Expertise and the representation of knowledge in training packages
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An assumption of Australia's competency-based vocational education and training (VET) system is that experienced practitioners from industry will, by virtue of their expertise, be well-placed to read, analyse and interpret units of competency that relate to their industry. This paper draws on research that challenges this assumption. Interviews with 30 VET practitioners about how they interpret units of competency revealed that those with extensive industry experience did not always recognise their industry in the texts. Theories of expertise and workplace knowledge offer one way to account for these counter-intuitive findings. According to these theories, higher levels of expertise are characterised by reliance on tacit knowledge and an intuitive grasp of workplace situations and challenges and little reliance on explicit, formal work-related rules and procedures. It will be argued that the explicit, formal approach to representing occupational knowledge found in units of competency does not necessarily serve to represent competent practice in the eyes of industry experts.
Informing Changes in VET Policy and Practice: The Central Role of Research
© 2014 AVETRA. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Use hypertext link for access to the publisher's website.
Technical, Further and Workplace Education