Learning and Instruction for Commercial Apprentices

Managed by Professor Franz Eberle (University of Zurich), this Leading House focuses on the key components of teaching and learning processes. Each component is examined individually and in context. One of the aims of this Leading House is to generate explanatory models showing the conditions and characteristics of teaching and learning processes in commerce.

This Leading House will conduct three correlated research projects:

The first research project lists the commercial skills of learners and how these skills evolve over time. This is achieved by conducting a longitudinal study over the course of the three-year VET programme and conducting a pseudo-longitudinal study covering all education levels. The concept of “competence in business administration and economics” is also taken into account, since the VET programme in economics and society requires learners to study economic theory in order to facilitate their general understanding of economic and social issues. Likewise, motivational variables and aspects of training relating to values are analysed. Finally, the predictive power of individual learning conditions in determining the acquisition of skills relating to commerce, business administration and economics will also be analysed.

The second research project involves gathering and analysing information on the quality of teaching in the VET programme in economics and society. Attention will be paid primarily to the pedagogical features of the teaching and learning process that clearly depart from actual teaching practices. As an extension of the information gathering process, a differential analysis of micro-processes in teaching will be carried out. This will be done for the purpose of identifying conditions that favour success in the acquisition of skills. The second research project makes more sense when correlations are drawn with the other two research projects. Based on the knowledge gained in the second research project, the Leading House will develop and examine, in a targeted fashion, the learning environments and skills imparted.

The third research project will be based on a model. The aim will be to gather and analyse information on the teaching skills of those responsible for the VET programme in economics and society. International studies showing differences in the level of learning and skills of pupils have made the research community and education policymakers keenly interested in research findings that draw a correlation between professional teaching and the success of training. For VET programmes in commerce, very little is known about the skills acquired. Moreover, it is also important to determine whether the differences identified in Switzerland in relation to teacher training in the field of economics and society (higher education sector) have an impact on the level of professionalism in teaching.