1.1. THE D-WBL PROJECT
Deal with digital work-based learning (D-WBL) is an Erasmus+ project developed by an international Consortium made up of 8 partners from 5 European countries, centers of excellence in the areas of digitisation applied to Work-based Learning (WBL) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems. The consortium led by SFC and joined by strategic partners, including representatives of enterprises, universities specialized in innovative pedagogy, vocational training centers engaged in the fields of Mechatronics and Green Economy, works to promote the capacity of VET trainers from Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, and Lithuania to use innovative pedagogical approaches.
The focus of the project is on providing training opportunities for the design of Digital WBL experiences. The project is aimed at innovating and making work-based learning experiences more accessible through digital tools. Our purpose is to encourage VET trainers to acquire specific competences through Digital WBL experiences. By studying the innovative pedagogical approaches and by recollecting best practices from our stakeholder community, we will define the quality and the methodological framework for designing VET training courses. Starting from this, we will produce a list of the competences and soft skills that teachers need to implement. So, we will define the Blueprint for VET trainers’ development of competences to design, deliver, evaluate and certificate online and blended courses. In addition, a cross-media platform to train the project’s target groups will be designed. The e-learning platform will provide the course “Deal with Digital Work-based Learning” in order to allow field testing to enrich the digital teaching-related skills of VET trainers. The project’s final output will be a toolkit for the implementation of Digital WBL in VET students’ learning pathways to ensure the transferability and sustainability of the project approach and results.
The project direct target group is composed by:
- VET system trainers, coming both from companies and VET training centers. The partnership aims to enhance the capacity of VET trainers to design and differentiate digital work-based learning methodologies and approaches. It intends to make work-based learning more sustainable, also by expanding the opportunities for WBL best practice exchange and distance learning. 200 Trainers of VET institutions will be involved and 50 Trainers of VET institutions will be formed.
- Students: 50 students will benefit from the “Deal with Digital Work-based Learning” course.
- NEET: Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) is a young person who is no longer in the education system and who is not working or being trained for work. 60 NEET will be informed about the learning opportunity developed in deal with Digital WBL project.
- Centers/person of interest: HR managers, Experts in Management and coordination of employability and lifelong learning services, Experts in Guidance counseling and support to job placement. 60 Strategic centers and persons of interest will be informed about the “Deal with Digital Work-based Learning” course.
Deal with Digital WBL pursues the following objectives:
- To develop a competence framework on emerging digital skills for the VET trainer needed to innovate Work-based Learning methodology, laboratory and experiential online learning
- To encourage VET trainers to acquire specific competences to design how deliver, evaluate and validate skills learned through Digital Work-based Learning experiences
- To develop a training course to enrich the digital skills of VET trainers, available at a distance on the “Deal with Digital Work-based Learning” platform, to integrate the use of Digital Technologies in Work-based Learning experiences
- Create stimulating and inclusive opportunities for VET trainers to further their professional development
- Enrich and make more attractive to learners the training opportunities based on Digital Work-based Learning
- To innovate and make more attractive the cooperation between training stakeholders and enterprises, making WBL experiences more accessible through digital tools.
The project stakeholder community
Based on the challenging objectives of the project, the “Deal with Digital Work-based Learning” initiative intends to guide a collaboration between strategic partners, including representatives of enterprises, universities specialized in Innovative Pedagogy, vocational training centers engaged in the fields of Mechatronics and Green Economy, with the aim of producing impacts on :
- VET trainers
- Training Centers and professional universities
- Business representation organizations
- Public administration
1.2 ABOUT THIS GUIDE AND HOW TO USE IT
The aim of this guide is to assist all people involved in Vocational Education Training (VET) to understand, reflect on and improve practices in Digital Work-Based Learning.
For this, we have had the collaboration of multiple stakeholders from different countries. Their contributions allow us to answer some questions from new challenges in VET on its way to a more extensive and deep digitization.
Section 1.3 presents briefly the research methodology, in which the participation of stakeholders from all the countries involved in the project as the cornerstone to connect the proposal with real contexts.
Section 2 offers a brief theoretical overview about Digital WBL, giving answers to the following four questions that are present throughout the guidelines:
- What do we mean by digital WBL?
- What is “good” digital WBL good practice?
- What (good) practices are there of digital WBL?
- What are digital WBL scenarios?
Section 3 develops the key question: What is “good” digital WBL good practice?
This section collects the main content of the knowledge generated in the research process: literature review and stakeholders experience give shape to five sections related to the five main topics on which D-WBL is based. Based on the 10 key components for online teaching, WBL and VET-particular considerations, this guidelines selects five components and between three to five elements of each of them. These five components are: “Compentences in D-WBL for VET”, “Teaching-learning methodologies”, “Interaction-networked community”, “Content and resources” and “Assessment”.
