BLEND – Developing and testing innovative blended work based learning in VET
Period: 2015-09-01 – 2018-08-31 (36 months).
Funded by: Comisión Europea
The project links to and addresses some of the objectives set out in; the “Bruges Communiqué on enhanced European Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training for the period 2011-2020, “A GLOBAL VISION FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN 2020” and “WORK BASED Learning in Europe – Policy and Pointers”. These documents highlight the importance of creating opportunities for high-quality work-based learning and expanding the offer of apprenticeships and traineeships in European education and training policies. A lack of workplace experience and the related skills is one of the factors contributing to the “skills gap” in the EU and one of the objectives is to include work-based learning in all initial VET courses that have a clear pedagogical purpose, defined learning outcomes and specified objectives that both the learner and the employer are aware of. It is also recognised that ICT should be used to maximise access to training and to develop new methods, promote active learning and that quality-assured use of technology should be encouraged, with continuing improvements that reflect developments in technology and pedagogical understanding. The Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG) also recommends that that ability to understand and optimise the use of learning technology should be enhanced and refreshed and efforts are needed to engage and empower learners’ use of digital technology.
The partners in this project recognise a need to develop and improve workplace learning. In Finland learners undertake a period of work based learning to gain practical skills necessary to enhance employment opportunities. As funding is reducing the period of work based learning is increasing in all VET programmes and a cost efficient delivery model must be found. KPEDU is one of 30 colleges in the Federation who will lead the way in developing a work based learning model with clear objectives and the ability to monitor leaning outcomes during the WBL period. Distance between workplaces make it too costly for trainers to visit so quality online resources and social networks will be needed. In Holland there is a demand from employers to be more efficient in delivery of training; reducing time spent away from the work place, reducing traveling and costs. Learning strategies are changing but there is a lack of learning materials to support this and a lack of knowledge on how to apply learning technologies and social networking to support the development of new workplace learning strategies. Myerscough College (UK) has a WBL programme but needs to improve efficiency by delivering more learning and assessment online rather than by tutors visiting the workplace. An improved Online induction process and peer support through social networking will support learners in the workplace and prevent early drop out.