BWP 2/2022

Digital learning

BWP 2/2022

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a boost to digitalisation in many areas of society, and initial and continuing vocational education and training is no exception in this regard. But what remains? Which new impetuses and requirements are emerging for occupational learning above and beyond creative business models? And where does digital learning reach its limits? This issue of BWP looks at learning contents, at the competencies that need to be imparted and at methodological and didactic questions.


Special Focus

Alberto Cattaneo

Digital learning: Are we really exploiting the opportunities?

Reflections on technology integration in vocational education and training

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Technology integration is an increasing imperative for education, something which the coronavirus pandemic has boosted even further. When it comes to (dual) vocational education (VET), the question is to what extent we are really exploiting the instructional potential of technologies to support teaching and learning processes. The present paper comments on the results of a 16-year research project and starts from the assumption that we need a strong pedagogy first, not necessarily the most cutting-edge technology. Based on this, we briefly introduce the “Erfahrraum”, a VET-specific pedagogical model for technology integration conceived to better articulate learning across learning locations. We illustrate its effectiveness for learning and connectivity among the VET stakeholders by means of an example. Finally, we discuss these results through two summarizing labels – visual-based reflection and collaboration.
Dirk Ifenthaler, Samuel Greiff

Learning analytics – analysis of vocational education and training data

Learning analytics is a general term used to designate socio-technological data mining, analysis and intervention practices which aim to support education and training processes individually and systemically. Despite the extensive areas of potential it offers, there is hesitation when it comes to deploying learning analytics in vocational education and training. The reasons stated are deficits in organisational structures and a lack of human and technical resources at the organisations themselves. This article examines the lines of development of learning analytics, outlines the current status of research, presents a holistic framework model for learning analytics systems and reflects upon ethical and data privacy principles.
Jonathan Dyrna, Jana Riedel, Lydia Stark

Which competencies do learners need for self-directed, digitally aided learning?

The use of digital media in vocational education and training is particularly conducive to learning if the learners are able to control them in a targeted and effective way themselves. Media use and self-direction place high demands on learners. These must be formulated and justified by academic researchers and policy makers and also need to be afforded sufficient consideration in training practice. This article presents a competency grid for both digitally supported and self-directed learning and provides analytical reflections on how these can be linked. The objective is to design an integrated competency grid for self-directed learning via digital media.
Anne Kittel, Lena Piel, Tina Seufert

Guided or self-directed?

How can learning success and motivation be fostered in digital learning pathways?

The LidA project investigated how learning pathways can be shaped at various industrial companies so as to be beneficial to the acquisition of cross-cutting competencies. For this purpose, digital learning contents were made available in a module-based way across three different types of learning pathway – strictly guided, autonomous or involving additional learning aids. The results of an empirical study show that learning success is not solely dependent on the structuring of the learning pathway. Other factors also play a role. The interplay between these aspects permits conclusions to be drawn with regard to the shaping of digital learning pathways.
Michael Heinlein, Norbert Huchler, Regina Wittal

Experience-based learning in virtual reality – areas of potential and challenges

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Digital media including simulations and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) are increasingly being used in initial and continuing vocational education and training. Although occupational learning in virtual spaces offers new possibilities, specific limits are faced compared to learning via an analogue object. In this article, a research and development project for the piloting of a virtual learning environment in the construction and maintenance of industrial cranes serves as a basis for a systematic investigation into which learning contents can be more or less effectively taught within virtual reality and into the requirements for VR tools which can be derived. The article concludes with a debate on the extent to which the findings can be generalised for (occupational) learning in digital spaces.
Karsten Hömann, Marvin Land, Thomas Schröder

Development and piloting of a digital assistance system for practical occupational training

The deployment of digital assistance systems (DAS) can support the occupational competence development of trainees in extra-company training. This article describes the development and piloting of a DAS within the scope of the “EvAMEI” project conducted by the Arnsberg Joint Apprentice Workshop (Gemeinschafts-Lehrwerkstatt Arnsberg GmbH, GLW). Background information, the objectives of the project and conceptual considerations are all presented.
Christina Hanck, Susanne Wagner, Thomas Hagenhofer

