Communities of Practice and Apprentice Motivation: An Interpretivist Exploration of Situated Learning and Its Effect on Learner Persistence

White, Peter Lyndsay (2023) Communities of Practice and Apprentice Motivation: An Interpretivist Exploration of Situated Learning and Its Effect on Learner Persistence. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/8BC7K3T4

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The number of learners on degree apprenticeship programmes has been increasing each year since they were introduced in 2015. The problem is a high attrition rate, especially in management apprenticeships. This is bad for learners, their employers, universities and UK productivity. However, success rates are good, as around 98% of apprentices that complete their programme of study achieve the qualification. In other words, most of those that complete their apprenticeship, pass their apprenticeship. This case study explores the experiences and the perceptions of chartered manager degree apprentices (CMDA) at the University of Gloucestershire, to understand the influences that enhanced or diminished their motivation to persist. Community of practice theory provided the theoretical foundation (Lave & Wenger, 1991). This well-established socio-cultural learning theory takes as its focus the relationship between learning and the social situations and interactions in which it takes place, therefore it provided a lens through which to compare its principles and characteristics with current practice. The philosophical approach chosen was interpretivism, with a research design that included semi structured interviews with learners at different stages of the CMDA programme, then with their employers and University staff, to achieve triangulation. Comparing community of practice theory to current practice revealed weaknesses that adversely affected the learning experience. Critically, the relationship between the University and its employer partners was transactional, rather than collaborative, resulting in some key managers in the workplace being unaware of their roles and responsibilities to learners. For most apprentices, this led to the absence of a supportive learning foundation and environment, creating problems which many battled to overcome during their learning programme, leading some to withdraw. To improve the current apprenticeship system, a conceptual model was created based on community of practice theory, the findings from this study and the literature. It can be used by the University to inform all parties of their responsibilities at each stage of the apprenticeship and provides the basis for a strategic partnership agreement with its employer customers.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communities of practice; Apprentice motivation; Situated learning; Degree apprenticeship programme; Learner persistence; Management apprenticeships; Attrition rates
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2024 15:18
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2024 15:24

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