Interns investigate their working and learning

Exemplarily shown for business internships of students at Austrian higher vocational colleges.

PEARL studies the different experiences gained by pupils in full-time vocational schools in Austria during their internship. Researchers from the University of Innsbruck, pupils and teachers from the Higher Technical and Vocational College (HTL) Innsbruck and the Higher School of Tourism (HLT) Bludenz work together to explore the real-world internship. The focus of the project is on the acquisition, reflection and design of the teaching and learning processes in the internship.

As ethnographers, pupils explore the real-world internship. In order to make their experiences empirically graspable different methods of ethnographic research such as observation or taking pictures are combined with the action oriented teaching method. These different case studies will be analysed in collaboration with the students and teachers by using the Grounded Theory Method.

In PEARL we expect findings on an educational theoretical level, as well as the didactical level. On the one hand, there is the question which various forms of connectivity in terms of a combination of theory and professional practice are implemented. On the other hand, we expect findings on different quality criteria concerning internships from the pupils’ perspective. Such quality criteria are central for the selection of internships, the systematic establishment of long-term cooperation with partner companies, the evaluation of work experience and the didactical support of practical phases. The didactic level explicitly includes the development of material for guiding internships.

The dissemination of the results takes place, for example in the form of internal teacher training, the design of training and continuing education courses or participating in the long night of research (Lange Nacht der Forschung). The findings will be disseminated in the form of publications and conference contributions as well.