BWP 3/2019

Digitalisation and artificial intelligence

BWP 3/2019

Digitalisation is changing work tasks and occupational profiles at a rapid pace. This issue of BWP examines skills and qualifications requirements as well as further developments of learning within the work context. The topic of artificial intelligence has the potential to play a particular role in this regard. How will the world of work be changed by machines able to improve themselves and act autonomously? And what will this mean for the vocational training of skilled workers? This is a further theme for which the articles in BWP try to provide initial answers.


Vocational education and training in figures

Myriam Baum, Felix Lukowski

Which role do education and training play in the digital transformation process?


The focus of the digitalisation debate is often centred on technological progress and its diffusion into company processes. Less attention is accorded to the endeavours undertaken by companies to impart required competencies. This article uses the BIBB Training Panel to investigate the correlation between company promotion of competencies and use of technology.

Special Focus

Digitalisation and artificial intelligence – the future of work and education

acatech President Professor Dieter Spath sits down with BIBB President Professor Friedrich Hubert Esser

The Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (acatech) [German National Academy of Science and Engineering], which is funded by the Federal Government and the federal states, provides policy makers and the public with advice on future scientific and policy issues. It brings together expertise from various scientific disciplines and from technology-oriented companies. In late March, the Presidents of both BIBB and acatech came together at the invitation of the former to discuss the consequences of the digital transformation in work and education.
Matthias Peissner, Falko Kötter, Helmut Zaiser

Artificial intelligence – potential applications for work and training

The advances being made in artificial intelligence (AI) are bringing about deep seated changes in work and therefore also in vocational education and training. This article illustrates the challenges facing the structure of work and VET on the basis of a selection of projects conducted by the Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation [Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering]. We particularly wish to highlight the positive areas of potential offered by the use of AI. AI can help to shape work by creating task profiles that are suitable for human workers – demanding without being overwhelming. It also opens up new opportunities for in-service training.
Jochen Steil, Sebastian Wrede

Machine-based learning and learning assistance systems

New tasks, roles and requirements for workers?

Technical assistance systems increasingly accompany us in everyday life and in the workplace and are making ever greater use of machine-based learning methods. The aim is for innovative interfaces between humans and machines to enable us to deal with technology intuitively. This article highlights the practice of such systems. It also looks at possible changes in tasks, roles, and hierarchies and at the issue of whether new requirements for workers can be identified. It reveals that multifarious risks and opportunities offer possibilities to shape the world of work while also demanding careful considerations.
Robert Helmrich, Michael Tiemann

En route to the AI world of tomorrow

Social, economic, and technological developments

Although structures and processes in the economy and in society are subject to constant technological changes and developments, it is not precisely clear where the causes of these changes lie or who is driving them. Nor is there any equivocal response to the question as to what long-term impacts can be expected. Interviews conducted with twelve international theorists from various schools of thought on the links between technological and societal development, thereby opening up a debate to find answers to these issues.
Patrick Gebhard

Simulated job interviews with a virtual agent

Realistic training that helps people to deal with their own emotions and improve their performance

Inexperienced applicants can find it particularly difficult to present themselves well in job interviews. One central aspect of this is dealing with their own emotions. Since 2011, the Deutsche Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI) [German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence] and the University of Augsburg have been seeking to provide training in this area by carrying out research into the use of social agents in simulated job interviews. One particular challenge in this regard is to design the behaviour of these agents in as realistic a way as possible and to interpret the emotions communicated via computer systems. This article provides insights into this research work, highlights the areas of potential of virtual applicant training, and concludes by stating the prospects for further research and development.
Katharina Simbeck, Finn Folkerts, Shirin Riazy

Automated text analysis in human resources selection – areas of potential and limitations

Today, companies are able to use algorithms to make a pre-selection of job applications received. They also use automated text analysis procedures based on artificial intelligence. However, the routines that lie behind this process are unclear and may have an undesired discriminatory effect. This article presents the results of a project which investigated the prejudice of German language analysis systems.
Petra Gohlke, Jürgen Jarosch

Shaping digital learning spaces in inter-company training – fostering collaborative learning

Collaborative work and learning using digital media will be of major significance in the future world of work. How can young people be prepared for this within the scope of their training? The Elektro Technologie Zentrum (etz) [Electro Technology Centre] has developed a concept entitled “Inter-Company Training 4.0”, which uses collaboration to supplement the principles of employment orientation and self-directed learning. This article describes how learning spaces in inter-company training can be designed to support the practising of collaborative work methods.
Wendelin Herrmann, Simon Werther

Future scenarios for the digitalisation of company-based training – how much self-directed learning is conceivable?

