02 SES 03 A, Competence Development of WBL Trainers and Tutors
With the expansion of apprenticeship, work-based learning (WBL) and other dual education schemes supported by EU initiatives like the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) and by reforms of national Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems promoted in many EU Member States, more companies need support to ensure the development and improvement of the new digital competences of potential trainers (paid for training) and tutors (mainly paid for work). Improving continuing professional development of in-company trainers and tutors has been on the EU policy agenda for some years but it becomes now even more important in the context of the increased policy attention (EC 2010-2012, Teachers and Training Matter EC 2018).
The current study is executed in the framework of the Erasmus+ Project “STEP -UP Supporting Tutors Educational Profile”.
Comparative analysis of apparent good practices and methodological approaches of supporting WBL tutors working in digitalized work processes implemented in Italy, Germany, Spain and Lithuania involves selection of good practices of technical and pedagogical competences and innovative approaches for the training of trainers and tutors engaged in WBL practices.
Research is based on the assumption that there is a direct link between the effectiveness of WBL schemes and the pedagogical skills detained by all the different professionals involved in the planning, performance, follow up and evaluation of these paths. Particularly important issues surround the development of pedagogical skills for in-company trainers in order to be adequately equipped for new digitalized or expanded roles. Digitalization of work processes creates specific demand of the professional and general skills and competences for trainers (Lee, Pfeiffer 2019; Pfeifer 2017; Spöttl et al 2016; Spöttl, Windelband 2019). These new skill demands concern both the new professional skills and competences related to the application of the Industry4.0 technologies (AI, cyber-physical-systems, VR, Big Data etc.), as well as demand of the new pedagogical skills and competences related to the innovative and digitalized pedagogical techniques (Brown et al, 2018; Hirsch-Kreinsen, Itterman 2019; Zinke et al 2017).
The roles of trainers also change, because they have to cooperate closely both with the engineering and production staff of the companies as well as with vocational education and training providers and teachers to guide apprentices in the digitalized work environment. The development of pedagogical skills for in-company trainers is still rather marginalized and fragmented in most of the involved countries, despite of the increasing attention of VET policy makers for the implementation and development of WBL and apprenticeships. Continuing professional development, however, often seems to be a neglected area for both teachers and in-company trainers. This aspect is a great challenge for quality in apprenticeships in terms of the cost for both public sector and enterprises of ensuring the supply of sufficiently competent teachers and trainers.
Therefore, the training and competence development of the WBL trainers in the conditions of digitalization of the work processes requires a systemic and holistic approach to their competences focused on the all fields of WBL (from curriculum design and planning to competence assessment) and supported by mutual and regular feedback mechanisms.
This comparative study focuses on the following aspects to support WBL trainers:
- main structures of WBL in partner countries: aims, learning venues, alternation, and cooperation, stakeholders involved and their main tasks, funding and juridical issues, structures of curricula, examinations, approaches, involvement of research in development of the system,
- trainer/tutor training, how are trainers/tutors chosen, level of trainer/tutor training, quality standards/assessment,
- digitalized work and learning stations, learning potentials and tutoring activities,
- examples of apparent good practices of reacting within training of trainers/tutors on challenges induced by digitalization.
The research methodology is based on a comparative analysis of the existing institutional mechanisms and apparent good practices in WBL and on support of WBL trainer competence development in the field of training in the digitalized work processes in Italy, Germany, Spain and Lithuania. This support was analysed in the context of implemented VET reforms in the involved countries which target on the development of competence-based VET curricula and promotion of apprenticeship and WBL in school-based VET systems. There were applied different research methods: Comparison of the relevant aspects of the VET systems of the countries was based on desk research of the literature and content analysis of the policy documents, as well as analysis of available statistical data. Case study method was used for the analysis of apparent good practices of the training and support of the trainers in the digitalized workplaces in the enterprises of the involved countries. The roles of trainers and their competence requirements were researched by applying content analysis of the different competence profiles and occupational standards.
Analysis of the cases of good practices of training of WBL trainers and tutors in the project partner countries disclosed that there is a significant gap of systemic and comprehensive assistance and support in the development of trainers’ and tutors’ skills and competences needed for working and training in digitalized workplaces. Most of the existing practices are based on short-term projects funded by different national and EU programmes and involving VET providers, enterprises and social partners. Target of most projects is the development of professional and didactic competences of VET trainers and tutors in specific industrial sectors and occupations, especially those, which show particular progress in the implementation and development of the Industry 4.0 technologies and digitalization of the workplaces. One of the particular challenges in supporting WBL trainers in developing their professional and pedagogical competences for digitalized work and training is the lack of systemic institutional infrastructure and study/training programmes in this field. Weak institutionalisation and fragmented provision of training of WBL trainers present particular difficulties and challenges for the successful preparation of WBL trainers to the high quality training in digitalized work processes. Therefore the project aims to filling these particular gaps by developing sustainable train the trainer modules in the fields of enhancing pedagogical skills, transversal competences, competences needed for teaching in digitalised workplaces and training with remote learning activities.
Brown, P., Lloyd, C. & Souto-Otero, M.(2018), The prospects for skills and employment in an age of digital disruption: A cautionary note. Project Report, SKOPE Research, Oxford and Cardiff. http://www.skope.ox.ac.uk/?person=the-prospects-for-skills-and-employment-in-an-age-of-digital-disruption-a-cautionary-note. Hirsch-Kreinsen, H, & Itterman, P. (2019), "Drei Thesen zu Arbeit und Qualifikation in Industrie 4.0", Spöttl, G.,Windelband, L. (Eds.), Industrie 4.0 – Risiken und Chancen für die Berufsbildung, W. Bertelsmann Verlag, pp. 151-170. Lee, H. & Pfeiffer, S. (2019), "Industrie 4.0 – Szenarios zur Facharbeiterqualifizierung und ihrer betrieblicher Gestaltung". Spöttl, G.,Windelband, L. (Eds.), Industrie 4.0 – Risiken und Chancen für die Berufsbildung, W. Bertelsmann Verlag, pp. 171-186. Pfeiffer, S. (2017), “Work 4.0 – New challenges for participation and qualification”, Kaiser, F. & Grugmann, S. (Eds.), Social Dimension and Participation in Vocational Education and Training. Proceedings of the 2nd conference “Crossing Boundaries in VET, University of Rostock, Rostock, pp. 30-34. Spöttl, G., Gorldt, C., Windelband, L., Grantz, T. & Richter, T. (2016), Industrie 4.0 – Auswirkungen auf Aus- und Weiterbildung in der M+E Industrie, Die bayerischen Metall- und Elektro- Arbeitgeber, München. Spöttl, G., Windelband, L. (2019), “Industrie 4.0 – Neugestaltung industrieller Prozesse und Konsequenzen für die Berufsausbildung“, Spöttl, G.,Windelband, L. (Eds.), Industrie 4.0 – Risiken und Chancen für die Berufsbildung, W. Bertelsmann Verlag, pp. 239-254. Zinke, G., Renger, P. ,Feirer, S. & Padur, T. (2017), “Berufsausbildung und Digitalisierung – ein Beispiel aus der Automobilindustrie. Wissenschaftliche Diskussionspapiere“, available at: https://www.bibb.de/veroeffentlichungen/de/publication/show/8329 (accessed 29.01.2021).
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