Journal article Open Access
Amenduni, Francesca; Cattaneo, Alberto
When crossing the borders from educational to professional environments, VET apprentices can perceive discontinuities and contradictions between what they learn at school and in the workplace. This research explores whether a digital tool named e- DAP, designed as a space for reflective practices in VET educational systems supports apprentices’ perception of connectivity across learning locations. A group of 114 apprentices who used the e-DAP and a control group (CG) composed of 141 apprentices (CG = 141) completed a 15-items questionnaire which investigated the following dimension: 1. frequency of use of the e-DAP platform 2. mutual knowledge across locations, 3. explicit connectivity and 4. perceived usefulness of the tool. Participants were asked to express their level of agreement on a 6-point Likert scale on the items in sections 2 and 4 and on a 5-point Likert scale on the items in section 3. On average, the e-DAP users perceived the usefulness of the platform to be high (M = 4,55; SD = 1.12). The perception of connectivity resulted, in general, higher in the e-DAP group than in the CG. Specifically, mutual knowledge and explicit connectivity were perceived significantly higher. Frequent users (FU) of the e-DAP had a higher perception of explicit connectivity than low users (LU). This difference was even higher when comparing FU and LU according to their use of the e-DAP at the workplace. Results are in line with the expected learning path of the e-DAP, inspired by the Erfahrraum model. The more apprentices collect traces of workplace experiences through the e-DAP, the more VET teachers can support explicit reflection on practice at school. In future exploration, we are going to test the effect of the perceived usefulness of the e-DAP on apprentices’ perception of mutual knowledge and explicit connectivity.