Digital media in inclusive training

This article presents the results to emerge from the project InProD2 – Inclusion in production in the printing industry. It describes the experiences gleaned from the use and adjustment of text-enhanced teaching/learning media in the form of a virtual reality application and a digital learning app. It concludes by describing the opportunities to transfer the outcomes to other topics and sectors.
Claudia Zaviska

Digital platforms to create greater transparency on the continuing training market

Initial insights into the INVITE innovation competition

Digitalisation is a mega trend which has become an essential part of occupationally related continuing training. However, the growing diversity of digital continuing training provision is reinforcing the complex organisation of the mesh of programmes contained within a “continuing training jungle” which is already market driven. In order to increase transparency, the BMBF is funding the INVITE competition in a bid to encourage networking between and expansion of existing digital (continuing) training platforms. The objectives are to make continuing training provision easier to find and to facilitate individualised learning for a broad target group.

From research and practice

Felix Busch

ChoiceLab – a new vocational orientation online resource

Focusing on the intangible factors governing career choice

ChoiceLab is a new online resource which has been developed to aid vocational orientation for school pupils and higher education students in Germany. It launched in 2021. ChoiceLab supplements existing provision by concentrating on the non-tangible factors which inform occupational decisions. Does an occupation offer a good work-life balance? How demanding are the tasks to be performed, and what degree of autonomy can be expected in an occupational field? www.choicelab.de thus provides a service which goes beyond alignment to personal skills or financial incentives.
Markus Kamann

Teaching factories – potential for learning in times of technological upheaval

The relevance of practically related initial and continuing VET is becoming ever greater in an era of rapid and significant technological changes. The focus is turning to new forms of learning and to new learning venues which offer independent and practically oriented training for future skilled workers and for company employees alike. Against this background, the present article outlines the concept of learning factories and describes their inherent potential as modern learning venues.
Hannes Leber

Having a say, helping to shape things and becoming involved in networking – encouraging immigrant skilled workers to take on self-administration tasks in the craft trades

The self-administration work performed by unpaid volunteers in the craft trades is also one of the principal pillars on which dual training in the sector is founded. However, the shortage of skilled workers also means that up-and-coming talent is thin on the ground. The craft trades sector is reacting to this development by launching projects to acquire the services of target groups which have previously been under-represented. These also include persons from a migrant background. One initiative, “Craft Trade Ambassadors”, is described in this article.


Julia Jörgens, Christian Hollmann

International employability skills in training regulations

A new competence module to support regulatory work

The internationalisation of trade and industry and of society is placing wider demands on skilled workers. But which competencies will allow them to act successfully in international and intercultural contexts? What is the meaning of “international employability skills”, and how can they be incorporated into training regulations? Responses to these questions will be provided by a newly designed competency module containing specific examples of formulations which has been developed as a support service for experts in regulatory procedures.
Markus Bretschneider, Johanna Telieps

Enshrining European Directives in training regulations

The example of the inland shipping occupations

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Ordinances relating to the training occupations of inland bargeman/woman specialising in freight shipping, inland bargeman/woman specialising in passenger shipping and inland shipping captain will enter into force on 1 August 2022. New EU guidelines needed to be taken into account during some parts of the process of drawing up the training contents and examination requirements. This article describes the challenges that had to be overcome whilst developing these two training regulations and also outlines the solutions that were found in order to harmonise domestic and European standards.

Profile of an occupation – general nurse

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The occupational profile of “general nurse” was introduced in 2020 to bring together the fields of geriatric nursing, general nursing and paediatric nursing with the aim of increasing the quality and attractiveness of nursing training. Those completing this generalist training programme are qualified to care for persons of all ages. New medical modules offered at the end of nursing training allow expanded competencies to be acquired.