chapter  11
5 Pages

Reflections on results of Canadian studies and German perspectives on work-related learning

ByBERND OVERWIEN

The findings of the WALL research network presented in this volume provide important stimuli for the discussion in Germany. The changes in Canada are on the whole similar to those seen in Germany. This applies particularly to the restructuring within paid labour. The importance of unpaid work in the home, with role stereotypes only slowly changing, also can be confirmed in the case of Germany. In the field of education, different conditions are to be found. The structure of postsecondary education in the two countries differs: we note that the proportion of students in tertiary education is considerably lower in Germany than in Canada. This is partly due to the fact that in Germany a larger proportion of young people acquire corresponding skills in the context of an apprenticeship or other activities within organized and very strictly regulated vocational training. From a Canadian perspective, the ‘dual system’ of vocational training in Germany is doubtless an interesting combination of formal and informal learning, which institutionally guarantees participation on the part of trainees in paid workplaces. Learning takes place in parallel at institutions of formal education and at the paid workplace. Meanwhile, learning within the practical part of this system was long neglected by research. Only in recent years have awareness of and research into learning at work in the context of the firm gained recognition. This can also be seen in a slowly changing attitude to informal learning among organizations of vocational training, employers, and employees and their unions.