Along with the changes in the classrooms brought by new digital technologies, changes in teacher training is as well high on the agenda of EU countries. Transnational mobility is a way to exchange viable and efficient teaching practices, as shown in the Eurydice report from March 2021 ”Teachers in Euope. Careers, Development and Well-Being”. OECD reports that innovation in teachers professional development and in teaching practices significantly benefits from using and exchanging (digital) teaching resources.
In line with this general framework, the partners in the Erasmus+ project Digital Learning Paths (code 2021-1-BE02-KA220-VET-000028121) identified four main areas for amelioration, all being embedded in each school policy or in the institutional development plan:
- increasing the attractiveness of professional education for all students,
- improving the teaching approaches by offering personalised learning paths, by involving all students in participatory and attractive learning situations, and by including significant digital learning materials,
- raising the usability of learning by including updated simulations of manufacture and industrial processes,
- increasing mutual benefiting collaboration with VET schools in Europe and with companies.
Taking in the consideration these needs, the project partners have assembled a possible way to support an important step towards increasing the relevance of learning, inclusion, equitable access to high quality training and resources.
Building a collaborative platform with digital resources, on which any teacher could build their own adapted learning path, is the mean that could be properly achieved through transnational collaboration between institutions with different experiences and expertise, various specialisation domains, different approaches to vocational training.
The target groups are VET students and teachers, companies in the technical sector, and education specialists. In particular, students with fewer opportunities (from disadvantaged families, language deficiency, disabilities) constitute an important part of the specific target group of the Digital Learning Paths project.
The scope of the project is twofold, on one hand to propose and validate a way to improve teaching and learning approaches in VET, on the other hand, to promote synergies, cooperation and cross-fertilisation between the different stakeholders active in the vocational education and the industry.
The objectives of the project Digital Learning Paths are:
- To design and build an online platform for VET, with various learning resources, on which teachers could easily set up adapted digital learning paths for their students. The Digital Learning Paths Project aims to provide a solution to the shortage of good and up-to-date learning materials for vocational education in the different countries.
- To encourage VET- teachers and VET-schools to use (and also develop it themselves) better training methods so that they can meet the increasing need for quality in technical training. As the partners extend from the South to the north of Europe, we aim to achieve this on a European scale.
- To increase the cooperation of project partners (VET institutions) with the different stakeholders active in the vocational education and with the industry.
- Based on the project’ outcomes, to demonstrate to VET teachers, students and different stakeholders (companies, NGOs, research institutes, other VET school) the need for new teaching methods and the benefits of these new methods.
- To identify the contribution of the digital learning paths to the integration of all students (like lateral entrance students or like students with language deficiency), in order to improve the inclusion of disadvantaged learners, the attractiveness and significance of learning for them.
- To promote innovative teaching methods in order to increase the influx into technical education, given the dire shortage of technicians on the labour market.
- To support the development of skills of project partners in project management (especially for project partners with little experience in project management), in educational management: project-based learning and learning paths design (for institutional development as well as for students’ development).
- To exchange know-how between the different partners and build a strong partnership.
Partner in DLP project, the Institute for Education (Romania) is a non-governmental organization founded in 2009, aiming to promote innovation in education and educational research, providing high-level expertise, quality programs, projects and activities. Since 2010, the organization has focused its activities on supporting the implementation of new technologies in education and training, contributing to projects with national impact (such as iTeach). Within the project, the Institute is mainly responsible of the technical and pedagogical design of the learning paths on an integrative virtual platform. The development capitalises upon the experience in building a national portal for Open Educational Resources in Romania .