Once the components and their elements are presented, section 4 provides a tool to evaluate the degree of concordance between a specific digital VET practice and each element. This VET Practice Evaluation Tool (VPET) will help you to reflect on a VET practice that you are developing or implementing.
To evaluate a practice, VPET selects five components and elements presented in section 3. For each one of these components, VBET proposes a sentence to evaluate its most relevant aspects in scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Once the evaluation is done, VPET shows the results graphically, providing a quick picture of the evaluated practice. It should help to identify where efforts might be focused to improve the strength and quality of practices.
Finally, section 5 presents a set of existing good practices from different countries and contexts, and examples of how to use VPET to evaluate some of these good practices.
One possibility to use the D-WBL guidelines in a profitable and agile way can be to use the VPET to analyze a practice. It can be a practice that is already working or one that you are developing to performance. The VPET can be used by the different people involved in the practice (teachers, students, entrepreneurs).
With the picture obtained using the tool, teamwork can focus its efforts improving those aspects less valorated.
To see how these aspects can be improved, each of the points of section 3 develops briefly each of them.
1.3. GUIDELINE ELABORATION METHODOLOGY
This work is based on two cornerstones of qualitative social sciences research: collecting established concepts through literature review, and gathering heterogeneous key stakeholders contributions: literature offers us well-anchored knowledge, while stakeholders share their knowledge, particular experiences and expectations.
Based on the collection of good practices, stakeholders’ experiences and literature insights, a VET Practice Evaluation Tool (VPET) has been designed to easily address quality features of D-WBL practices.
Below, we offer a brief description of the methodology followed in the guideline elaboration:
Step 1: Best practices and Best Practices selection criteria
Once a first literature review was done where the most important concepts onD-WBL were identified, we asked partners to gather a set of Good Practices in D-WBL.
Some related VET teaching-learning professionals of each partners’ country filled a template with the most relevant information about a Good Practice that they know, including a summary and selection criteria to consider the practice as a good practice.
16 good practices and selection criteria from Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Germany and Estonia were gathered. Some examples of them can be found in section 5 of this guideline.
Step 2: Focus Groups with local stakeholders
Literature and stakeholders inputs generated a set of questions to go forward with D-WBL good practices. Questions were classified in six blocks. Each block was opened with general questions about the topic.
For example, in the block COMPETENCES the introduction question was:
“What do you think about how competences should be integrated in a GP? You can talk about methodologies, kinds of competences or skills, etc.”
Below these introductory questions, some key elements or concepts were provided to avoid forgetting any important aspect. For example, if nobody mentioned European Digital Competence frameworks, the moderator could invite them to tell something with the question:
“And do you know DigCompEdu? Do you think it is a good reference to use?”
Each D-WBL partner carried out local focus groups. The table below shows the stakeholders description and the number of participants of each local focus group:
Step 3: Data preparation and analysis
Once the focus groups were performed and recorded, each partner shared the transcription in English.
For the analysis, each contribution was classified into five categories. These categories were used as thematic blocks in the focus groups, responding to fundamental elements of the teaching-learning processes.:
COMPETENCES IN D-WBL FOR VET
INTERACTION – NETWORKED COMMUNITY
CONTENT AND RESOURCES
A first open codification was carried out with all the contributions to each category. For example, in the category ASSESSMENT emerged the following topics:
ACTIVE FEEDBACK 360º
THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE (TESTS)
DIFFERENT PRACTICE EXPERIENCEs (NO TEST)
PERSONAL CONTEXT (TENSION)
After the axial codification and literature review, the category ASSESSMENT was set up with three topics, as follow:
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: 360º FEEDBACK
PLANIFICATION AND TRANSPARENCY
Step 4: VET Practice Evaluation Tool Design
To assess whether a practice responds to these categories and to what degree, a question was formulated for each of its topics. Following with the same example:
|The analyzed practice integrates assessment as part of competence-based learning.
|The analyzed practice includes 360º feedback as an element of formative assessment.
|PLANIFICATION AND TRANSPARENCY
|Assessment elements are planned and known by all the people involved in the training process.
User of this guideline can evaluate how a practice is close to a good practice in Digital WBL and which aspects can be improved, assessing these final questions with a simple scale:
Please, indicate your degree of agreement with the following statements using a scale from1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) as follows:
Strongly disagree (1)
Moderately disagree (2)
Moderately agree (4)
Strongly agree (5)
Finally, the VET Practice Evaluation Tool generates a graphic showing the results: