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Accounting students' expectations and transition experiences of supervised work experience

By Louise Gracia

Abstract

Political and economic discourses position employability as a responsibility of higher education, which utilise mechanisms such as supervised work experience (SWE) to embed employability into the undergraduate curriculum. However, sparse investigation of students' contextualised experiences of SWE results in little being known about the mechanisms through which students derive employability benefits from SWE. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of students' expectation and conception of workplace learning on their transition into SWE. Analysis of accounting students' experiences reveal two broad conceptions of workplace learning, the differing impacts of which on transition experience are explored using existing learning transfer perspectives. Students displaying the more common 'technical' conception construct SWE as an opportunity to develop technical, knowledge-based expertise and abilities that prioritize product-based or cognitive learning transfer. Students with an 'experiential' conception were found to construct SWE primarily as an experience through which the development of personal skills and abilities beyond technical expertise are prioritized using process-based or socio-cultural learning transfer. Further data analysis suggests that these two learning transfer approaches have differing impacts on students' employability development which may indicate a need for universities to consider how to develop appropriate student expectations of and approaches to SWE and meaningful support for students' SWE transition

Topics: LC, HF5601
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2693

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