Conlon, Jo (2012) A Case Study to Investigate the Reconceptualization of an Undergraduate Module as a Collaborative Learning Space Mimicking Industrial Practice to Provide the Opportunity for Participation and Practice and to Enhance Learning and Employability. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The research presents a case study undertaken as part of postgraduate research. This postgraduate qualification in professional development was undertaken by the researcher to facilitate the transition from industry practitioner to professional educator. The study considered 80 intermediate level students from 3 vocational fashion and textiles courses jointly undertaking a cross-discipline module. This research was developed to focus on students’ conceptions of learning and personal and professional identity. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection was employed: questionnaire, reflective log and focus groups. The research questionnaire has drawn from Brennan et al (2010). Card sort activities outlined in Rees et al (2006) using QAA subject benchmark graduate attributes and skills and CIHE competencies provided the stimulus within the focus groups.
Learners responded to the authenticity of the project and embraced additional subject knowledge and new professional practices in order to succeed. Simultaneous exposure to the language, required standard and breadth of graduate employability skills enabled students to construct and more confidently articulate their own narrative of employability. Additionally the simulation of professional practice provided a realistic context to rehearse and affirm emerging graduate identities. This construction of a graduate profile facilitated autonomy in professional development and prompted adoption of a more holistic approach. As stated by Brown and Hesketh (2004:145),
‘The concept of self-identity is [...] clearly important when it comes to how individuals construct and manage their employability. How an individual approaches the labour market is intimately linked with their ideas about what kind of person they think they are and the kind of person they want to become’.

Masters Dissertation

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