The everyday lives of many young people are almost entirely digitalised. Does this also result in different expectations and objectives vis-à-vis company-based training? Specialist literature frequently points to the numerous benefits offered by the deployment of new media. However, are company trainers recognising and making use of this potential? The Stuttgart Media University has addressed these issues by conducting a company study in conjunction with KUKA AG of Augsburg with the aim of drawing up a joint future vision for company-based training. This article presents and reflects upon the evaluations and wishes of both trainers and trainees.
Gert Zinke

Changing inter-occupational competencies in the wake of the digital shift

Perspectives for the regulatory and implementation levels


Between 2016 and 2018, a project team at BIBB conducted occupation screenings as a part of the BMBF/BIBB initiative “VET 4.0 – Qualifications and competencies of skilled workers for the digitalised work of tomorrow”. The impacts of digitalisation were investigated for 14 recognised training occupations. The present article describes the approach adopted in the project and pools findings from the various sub-studies. The focus is directed towards competencies that are evaluated as being particularly important in cross cutting terms. The article concludes by outlining a proposal for how such competencies can be fostered within the framework of an altered didactic design to which training regulations are already according consideration.
Markus Bretschneider

“What happens in the field is crucial!”

Curricular and practical consequences of digitalisation and networking in agriculture


How are tasks and competencies in the agricultural sector changing as a result of digitalisation and networking, and how does vocational education and training need to react? On the basis of technology deployed, this article investigates the issue of how skills, knowledge and competencies are currently changing in the recognised training occupation of farmer, and which requirements and consequences this is creating at the curricular and practical level. In light of the growing significance of process and system competencies and handling data, the teaching module “Information-based agricultural technology” will be used as an example to show how competencies relating to the systematic use of production data can be practically imparted and how trainers can be supported in their daily work.
Stephanie Conein, Inga Schad-Dankwart

Similar and yet different – digitalisation and its consequences for individual occupational profiles

A comparison between industrial clerks and process mechanics


This article uses two occupations as examples to show that while ongoing digitalisation often leads to similar changes at skilled worker level if considered in general terms, closer investigation of the respective workplaces reveal that these changes exert different occupation-specific effects. Commonalities and differences in the occupations of industrial clerk and mechanic in plastics and rubber processing are highlighted with regard to technologies deployed, changed tasks and new skills requirements. The article concludes with some estimates of the further development of the two occupations given the conditions of digitalisation.
Denise Materna, Yvonne Söffgen, Laura Wuttke

Use of digital media for people with learning difficulties in housekeeping training occupations

Approaches and objectives of the LernBAR project

The project “LernBAR – learning on the basis of augmented reality – an inclusive training concept for housekeeping” addresses the areas of potential offered by new technologies to develop work process related learning provision that supports people with learning difficulties. This article describes the opportunities and challenges of digital learning approaches for such persons and looks at both the technological and the didactic level.

Other Themes

Florian Kirchhöfer, Karl Wilbers

Setting the course for training and work

Student mentoring for new immigrants and refugees during dual training

The project “WEICHENSTELLUNG für Ausbildung und Beruf” ("Setting the course for training and work") addresses the labour market integration problems faced by young new immigrants and refugees. This article describes the design and practical implementation of a student mentoring project, in which trainees receive two years of support from trainee business education teachers and other student teachers, and outlines the areas of research potential.


Christopher Knieling, Stephanie Conein

Digital competencies in the training of chemical technicians

How can companies and trainees prepare for the digital world of work in an appropriate way? The social partners in the chemical industry have worked in conjunction with BIBB to develop a new elective qualification for the training occupation of chemical technician entitled “Digitalisation and networked production”, which entered into force in August 2018. Since then, over 350 trainees have already taken advantage of this new option. This article describes the reasons for the introduction of the elective qualification and the areas of activity in which it can be applied.

The Board of BIBB

Thomas Vollmer

Report on the 1/2019 Board Meeting on 15 March 2019 in Bonn

The main focus of the first Board Meeting of 2019 was to consult on the current training place situation in light of the Federal Government’s 2019 Report on Vocational Education and Training, a debate which is conducted annually. Further points of discussion included topic clusters for BIBB’s medium-term research planning for the period from 2019 to 2025, permeability between higher education and vocational education and training, and the modernisation of standard occupational profile items. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Alexandra Bläsche, Representative of the Federal States.