Mature student perceptions of formal and informal learning on a diploma in childcare and education course.
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 8(2) pp. 231–248.
This study explores the most significant formal and informal learning experiences for mature students on a full-time childcare and early years education (CEYE) course offered by a large Further Education (FE) college in the north east of England, referred to as 'Riverbank City College' (RCC) throughout the article. The research generates qualitative data on the perceived importance and congruence of the placement and college-based dimensions of the programme, the nature of student learning on this course and the influence of others upon individual learning experiences. The project also explores the extent to which the principles of Social Learning Theory and Situated Learning are reflected in student discourses. Results support key elements of both theories and highlight the importance students attach to placement experience. They also raise concerns regarding a 'theory-practice gap' and the quality of placement support on the course.
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