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Eric.ed.gov – From Vocational Education to Linked Learning: The Ongoing Transformation of Career-Oriented Education in the U.S.

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Traditionally, the purpose of education in the United States has been conceived broadly, encompassing several goals, such as equity, civic participation, “whole-person” development, aesthetic appreciation, and greater cultural awareness. The renewed focus on equipping students with marketable skills is both a response to the globally-competitive labor market engendered by the Financial Crisis of 2008 and an implicit critique of the traditional American liberal education model. Innovative approaches to fostering student participation in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are being promoted by a wide spectrum of politicians, corporations, and policy think tanks. Many observers argue that educational outcomes should reflect the changing needs of the workforce, and high school curricula should integrate academic instruction with work-based learning. With these trends in mind, researchers at the Pullias Center for Higher Education are currently studying new educational paradigms that are attempting to redefine career-oriented education for the twenty-first century. This monograph first presents a brief history of vocational education in the United States, followed by descriptions of newer initiatives. Multiple Pathways, California Partnership Academies, and Linked Learning, movements in California that seek to combine career-oriented training with academic rigor, are each discussed in detail. Three themes emerge in the literature on Multiple Pathways, California Partnership Academies, and Linked Learning: (1) Support systems must be in place for teachers and administration if these school reform initiatives are going to be successful. (2) Scaling up has proven especially difficult (Oakes & Saunders, 2008). (3) The sustainability of these initiatives is always a concern (Hubbard & McDonald, 2014). While it is possible that educational initiatives like Linked Learning can promote diversity, stimulate a student’s interest in lifelong learning, and inculcate valuable skills that lead to a successful career, their relative novelty means that current research is far from conclusive.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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