Snape, Kirsty (2019) An Exploration of Students’ Experiences of Placement in Computing and Engineering: a Sociocultural Analysis of Learning. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Past research dedicated to the study of the undergraduate work placement experience has demonstrated placement participation to be of great benefit to students, contributing to academic improvements, improved generic skills and increased employability. There is however a lack of research which examines the mechanisms underpinning the process of learning that results in these improvements. The academic literature in relation to work placements is under-theorised which, whilst providing valuable data, does not allow for a deep understanding of the phenomenon and makes the wider application of the research more challenging. This research project uses sociocultural notions of learning to explore students’ learning experiences during the work placement year drawing upon the work of Lave and Wenger (1991) and Vygotsky (1978). To explore students’ experiences of placement, data was collected through use of semi-structured interviews and an interactive Facebook group. To analyse the data, narrative constructions were produced, and a thematic analysis was conducted. The analysis explored issues of identity, the meanings students formed in relation to their placement experience, and the practices perceived to be influential to placement learning. The study findings indicate where learning on placement and in academia enable one another which is a process mediated through the mechanism of a shifting identity. The findings also highlight where the notion of independent learning in higher education contrasts with the inherently collaborative nature of placement participation, and where the ability to navigate complex social dynamics is thus a fundamental skill for enabling placement learning.

FINAL THESIS - SNAPE.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email