• What is the impact of University work-based learning for early year's practitioners in Norway and England? Examples of processes, outcomes and impact from the undertaking of work-based projects

      Atkins, Liz; Furu, Anne; Heslop, Kay; Kaarby, Karen Marie; Lindboe, Inger Marie; Mpofu-Currie, Lucy; Northumbria University (Open University, 01/02/2018)
      This paper is focused on partnership work between academics in Norway and England involved in the teaching of university and work-based learning programmes. Initiated four years ago, the collaboration has developed into a community of practice involving a range of shared activities. These activities include academic and student exchanges, nursery visits, seminars and workshops, which culminate in a joint conference presentation. This paper explores the cultural and curricula differences between the two programmes, and considers how these impact on the individual practitioners undertaking them and on the settings in which they work. The data draws on four students' experiences to exemplify learning in a work-based context. Ethical issues were addressed in a manner consistent with the British Education Research Association (BERA) (2011) guidelines for educational research, and the study utilised theoretical frameworks that drew on concepts of work-based learning (e.g. Colley et al., 2003). Findings suggest that, despite the significant differences in culture and curricula approach, both programmes appear to enhance the practice of practitioners in early years. Key impacts of the programme included evidence of personal change and professional development (Mpofu-Currie, 2015), which were reflective of democratic rather than instrumental notions of professionalism (Atkins and Tummons, 2017). There was also evidence of significant gains in knowledge, manifested through improved pedagogy and more meaningful engagement with the children in each setting. This work demonstrates the benefits of knowledge exchange and dialogue to promote cross-cultural learning experiences. The authors hope that it will inform the development of innovative work-based learning programmes and wider policy in relation to work-based learning, as well as knowledge transfer between Norway and England.