Preparing the Twenty-First Century Workforce: The Case of Curriculum Change in Radiation Protection Education in the United States
Journal of Vocational Education and Training Volume 60, Number 4, ISSN 1363-6820
The advent of the global information society and a myriad of other rapidly changing variables are presenting many new and unique challenges for the twenty-first century workforce, and perhaps the most pressing of these challenges is actually meeting the needs for qualified workers to fill the positions in emerging and growing fields. One such field is the nuclear industry. In fact, the nuclear industry is on the verge of a workforce crisis with a need for more than 57% of current radiation protection technicians (RPTs) in the United States to be replaced in the next ten years. The University of Missouri was awarded a Department of Labor grant to build an associates of applied science curriculum for the next generation of RPTs. After determining that the dominant approach to RPT training in the industry is via memorisation and recall, the question for the development team became how to best advance a vocational curriculum that provides innovative approaches to knowledge acquisition in meaningful contexts in an enterprise that has a relatively narrow view of learning. In the current article the process the curriculum development team underwent to approach this question is provided, along with the theoretical framework used to guide development of the curriculum and the resulting curricular design. The impact that this curriculum may have on higher order cognition and knowledge generalisation is discussed. Of particular note is the design and development of an ASK system, an online learning support system, to bolster the practical and theoretical aims of the curriculum. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
Schmidt, M., Easter, M., Jonassen, D., Miller, W. & Ionas, G. (2008). Preparing the Twenty-First Century Workforce: The Case of Curriculum Change in Radiation Protection Education in the United States. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 60(4), 423-439.