Practical Support for Teachers and Trainers Adapting to Online and Blended Learning in VET
Erasmus+ KA226 VET Strategic PartnershipTo switch effectively to online learning, three overarching requirements need to be fulfilled; access to the internet, the right technology, skills to use the technology. We have seen a rapid transition to online learning across the board, where professionals who might have been previously 'resistant' to using technology to support their teaching and learning, or lacked confidence to make the transition, have now been forced at pace to gain experience and expertise with a wide array of digital tools. To ensure that learning was disrupted as little as possible, educators had to quickly install, adopt and become experts with digital tools:
Online learning management systems, video conferencing tools and messaging platforms etc. just to make sure students could access course materials and communicate with teachers.
In many ways the pandemic and necessary safety measures have, and still are, forcing educators to 'flatten the learning curve' to the point where staff and learners should be more comfortable engaging with learning tools and online technologies. By managing the learning curve effectively, we could see a shift in educational culture, and the ability or willingness for educators to collaborate, becoming agile agents of the technological change. But is this the case across the sector?
The use of digital content in all levels of education was relatively uncommon before the Covid crisis. Only 20% of countries had digital learning resources in teaching, and only in some schools. Worldwide, a mere 10% of countries had robust digital learning capabilities offering some of the educational materials available outside of school. According to the World Bank, no country had a universal digital curriculum for teaching and learning. These numbers paint a picture of the efforts that governments and schools had to take to rapidly move to distance learning to ensure continuity of learning. (europeandataportal.eu/)
Widespread and affordable broadband access is certainly one of the means of promoting a knowledge-based and informed society, in 2019, the share of EU households with efficient internet access had risen to 90% from 50% a decade before, while 73% of the most commonly connected mobile devices were smart phones, laptops and tablet computers. However, across all of the Learning Curve partner countries there is still a digital divide, although it varies significantly country to country. Given the existing digital divide, new shifts in education approaches and expectations might even risk widening inequality even further. In preparatory research, all partner countries reported less than satisfactory access to the internet with devices 'dedicated solely for learning'.
The quality of online education doesn't simply depend on access to internet, it also requires the right technology, and the requisite skills to use and deploy them for learning. The digital divide could deepen if the effectiveness of education is directly linked to access to the latest technologies, and without special attention to the pedagogical theories and demands that underpin their use in the classroom. Learning Curve proposes a 'one stop shop' for educators to match theory with the new found technical demands and expectations, and take their next steps into delivering effective online learning and assessment that is critical in this uncertain time. Coordinator: Vita Education www.vita-education.com
Enoros Consulting CY http://www.enoros.com.cy/
Fundatia Professional RO www.professionalcentre.ro
Poatal3 ES www.postal3.es
ZNANIE BG https://znanie-bg.org/
RESULT: Learning Curve Practical Support Toolkit for Teachers and Trainers in VET https://learningcurveproject.site/