Skip to main content
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 9
  • Cited by
    This (lowercase (translateProductType product.productType)) has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Dietzen, Agnes 2017. Competence-based Vocational and Professional Education. Vol. 23, Issue. , p. 719.

    Harteis, Christian 2017. Competence-based Vocational and Professional Education. Vol. 23, Issue. , p. 971.

    Gruber, Hans Hirschmann, Markus and Rehrl, Monika 2016. Handbuch Bildungsforschung. p. 1.

    Pilz, Matthias 2016. Typologies in Comparative Vocational Education: Existing Models and a New Approach. Vocations and Learning, Vol. 9, Issue. 3, p. 295.

    Mustonen, Virpi and Hakkarainen, Kai 2015. Tracing two apprentices’ Trajectories Toward Adaptive Professional Expertise in Fingerprint Examination. Vocations and Learning, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 185.

    Goeze, Annika Hetfleisch, Petra and Schrader, Josef 2013. Wirkungen des Lernens mit Videofällen bei Lehrkräften. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Vol. 16, Issue. 1, p. 79.

    Thomas, Hywel and Qiu, Tian 2013. Continuing Professional Development: Accountability, Autonomy, Efficiency and Equity in Five Professions. British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 61, Issue. 2, p. 161.

    Zyngier, Suzanne 2012. Organizational Learning and Knowledge. p. 2072.

    Jossberger, Helen Brand‐Gruwel, Saskia Boshuizen, Henny and van de Wiel, Margje 2010. The challenge of self‐directed and self‐regulated learning in vocational education: a theoretical analysis and synthesis of requirements. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, Vol. 62, Issue. 4, p. 415.

  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: December 2009

8 - Vocational and Professional Learning: Skill Formation Between Formal and Situated Learning


Educational science and psychology put an emphasis on the development of individual competences and of individual performance when analyzing vocational and professional learning. Thus, intraindividual processes of skill formation are of utmost importance. Their psychological investigation mainly relies on information processing models and thus stresses cognitive components of competence. From an educational point of view, instructional models have been developed that aim at supporting the individual's acquisition of components of competence. Different opinions exist as to whether instructional support should mainly focus on reproducing systematically the to-be-learned domain knowledge, skills, and strategies, or whether instructional support should mainly focus on enabling learners to apply their knowledge in transfer situations. As a consequence, two rather different lines of instructional research can be distinguished: the one stressing formal learning processes, and the other stressing situated learning processes.


After the advent of the situated cognition movement, debates about formal learning and situated learning, as well as about the appropriate design of learning environments for skill acquisition, have been revitalized. The debates were grounded in the recognition of weaknesses that had been identified in so-called traditional formal learning settings. In particular, problems of knowledge application had been repeatedly observed in such learning settings: transfer from learning situations into application situations frequently failed. This was even true if the learners had proven to have mastered all learning requirements. Obviously, there is a substantial risk that knowledge that successfully was acquired remains inert (Renkl et al., 1996).

