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Undergraduate Student As Action-Researcher: Work-focused Learning

Millwood, Richard and Powell, SJ and Tindal, Ian (2009) Undergraduate Student As Action-Researcher: Work-focused Learning. In: Vocational Awards Council Annual Conference (UVAC) Annual Conference, 2008., November 2008, York, Uk.

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Abstract

This paper describes and evaluates an approach to online supported, work-focused learning where undergraduate students operate as action-researchers; planning and implementing action for improvement in their workplace as a basis for award-bearing credit in higher education. A model is proposed for a meaningful, ongoing tripartite relationship between the Higher Education Institution, learner and small and medium enterprises that is viable. The way the design enables the learner to develop their "higher level skills that embody the essence of higher education" (Willis, 2008) is an important issue if the ideas and approach are to be widely adopted. The paper outlines the curriculum design and the nature of the students work-focused inquiries. Data from final year research reports was analysed to identify the characteristics of the projects undertaken by students uncovering 'who they have become'. Challenges and issues of the approach are discussed.

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