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Vocational teachers’ perceptions on workplace learning in facilitating students’ professional engagement in the context of industry-university collaboration in China

Yanmin Zhao (Graduate School, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, and)
James Ko (Department of Education Policy and Leadership, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 2 May 2024

Issue publication date: 14 May 2024

45

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore vocational teachers' perceptions regarding workplace learning that align with students' training models and collaborative teaching involving specialised professionals within the context of industry-university collaboration.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a qualitative approach, the study conducted nine semi-structured interviews from three subject areas to better understand how vocational teachers’ work-based learning enhances their pedagogical practice in guiding students’ professional training. Thematic analysis was adopted to identify patterns that emerged from concepts and theories related to coding categories.

Findings

The authors identified three key components: vocational teachers’ workplace learning in connection with students’ training models, collaborative teaching with specialised professionals and teachers’ regular interactions with enterprises. The findings demonstrate that vocational teachers’ engagement in workplace learning pertaining to specific subjects provides a valuable avenue for enhancing curriculum design with collaboration with industry experts. This is key for supporting vocational students’ transitions into the workplace and ensuring their knowledge and skills are tailored to the industry-standard practice.

Research limitations/implications

The data are limited to the review of interviews from three vocational subject areas as the representative sector in the study. However, this research implies effective knowledge transfer between workplace settings and vocational institutions, and vocational teachers need to integrate work-based vocational knowledge and skills in a relevant and applicable way across diverse classroom settings.

Practical implications

Fostering collaborative partnerships with local industries and professionals can be a primary way to facilitate authentic learning experiences that are linked to a specific vocational field and bridge the gap between diverse classroom learning and real-world work scenarios.

Originality/value

This study combines contemporary workplace learning theories with the conceptual understanding of vocational teachers’ involvement with industry-specific practice. Connecting teachers’ knowledge to the industry extends the input and collaboration from professionals and field experts to the diverse vocational classrooms.

Keywords

Citation

Zhao, Y. and Ko, J. (2024), "Vocational teachers’ perceptions on workplace learning in facilitating students’ professional engagement in the context of industry-university collaboration in China", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 282-297. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-12-2023-0197

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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