Powerful learning environments in secondary vocational education: Towards a shared understanding

Inge Placklé, Karen D. Könings, Katrien Struyven, Arno Libotton, Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer, Nadine Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Stakeholders in vocational education have difficulties communicating and collaborating on the design of education because they often lack a shared understanding of what constitutes effective student learning. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the perspectives of teacher educators, teachers and students on good education in vocational education are aligned with what literature says about Powerful Learning Environments (PLEs) and to what extent the perspectives of different groups of stakeholders are mutually aligned. Results of nine focus group interviews showed that perspectives are mostly similar in the three groups. They strongly favoured authentic and challenging pathways, endorsed the importance of supporting opportunities for developing key competences and, although not univocal by students, adaptive teaching and learning support, within a positive and safe learning community. Differences between preferences of different stakeholders on some of the design characteristics of PLEs underline the importance of developing a shared understanding about learning and teaching among stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-242
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number2
Early online date8 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • co-design
  • powerful learning environments
  • shared understanding
  • stakeholder perspectives
  • Vocational education

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