Can Occupational Learning Form the Foundation for a Beachelor’s Degree?


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This topic contains 1 reply, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Lynel Farrell 2 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #24229

    Hannes Nel
    Participant

    Well what do you know? A professor at a university wrote me an email the other day in which he professes that occupational learning can never be the foundation for a degree course. Well, I happened to have studied occupational learning towards my second doctoral thesis. How then, can it not be the foundation for a lower level qualification?

    Let met state this unequivocally – there is no topic or subject under the sun that cannot serve as the foundation for academic learning on any level. Even topics such as potato cultivation, taxi driving, prostitution, and religion can be studied at any level on the NQF.

    Perhaps the professor does not understand the difference between epistemology and methodology. Or perhaps the fact that occupational work is almost always practical, i.e. aimed at the improvement of methods, confused him. We should really learn to think deeper than just the basic meaning of words in a dictionary.

    Occupational learning is founded on the philosophy of occupational and vocational work, and those who offer occupational or vocational learning should know the epistemology on which they rest. In fact, the true expert in occupational learning will even go one step further by studying the ontology, i.e. the origins of occupational learning.

    One will not focus on the methodology of occupational learning in a bachelor’s degree course, although a responsible learning institution will start with the ontology, move on to the epistemology and, ultimately, link the origins (ontology) to the philosophy and knowledge (epistemology) to the  actual work (methodology). This is the only way in which students can achieve comprehension, which is necessary for foundational competence.

    Many academics at universities still support a positivist approach to learning. Perhaps they do not realise this, but their thinking patterns are so rigid and stereotype that they can’t see that science has moved on, that we are now in the era of post-positivism. I am referring to these learning paradigms because they fit my arguments, not because they are the only philosophical perspectives that are still valid for research and education purposes.

    In closing, an integrated approach to learning is necessary, meaning that students should be able to move from occupational and vocational learning to academic learning; educators offering occupational or vocational learning cannot do so if they are not academically prepared to understand the knowledge and philosophy of what they are offering. The learning offered by universities run the risk of becoming obsolete and redundant unless academics at universities rapidly understand that they can no longer just do research which often adds no value to the industry and offer courses based on old knowledge and outdated methodology.

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  • #24238

    Lynel Farrell
    Participant

    Hmmmmm, this could make some high poppelaai academics very angry, however this is so true.  It seems that the highly educated individuals that lectures in universities find it very difficult to put the three components together.  From a private accredited provider’s point of view – it is easy, as this is what is needed.  Not just theory and discussions, but the practical side is crucial.  It could be that there will be a service required by universities, whereby they request the small providers to conduct “train-the-trainer” in order to grasp this concept.

    In our case, we know exactly what the right and left hand does!  We are able to combine, integrate, work at any level, and give background of case scenarios (as we have experience in the field of the reality in the working world), when last did these professors and lecturers actually observe the real world outside the university walls?  Are they in fact current?

    Say no more, the fact here remains, that we attempt to stay current, continuously improve our methodologies, understand the occupational framework, can build on any foundation taking into consideration the various fields of learning ad industries. 

    Dr Nel I recommend that you give the Professor the definition and meaning of ontology, epistemology, methodology and perhaps add outdated, uninformed, logic, occupation and last but not least common sense!

    Okay, await hate-mail in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ……………………………

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  • #24237

    Zerelde Uys
    Participant

    Excellent summary, Hannes! Concerning that this is not a given at institutions responsible for preparing the leaders in our workforce and society.

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  • #24236

    Hannes Nel
    Participant

    Next time we can talk about the books that they prescribe to students of which less than 25% is aligned with a curriculum – if there is a curriculum and learning objectives or outcomes.

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  • #24235

    Des Squire
    Participant

    I am sure you have sent an appropriate response to the professor?

    What I loved about the above article is the reference in your last paragraph to “occupational, vocational and academic learning” and the integration that can exist. This is missed by so many institutions and self proclaimed educationalists. It is precisely this issue that needs to be brought into the open to assist students/learners and parents in order for tem to accept that a child/learner does not have to automatically remain in the academic band and that there is no stigma attached to technical, vocational and/or occupational learning. One of my sons gained his degree at a university of technology because he was not academically inclined. He has now gone back to the academic stream and main stream university and qualified as a teacher. Three degrees in total now. It was the understanding of the (Integrated) system that led to his success.    

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  • #24234

    Hannes Nel
    Participant

    I will tell the professor in person, and discuss the matter with him over coffee or breakfast because he happened to be a good friend of mine. The Skills Development Act actually provides for integrated learning as does the HE Amendment Act (Act no 9 of 2016 (via the CAT system)). Not supporting and acknowledging integrated learning between occupational, vocational and higher education is, therefore, against the law.

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  • #24233

    Lynel Farrell
    Participant

    Oh please record this session, I would love to hear this conversation!!!  How interesting would that be for me (the dustbin)

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  • #24232

    Hannes Nel
    Participant

    I just hope I don’t lose a wonderful friend in the process.

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  • #24231

    Lynel Farrell
    Participant

    Dr Nel, you are to nice to lose friends, don’t worry!!  Just make sure that the breakfast is awesome and the coffee is fresh!  If need be, I will be your back-up.  I can waiter too!! (I think)

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  • #24230

    Interesting, if disappointing, to read so thanks for the discussion. I also was wondering how CAT is approached (or avoided) in that institution. Just because we have 3 QCs, it does not mean learners (that is, all of us) shouldn’t be able to flow back and forth among them. Seems to me the key word was “foundation” – what did each of you interpret that as…. and how would the NQF level impact …

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