Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems across Europe are facing a series of challenges. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a number of European countries are having difficulties recruiting and retaining highly skilled vocational teachers. The research found that VET trainers/teachers deliver their teaching in a more traditional way due to the lack of sophisticated digital skills expected by the new generation. The learning styles of the new generation are changing, with preferences for more flexible and digitalised learning using mobile devices. Therefore, the generation gap between the usually older generation of VET teachers and the new generation of apprentices is widening resulting in reducing the relevance of VET in the contemporary labour market.
Questions are also raised not only about the mode of delivery but also about the content of VET training. The focus of VET is ordinarily on practical activities related to a specific vocation. However, it has been noticed that, whilst their practical skills may be adequate, the school leavers are lacking soft skills such as communication skills, self -motivation, understanding the dynamics of the work place etc. With this in mind, it seems that including teaching soft and other transferable skills during any apprenticeship should be part of any VET, so even if the apprentice decides to change the economic sector, they will still be able to use some of the skills in their new field.
The “Microlearnings for trainers and teachers in VET systems” project is aiming to address the two issues of content and mode of VET by creating a training material/product. The objectives are:
- • The products will contribute to the development of skills and competences (including digital of in-company trainers and trainers & teachers in VET systems.
- • It will help to make the VET more attractive for apprentices because the training will be provided in a format more suited to the needs and expectations of the new generation of learners.
- • The trainers/teachers of the project partners engaged in VET and other fields/sectors of education will use the products themselves. VET teachers and trainers of other companies will be encouraged to use the products as well.
- • The products will ensure a high quality VET by improving the transfer and quality of knowledge.
- • The products are not only designed for use of the trainers /teachers but also for use by the apprentices/students themselves. The subject matters of the courses will improve motiva- tion and other transferable soft skills of the apprentices, enhancing their professional education and training .
- • The use of innovative pedagogical methods to "transfer" the learning content will help to enhance the impact of the learning. All these factors will contribute to reducing the number of apprentices leaving their apprenticeships early. The products will also help to increase the relevance of VET in the labour market.
- • Integration of education and learning: the project will address the question of how to make intergenerational learning a success, by taking into account the needs and expectations of the young learners and their digital competences.
- • The training materials are developed in the innovative Microlearning (ML) format small learning units addressing a specific question within the topic in video, audio clips and trans- fer material). ML as a digital format enhances learning content and facilitates flexible learning and access through Open Educational Resources
Content and Methods
The project is focusing on 5 draft topics/courses that were the result of the research of current provisions and agreed amongst project partners:
The organisation of the training material is an innovative Microlearning format, with small learning units addressing a specific question within the topic in video, audio clips and transfer materials. Each topic will consist of 20-25 video/audio clips of 1-3 minutes in length. All material will be available as a free on line educational resource in 4 languages (English, French, German and Polish).
It is expected that both VET trainers/teachers and apprentices will find the resources useful. By using innovative pedagogical methods the trainers/teachers will be able bridge the gap and achieve greater learning impact with the new generation of learners . The apprentices will benefit from understanding softer skills required in the labour market by learning it from a digital format more suitable to their learning style.
The Project partnership consists of organisations from four countries. - from old and new EU member states. The project team is a mix of organisations with different profiles and expertise involved in different economic sectors as well as various sectors of education and training These consist of University, VET providers, providers of counselling and training services for public ad- ministrations, private enterprises and in particular small and medium sized companies (SME). Three partners (ibis acam and NeuKurs/AT) and Leno (FR)) provide training or training-related services in VET; the UK partner (Coventry University) provides education and training at university and at College level. Orange Hill (PL) partner has an extensive experience in developing educational methodologies and designing e-tools in the field of management and HR. Like the other partners, Orange Hill has experience in issues related to young people and is a part of Polish organisation of experts dealing with diversity management focusing on the problems of young people.
All partners have experience in working with different target groups. The participating organisations provide services to different categories of clients/costumers from both the private and the public sectors ; students/apprentices/teachers and trainers; adult learners; managers self-employed/ employed/unemployed. The participating organisations offer the necessary mix of complementarity with regard to expertise/profile and experience to ensure the success and development of the project.
The project started In October 2015 and is expected to last for 2 years.
Are you trainer/ teacher in VET?
If answer is yes, you may be willing to help with the development of the Microlearnings product. We would particularly welcome your input in defining the questions for each topic and/or testing the product as it is being developed.
If you are interested and would like more information on how you can get involved please email: