Rhetoric & Reality: The Theoretical Basis of Work-Based Learning and the Lived Experience of the Foundation Degree Student

Wareing, Mark Philip (2012). Rhetoric & Reality: The Theoretical Basis of Work-Based Learning and the Lived Experience of the Foundation Degree Student. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000924a


This hermeneutic phenomenological study has sought to uncover the lived experience of work-based learners and their workplace mentors. Eight workplace mentors (all registered nurses) and eleven former Foundation degree students agreed to be interviewed. The research sought to identify whether a mismatch exists between theories of work-based learning as described by educationalists and theorists; compared with how it is actually experienced by a group of work-based learners and their workplace mentors. The former students had all been healthcare assistants (HCAs) working in acute clinical settings and employed within a large NHS hospital. All had completed a two year Foundation degree in Health and Social Care (FdSc) course in preparation to become assistant practitioners (AP). The start of their studies was characterised by managing conflict, establishing an identity as a learner in their own right and making sense of the assistant practitioner role, whilst their concluding lived experience was characterised by becoming an assistant practitioner, receiving recognition from peers in addition to feeling the need to prove the validity of their AP role. Being a novice or an apprentice was not the experience of former Foundation degree student participants. Four models of work-based learning were compared against the lived experiences of participants. While all four models capture the profoundly social nature of work-based learning, none of the models captured the challenge faced by Foundation degree student participants in making the transition from being a healthcare assistant and becoming a work-based learner, to becoming an assistant practitioner. This finding was particularly significant to the lived experience of all participants in this study as the assistant practitioner role was completely new to workplace mentors, their departments and the NHS hospital Trust in which the research was undertaken.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 37450
  • Item Type
  • EdD Thesis
  • Keywords
  • vocational education; experiential learning; active learning; mentoring in medicine; employer-supported education; organisational learning; cooperative education; qualitative research; hermeneutic phenomenology; work-based learning; mentoring; foundation degree; assistant practitioners
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2012 The Author
  • Depositing User
  • Ann McAloon