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Skill Formation
  • Online ISBN: 9780511499593
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Anderson, J. R. (1982). Acquisition of cognitive skill. Psychological Review, 89, 369–406.
Anderson, J. R., Reder, L. M., & Simon, H. A. (1997). Situative versus cognitive perspectives: Form versus substances. Educational Researcher, 26(1), 18–21.
Berliner, D. C. (2001). Learning about and learning from expert teachers. International Journal of Educational Research, 35, 463–482.
Billett, S. (2001a). Knowing in practice: Re-conceptualising vocational expertise. Learning and Instruction, 11, 431–452.
Billett, S. (2001b). Learning in the Workplace: Strategies for Effective Practice. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin.
Billett, S. (2003). Sociogeneses, activity and ontogeny. Culture and Psychology, 9, 133–169.
Billett, S. (2006). Work, Workers, and Change: Learning and Identity. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
Boshuizen, H. P. A., Bromme, R., & Gruber, H. (2004). On the long way from novice to expert and how travelling changes the traveller. In Boshuizen, H. P. A., Bromme, R., & Gruber, H. (Eds.), Professional Learning: Gaps and Transitions on the Way from Novice to Expert (pp. 3–8). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 34–41.
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1992). The Jasper series as an example of anchored instruction: Theory, program, description, and assessment data. Educational Psychologist, 27, 291–315.
Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1997). The Jasper Project: Lessons in Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Professional Development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In Resnick, L. B. (Ed.), Knowing, Learning, and Instruction: Essays in Honor of Robert Glaser (pp. 453–494). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Groot, A. D. (1965). Thought and Choice and Chess. The Hague, The Netherlands: Mouton.
Jong, T., & Ferguson-Hessler, M. G. M. (1996). Types and qualities of knowledge. Educational Psychologist, 31, 105–113.
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. (1990). Berufsbildungsforschung an den Hochschulen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Research of vocational education in German universities]. Weinheim, Germany: VCH Acta Humaniora.
Ericsson, K. A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P. J., & Hoffman, R. R. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook on Expertise and Expert Performance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Goodnow, J. J. (1996). Collaborative rules: How are people supposed to work with one another? In Baltes, P. B. & Staudinger, U. M. (Eds.), Interactive Minds: Life-Span Perspectives on the Social Foundation of Cognition (pp. 163–197). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Gruber, H., Harteis, C., Mulder, R. H., & Rehrl, M. (Eds.). (2005). Bridging Individual, Organisational, and Cultural Perspectives on Professional Learning. Regensburg, Germany: Roderer.
Gruber, H., & Rehrl, M. (2003). Wege zum Können: Ansätze zur Erforschung und Förderung der Expertise von Sozialarbeitern im Umgang mit Fällen von Kindeswohlgefährdung [Ways to competence: Researching and fostering expertise of social workers]. München, Germany: Deutsches Jugendinstitut.
Hatano, G., & Inagaki, K. (1986). Two courses of expertise. In Stevenson, H. W., Azuma, H., & Hakuta, K. (Eds.), Child Development and Education in Japan: A Series of Books in Psychology (pp. 262–272). New York: Freeman.
Kansanen, P. (2004). The role of general education in teacher education. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 7, 207–218.
Kerschensteiner, G. (1912). Begriff der Arbeitsschule [The concept of work school]. Leipzig, Germany: Teubner.
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Mandl, H., Gruber, H., & Renkl, A. (1996a). Communities of practice toward expertise: Social foundation of university instruction. In Baltes, P. B. & Staudinger, U. (Eds.), Interactive Minds: Life-span perspectives on the Social Foundation of Cognition (pp. 394–411). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Mandl, H., Gruber, H., & Renkl, A. (1996b). Learning to apply: From “school garden instruction” to technology-based learning environments. In Vosniadou, S., Corte, E., Glaser, R., & Mandl, H. (Eds.), International Perspectives on the Design of Technology-Supported Learning Environments (pp. 307–321). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Patel, V. L., & Groen, G. J. (1991). The general and specific nature of medical expertise: A critical look. In Ericsson, K. A. & Smith, J. (Eds.), Toward a General Theory of Expertise: Prospects and Limits (pp. 93–125). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Rehrl, M., & Gruber, H. (2007). Netzwerkanalysen in der Pädagogik – Ein Überblick über Methode und Anwendung. [Network analyses in education – An overview of methods and applications] Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 53, 243–264.
Rehrl, M., Palonen, T., & Gruber, H. (2006). Expertise development in science. In Boshuizen, H. P. A. (Ed.), Lifelong Learning of Professionals: Exploring Implications of a Transitional Labour Market (CD-ROM, Proceedings of the 3rd EARLI SIG Professional Learning and Development Conference). Heerlen: Open University of the Netherlands.
Renkl, A., Mandl, H., & Gruber, H. (1996). Inert knowledge: Analyses and remedies. Educational Psychologist, 31, 115–121.
Resnick, L. B. (1987). Learning in school and out. Educational Researcher, 16(9), 13–20.
Resnick, L. B., Levine, J. M., & Teasley, S. D. (Eds.). (1991). Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Simon, D. P., & Simon, H. A. (1978). Individual differences in solving physics problems. In Siegler, R. S. (Ed.), Children's Thinking: What Develops? (pp. 325–348). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Simons, P. R.-J., & Ruijters, M. C. P. (2004). Learning professionals: Towards an integrated model. In Boshuizen, H. P. A., Bromme, R., & Gruber, H. (Eds.), Professional Learning: Gaps and Transitions on the Way from Novice to Expert (pp. 207–229). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Sowarka, B. (1991). Strategien der Informationsverarbeitung im Beratungsdiskurs. Kognitionswissenschaftliche Überlegungen und empirische Analysen zur Wissensrepräsentation und subjektiven Theorie klinischer Beratungsexperten. Weinheim, Germany: Deutscher Studien Verlag.
Stark, R., Mandl, H., Gruber, H., & Renkl, A. (1999). Instructional means to overcome transfer problems in the domain of economics: Empirical studies. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 591–609.
Valsiner, J. (1991). Building theoretical bridges over a lagoon of everyday events: A review of apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context by Barbara Rogoff. Human Development, 34, 307–315.
Humboldt, W. (2002). Werke in fünf Bänden. Band IV: Schriften zur Politik und zum Bildungswesen (6th ed.). [Collected works. Vol. IV: About politics and the educational system] Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
Voss, J. F., Fincher-Kiefer, R. H., Green, T. R., & Post, T. A. (1986). Individual differences in performance: The contrastive approach to knowledge. In Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.), Advances in the Psychology of Human Intelligence (Vol. 3, pp. 297–334). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes.Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press.
Wenger, E. (2003). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Winn, W. (1996). Instructional design and situated learning: Paradox or partnership? In McLellan, H. (Ed.), Situated Learning Perspectives (pp. 57–66). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.