Hybrid Learning Environments : Merging Learning and Work Processes to Facilitate Knowledge Integration and Transitions
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This paper deals with the problematic nature of the transition between education and the workplace. A smooth transition between education and the workplace requires learners to develop an integrated knowledge base, but this is problematic as most educational programmes offer knowledge and experiences in a fragmented manner, scattered over a variety of subjects, modules and (work) experiences. To overcome this problem, we propose a design approach and shifting the educational focus of attention from individual learners to learning environments. The broader notion of learning environments facilitates transitions by establishing horizontal connections between schools and the workplace. The main argument of this paper is that combining or connecting aspects of school-based settings only is not sufficient to ensure learners will develop an integrated knowledge base. The concept and examples of “hybrid learning environment” show how formal, school-based learning and workplace experiences can be closely connected. The paper offers a framework of four coherent perspectives that can help to understand the complex nature of such environments and to design hybrid learning environments: the “agency perspective”, the “spatial perspective”, the “temporal perspective”, and the “instrumental perspective”. The framework is applied to three cases taken from vocational education in the Netherlands to describe what hybrid learning environments look like in contemporary educational practice.