Welcome! My name is Bob Sochowski and this is my pathfinder on how both post secondary leaders and application of technology can bridge the gap between vocational trades and applied technical education throughout the province of British Columbia.Although the pathfinder site is primarily for me as a doctorate student at the University of Calgary to keep track of resources that will be helpful in my research, I hope it will also be of use to other people who are interested in vocational trades and technical education for bridging the gap between them. Please send me any suggestions or comments you may have about my pathfinder site to my blog.
What is a Pathfinder?
Pathfinders were commonly used by libraries to assist librarians and researchers to search for print resources within the library.
Diagram credit to School Library Association New Zealand (SLANZA) http://www.slanza.org.nz/images/Research_Pathfinder.JPG
Today with the readily available internet, pathfinders have evolved to help researchers to sort out literature and resources.
What is the purpose of my Pathfinder?
My proposed dissertation focuses on both the application of leadership and educational technology as the means by which higher education institutions can bridge the gap between vocational trades and applied technical education throughout the province of British Columbia.
I will use this pathfinder throughout my research process of preparing for and conducting research to analyze existing articles.
Who will benefit from my Pathfinder?
My pathfinder will benefit for providing support to students, provincial governments, certification organizations, employers, and faculty who shares an interest in vocational trade and applied technical education. The pathfinder can be used as the first step in searching for recorded literature and resources available related to vocational trade and applied technology education.
A summary of my research
When new regulations are established or there are rapid technological changes which make skills become obsolete very quickly, tradespersons require more frequent retraining (Power, 1999, p. 30). They often seek to enter applied technologies programs during such times, and they are especially interested in taking online, video-linked or asynchronous courses. Currently, the needs of this non-traditional student population are not being met. British Columbia is a large province and has many rural areas which pose challenges to higher education access and delivery. Distance education delivery methods are not consistent and sometimes ineffective. Certain technical courses are not even accessible via distance delivery. Few institutions will assign course equivalencies for field experience, informal training, apprenticeships, or professional accreditation. Hard to say that whether the technical problem related to political influences, entrenched with negative attitudes about the target student population, or even general devaluing of the skill trades.
These problems have to be dealt with the realm of higher education leadership and technology. I will use this pathfinder throughout the process of preparing for and conducting research to analyze existing post-secondary school program structures, identify their educational barriers and what went well with respect to vocational trades and applied technology education.
Purpose of my research
The purpose of my research is to analyze existing post-secondary school program structures, identify the education barriers and emerging educational issues with respect to vocational trades and applied technologies, and provide conclusions and recommendations for change or improvements.
My research Question
My research question will focus on how higher education leaders and technology can bridge the gap between vocational trade and applied technical education throughout the province of British Columbia.
Additional research questions of interest to explore
Questions of interest during my research will be:
1. What will encourage change in the current education structure?
2. What leadership role does the Government of British Columbia in Ministry of Citizens Services, Accommodation Real Estate Services - Environmental Stewardship and Technical Value department play in vocational trades and applied technical education?
3. What educational technologies will be required for successfully bridging the gap between vocational trades and applied technical education?
4. What are the barriers for vocational trades and applied engineering technology with respect to access and learning?
5. What level of recognition should post-secondary schools provide to vocational tradespersons wishing to enter Applied technical training?
6. What educational opportunities between the Government of British Columbia and Workplace Solutions Inc. for bridging the gap between vocational trades and applied technical education?
Why I chose this topic to research?
I am an advocate for implementation of a new educational structure provincially that will bridge the educational gap between vocational trades and applied technologies education.
I believe it is important to connect the trainer with the learner; the regulator with the tradesperson; the curriculum with the application; the technology with the designer; and the standards with the industry. This will require a concerted effort by provincial government policy makers, educational institutions, professional accreditation associations, industry employers, workers, learners, local government, and educators.
I am currently a 2009 doctoral student in Educational Technology at the University of Calgary. This pathfinder is the start of a gathering of resources that will assist in the writing of my proposal and dissertation. Hopefully this site will be important to others that have research interests with the same field.