Kivinen Osmo, Silvennoinen Heikki & Puustelli Pia (Eds.)

Work-based learning. Prospects and Challenges

(Helsinki: Ministry of Education 1999 1999)

English summary

A person trained primarily in an educational institution is often occupationally skilled on paper only. The most essential "knowing how", the practical knowledge embodied in a person and needed in any kind of work, develops only in a genuine environment, by working, by learning by doing, and by taking the risk of failing.


From the individual's point of view, investment in even the highest educational qualifications has become human risk capital with the radical decrease in the number of jobs available in the 1990s. When mere formal qualifications are not enough to ensure a person's employment, it is time to ask what are the real qualifications needed for succeeding in working life and what are the feasible ways for acquiring them.


This book offers sociological approaches to learning in working life. The articles written by five researchers at the Research Unit for the Sociology of Education (RUSE) describe the new challenges posed by the transition from school to work: the educational needs of a changing society, ways of recognizing and verifying the real competences, and models for organizing work-based learning.


The nature of practical knowing how is essentially social and contextual. In this view the skill is a relation between human beings and the environment in which they act rather than a property of a single person or a piece of information in their head.


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