Take a look at a new model: LearnIT – a new approach into vocational education and training - Salpaus Further Education
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29.6.2017 12:50

Take a look at a new model: LearnIT – a new approach into vocational education and training

​A new training concept, LearnIT, especially designed for CNC education and training, takes first into account the companies’ needs instead of the traditional approach of vocational education and training that we are so accustomed to and can hardly think of any other ways: first to fill up the group and then announce the dates of a training session.

Although designed to serve companies within metal sector, CNC techniques especially, the concept is an excellent point of view to any sector or trade. Can we build a concept that lets the company and the trainee to decide when the training suits best the company's or the worker’s timetable?

Now it is all happening: CENFIM, a Vocational Training Centre for the Metallurgy and Metalworking Industry, in Lisbon, Portugal, has built a training environment that really turns around the traditional way of thinking and teaching. Instead of gathering students in the same room and expecting them all to show up at the exact same time most convenient to the vocational college, CENFIM has built a new training environment that lets the trainer decide when to learn, what to learn and, a little bit, how to learn.

Together with the partners from three European countries (Finland, Spain and Germany), CENFIM started to build a new learning environment that combines several functional areas, and in each one of them, interactive learning spots, kiosks with laptops, show racks with physical parts and sample models, placards with written or graphic information, and workbenches to practice skills and learn new things with hands on.

A knowledge data base was needed to connect all this into a one entity. It includes a course with 10 modules in the Moodle as well as applications for the trainer/teacher to monitor and manage the whole system.

The course in the Moodle is a basis for creating an individual learning path. The trainee can choose which of the modules he needs or wants to learn. He can book the machines and equipment or the learning spots in advance and choose the time that suits him or his employer the best. Just like you can book yourself any other kind of service on- line, a yoga class in a gym or a vehicle inspection for your car, for instance.

For a teacher this means a whole new way to teach and train. The role of the teacher varies from demonstrating and teaching to facilitating, tutoring, e-training, coaching, advising etc. It is undeniably a complex task.

The students are individuals with personal learning styles, prior skills and competences, personal goals and needs - just like they always have been. But this time, the teacher really has to take them all into account and address them all. 

In ancient Greek and two thousand years after, training has been based on the idea of a teacher being in the centre or front of the activities, and students around the teacher. Changing that posture and challenging the trainers to get outside of their comfort zone is the great challenge and achievement of this innovative project.

The LearnIT environment and concept has been created in a project LearnIT - Learning routes and tools for individual training co-funded by EU under the Erasmus + programme in 2014 – 2017. Salpaus is one of the participants of the project.

In Salpaus, we are going to apply the ideas developed in the LearnIt project when opening a whole new training environment for the technology trade in Vipusenkatu campus in Lahti at the end of this year.

About the profound idea of turning around the starting point; could it be possible in a VET institute that e.g. an apprenticeship trainee could come and update his vocational skills whenever it suits him or her, and the employer, best? And at his own pace? That requires letting go of all the old ways of thinking and teaching, but isn’t it just what the working life needs? And aren’t we here for the working life?

Take a look at the project website http://learnitproject.cenfim.pt/
or get in touch with us. A handbook of the project is going to be published in August 2017.


More information
Sannakaisa Raatikainen, development coordinator and
Jari Pöyhönen, education manager 

emails: firstname.surname@salpaus.fi

Photos and text Sannakaisa Raatikainen