questioning and analysis. The relative importance of different knowledge types, of theory and of reflection in students' learning is established, supported by qualitative data providing further evidence to illuminate their perspectives. The findings show that, although students report personal development and benefits, the most significant source of learning is everyday knowledge derived from reflection on experience, rather than new knowledge gained from broader academic or professional sources: The conclusion drawn is that this challenges the capacity of these programmes to fulfil the stated policy aims of employment-related higher education. Furthermore, the knowledge base appears. to blur the boundaries between different forms of knowledge with limited evidence of the use of wider theory or explanatory concepts from subject disciplines. Concerns over the university's role in the equating personal knowledge with conceptual knowledge are located in the broader discourse of personalisation and relevance in educational curricula.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available