Social and learning strategies male community college students use to maximize learning from cooperative work experiences Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/m613n154b

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  • Employers often lament that many American workers are not qualified for present and future jobs due to changing skills requirements and deficiencies of schools. In 1991, the Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report recommended educators use work sites to help students achieve foundation skills and workplace competencies. Through cooperative work experiences (CWE), many community college professional/technical programs place students in actual work situations as part of program requirements. These experiences enable students to apply classroom learning while engaged in productive work related to their specialties. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe social and learning strategies male community college students use to maximize learning from cooperative work experiences. Three conditions influence these strategies. 1. Every work experience situation is unique. Numerous environmental and personality variables affect the quality of the work experience. 2. Trainers are employees paid for the work they do. Productive work is their first priority; training is secondary. 3. Work site trainers are knowledgeable and highly skilled but may not be trained to teach. Based on in-depth interviews with male students and trainers/supervisors, this study found that (a) a candid and respectful relationship between student and trainer must exist before a trainer will share fully his expertise and knowledge with the student and students have primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining this relationship, (b) the effort a trainer is willing to expend on training reflects his perception of a student's eagerness to excel and willingness to work hard, and (c) students have primary responsibility for managing their own learning during work experiences. Students use four primary learning strategies to maximize their learning during a CWE: (a) applying cognitive apprenticeship processes, (b) solving problems, (c) recognizing and pursuing incidental learning opportunities, and (d) practicing technical skills. Although the subjects of this study represent only a segment of professional/ technical programs, the findings may be useful for preparing other program students for their work experiences.
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