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Vocational training versus formal education

 
 
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aaron
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:31 pm    Post subject: Vocational training versus formal education Reply with quote

Today it seems there is an ever-increasing number of holders of post-secondary degrees or diplomas and a decreasing number of job vacancies due to downsizing caused by the application of high technology. How therefore do you go about assigning a value to higher learning and formal education?

How much weight should we placed upon vocational training and formal education? Can vocational training totally replace formal education?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vocational training is just a way to avoid hard exams. There shouldn't be the real gap of applicability between one or the other but governments are getting obsessed with targets so the exam grades suffer by being lowered. So the exams become meaningless. Vocational courses also have a higher pass rate because they're not testing differential calculus but button pushing so that's why governments like them. Degrees are built for the workplace anyway but as a station for further research into theory and practice to help progress the workplace.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find that the ability to fit into the existing team, and to talk openly and informatively on the subject matter in hand of far more importance than formal qualifications.

Persoanlly I think that in many cases a degree is a waste of time, it is an outdated mode of education and all it does is prove that a person can learn a subject, or form a basis for further research.

Real world education is far more relevant in todays world. That said, not having any formal education has exposed me a number of times when communicationg on forums like this, due to my lack of grammar and punctuation. (some people ignore the message and see only the quality of the written text).
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digital print
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Students have no common sense. You only get that with experience.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello digital print, and welcome to the forums. Wave

That's something of a gross generalisation, isn't it? Not all students are young and naiive 18 year olds. Some are very street-wise 18 year olds, and others are much older and have a wealth of prior experience (so-called mature students).

Anyway, the main message I'd like to get across to you is this one:

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Also don't post lots of short messages just to boost your ant count. We will come down harshly on anyone that does this, as it's important for everybody that the quality of the forums is retained.


This is taken from our FAQ on ants. I notice in the short time since you've joined that you've tended to post very short one-liners on the whole. (The above and this post are cases in point.) Don't get me wrong... it's fine to post short messages once in a while, but if you're seen doing this all the time, then people will start to think that you're only here to boost your ant count and get your signature seen. We like to engage in a little more than that and have some worthwhile discussion, too! Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think formal education is very important compared to vocational.

I'm a programmer and I see this all the time and it especially happened during the boom. People would learn how to program in a language with those $1000 trips and only a few would actually take out the time to understading the underlying details of it works and the reason for its existence. They would program in Object Oriented languages but would find it hard to really understand the complete essence and the reasoning behind it. Anyone can make simple classes but lets say to work on a compiler requires a deep understanding.

And this is seen in any field. I don't think that you can replace formal learning at all. If we did, we would all be stuck using the same methods in technology or any other field for a long time and research goes out the window.
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And this is seen in any field. I don't think that you can replace formal learning at all. If we did, we would all be stuck using the same methods in technology or any other field for a long time and research goes out the window.

Well, responding to that, this is my generalization, my guess. I think the time you spend, the money you spend can make a huge different in terms of what you get from education. Vocational training programs tend to be short, as a result, students tend to get in a habit of not thinking through. Again, this is my generalization and my guess. After you go through a formal education process, 4-year college, etc., there is good chance of your having obtained a skill to think through, take time and think through. I believe it's crucial whatever you do, and formal education is a good chance to obtain that skill/knowledge.

Any comment on this?
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the best guru's out there do not have formal education, they learned what they know the hard way. Otoh, most corp positions will not even consider a person without formal education. Its a tough call. For a youngster, I think its pretty imperative today, and despite all the jokes about liberal arts education, I'd rather have a fine art major I can train vocationally, as someone with no prior formal education.

Now if I have a short term need, rather than a staff position, then I'd go with vocational training, or if I figured they wouldn't stay around. I'm still a member of the old school with employer loyalty, and I try to take darn good care of my people to keep them here, again old school.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 6:54 am    Post subject: There's no substitute for experience.... Reply with quote

On-the-job experience is really the best training. Vocational training is better, in my opinion, than "formal" training because you actually apply your knowledge to perform a task, or solve a problem. With most of the formal training you never get to do this, unless there is a lab involved. But even a lab experiment can't match the problems and situations you will meet in the real world.

I have gone through all the different "modes" of education. I took a 2-year electrical and electronics vocational course in high school, then an Associate's Equivalent electronics program (DeVry), and finally, later in my career, completed a 4-year degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.

I have to say, from my experience--the 4 year degree is worthless! I will not mention the college, not here to "bad-mouth" them. But, this degree was supposed to qualify me for jobs such as Test Engineer, etc.--it did not. The main failing point was that they did not teach me the software/ work experience skills that companies are now looking for.

For example, Lab View and HP Vee are two programs that are frequently used to generate testing solutions--not offered, not taught. I see a lot of jobs for people who know PLC programming--not taught. PLC training is not commonly taught in any colleges currently that I have seen--yet it is a frequently asked-for skill! This is the main problem with formal education--they do not teach the skills that companies are currently looking for, they only teach the basic skills--the rest is learned on-the-job.

Here's a few more examples--nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Both of these fields are "hot" right now--yet the formal training programs are just now being developed! Another one--semiconductor technology--I don't know of any program that trains people about the semiconductor process, how the chip is made--this is another skill set that is in demand. Formal training is too slow to pick up on the needs of employers, and too slow to develop training programs for these needs.

Vocational training is more flexible, and it is much easier to change, or update, this kind of program to better meet the student's and employer's needs. It is much quicker to develop a new vocational training program than it is to add, or update, a "formal" training program. Formal training tends to be "set in stone" and it is much harder to change it to keep up with the changing needs of employers.

I got almost no benefit from my 4-year degree, it has yet to get me any closer to my goal. Both the Vocational Program and the Associate Equivalent program gave me more bang for the buck. I credit the Vocational Program for my success at DeVry--because it is a very accelerated program many people don't make it. I had prior training and was able to learn the material much easier than others who had not had any training.

In my opinion, colleges need to focus more on what employers actually need, not what they think should be taught. There are too many extraneous courses, that while they may "round out" the student, do nothing to help them get a job! Other courses are very necessary, but they are not taught in a way that is specific to a particular field--the problems that are solved may or may not be applicable to the student's field.

Vocational programs are definitely better here--since you can set up a task that will require certain calculations to be made so the student not only learns the math, but also learns how to apply it. All the calculus tests I took were based on memorizing algebraic, trigonometric, and calculus identities to solve equations--none were abstract problems. Vocational training tends to use practical examples to reinforce the knowledge being taught. Just my opinion!
John
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