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Examining the development of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and its implications for schools and teacher education in Australia
journal contributionposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Damian BlakeDamian Blake, D Gallagher
The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) is a very successful senior secondary school qualification introduced in the Australian state of Victoria in 2002. Applied learning in the VCAL engages senior students in a combination of work-based learning, service-learning, and project-based learning and aims to provide them with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to make informed choices regarding pathways to work and further education. The program has enjoyed rapid growth and its system-wide adoption by Victorian secondary schools, Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, Registered Training Organizations (RTOs), and Adult and Community Education (ACE) providers has broadened significantly the range of senior schooling pathway options for young people. This paper will examine reasons for developing an applied learning senior secondary certificate and its rapid growth in Victoria since 2002. The authors draw on a number of case studies to profile the unique nature of applied learning in the VCAL, including its dimensions of service learning, work-based learning, and project-based learning. These case studies are also used to discuss a number of implications that have emerged from the use of applied learning in the VCAL, including approaches to teaching and assessment that will support applied learning and the development of new partnerships between VCAL providers and community partners. Finally, the paper considers significant implications the VCAL has created for teacher education in Victoria by discussing the new Graduate Diploma of Education (Applied Learning) developed by Deakin University.