3.2. TEACHING-LEARNING METHODOLOGIES
In our experience as students, all of us have known good teachers. However, it is not easy to give clues about what a good teacher is, among other things because there are many ways to be one. How to define the ability that some teachers show to motivate and engage their students?
Despite this apparent impossibility, it is possible to find some teaching-learning keys that will help everyone involved to make the practices as profitable as possible.
For example, the following section “INTERACTION – NETWORKED COMMUNITY” gives us some indications about how to improve D-WBL practices thanks to network management. Teaching-learning methodologies could integrate learning from practices in theoretical teaching and provide moments and places to share experiences. Online teaching-learning gives the possibility of having the participation of experts without having to move to educational centers or companies.
The two previous examples serve to show how teaching-learning is linked to the rest of the axes presented in this guide (Competences, Interaction-Networked community, etc.).
3.2.1. COLLABORATIVE / TEAMWORK
As the work of Schwendimann et al. (2018) states:
“Future workplaces require collaboration skills in which members of different work communities use technologies to solve complex problems. Vocational education and training (VET) programs need to meet the challenge to prepare students to be part of a competent workforce. Particularly initial vocational education is under pressure to develop learners’ collaboration skills and abilities”.
Participants in the D-WBL project express as well some advantages of working collaboratively based on their experience. They also propose to combine individual and collaborative work.
For me, the important thing is that when I get a placement, I can be part of a team and work as part of a team… and we can manage teamwork not only by being in one place and everyone sitting together in the office, but also by connecting to a Zoom meeting from home or from work and everyone can see each other there, or even through online platforms where we can work on a document at the same time, etc. (IPOSZ Student)
Whether learning in groups or individually depends, depending on the topic. For example, if I want to train cooperation, then group work makes sense. And if I want to teach other things, I can also do private lessons. (HP Entrepreneur)
Collaborative work is much more than “work together” or “work by groups”. So, before making the decision to include collaborative work in our practices, it’s important to have didactical tools to manage VET students’ work development in collaborative groups. For example, it is important to highlight here that a well-designed collaborative proposal includes moments and tasks to perform individually.
- The analyzed practice integrates individual and collaborative work.
3.2.2. BASED ON ACTIVE METHODOLOGIES
Active methodologies are closely related with collaborative work. Promoting active methodologies in VET practices is also a challenge for the whole network involved. This kind of methodologies can improve students’ learning and motivation, demanding a higher level of commitment from all participants.
“Drawing the students’ attention and keeping them engaged are essential points to the learning process. Active methodologies place the students at the center of this process and make them the protagonists of discovery, rather than just passive information receivers. There are different teaching strategies to create an active learning environment and to engage the students to it. Current evidences indicate that active learning improves understanding and information re-tention.” (Konopka, C. , Adaime, M. and Mosele, P. (2015).
Three of the most used active methodologies are Challenge-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning and Project-Based Learning. All of them are focused on the student’s active implication, but with significant differences that allow us to implement each one depending on the context.
D-WBL participants experiences confirm the advantages of active learning:
In my opinion, based on the objectives and the expected learning outcomes, priority should be given to activity-based methods. For example, problem-based learning, project based learning, flipped classroom, experience learning, etc. – all methodologies that allow for better involvement of the learner in the learning process, greater responsibility, better social skills, self-management, creativity and entrepreneurship. (PANKO Teacher)
Challenge-based working method… to put the kids around a work problem and make them work in team working. To solve this problem though, here’s this thing. In my opinion, before letting the kids do it, the teachers themselves should be able to develop the competence of a real team work, therefore to overcome the barriers of disciplinary skills and also this strong attitude to problem solving (SFC Administration)
- The analyzed practice is based on active methodologies.
3.2.3. MEANINGFUL CONNECTED TO REALITY ACTIVITIES
Collaborative teaching-learning and active activities need to be connected as closely as possible to real workplace requirements in VET environments. Activities should be meaningful for students, but also for the workplace.
“According to both situated cognition and cognitive apprenticeship, investigating decontextualized learning processes is irrelevant. These theories stress that it is important to investigate what learning environments evoke in students, because it is not the task that is most important for effective learning, but the task being anchored in a meaningful and realistic context” (Gulikers, Bastiaens and Martens, 2005).
Basically, we never allow technical content that is detached from a context of reality, but in a way that any technical content is behind the organization of work with civil society. (SFC Administration)
You have to make people work on real things . In my experience, juniors learn more effectively, faster and more satisfactorily when they are allowed to get their hands on projects (CIS Teacher)
- The analyzed practice proposes meaningful and connected to reality activities.