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Session Overview
Paper Session 7B: Digitalisation and School
Friday, 04/Feb/2022:
1:45pm - 3:15pm

Session Chair: Alberto A. CATTANEO
Location: Room 2

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Digitized Organizational Development at Vocational Schools - Strengthening for the Future in Interaction between Multidimensional Actors


Institute for Work, Skills and Training of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

In the planned presentation, results of the project "Participation in the digitalized world of work - potentials of the vocational college for vocational qualification 4.0" will be presented, which show the importance of school leaders and teachers as multi-dimensional actors for the design of digitization processes in the context of organizational development at vocational schools. For the case-comparative analysis of qualitative expert interviews (n=31, with 48 interviewees) with school leaders and teachers from various disciplines and with different tasks and functions in eight vocational schools using content analysis according to Mayring (2015). Approaches of educational governance in combination with the "promoter model" originated from business administration constitute the theoretical framework. The results provides first findings about the design of digitization processes at vocational schools, under consideration of changed contextual conditions on macro, meso and micro level of the vocational education and training system due to the Corona pandemic. In order to manage the special challenges arising as a result of digitization, the individual vocational schools are systematizing the distribution of tasks and establishing team-based working groups, thus institutionalizing the self-direction of individual elements of vocational schools. It will be shown that teachers and school leaders, as multidimensional actors with different functions and areas of responsibility, are essentially responsible for shaping digitization processes at vocational schools and contribute to the success of digitized organizational development in the context of vocational (further) qualification. On the basis of the results, strategies for shaping digitization processes at eight analyzed vocational schools in the Ruhr region – under consideration of changing systemic, regional and economic contextual conditions - will be identified and opened for discussion regarding the further development of future-oriented vocational education and training.

Same, but different? Perspectives of School Management and Teachers on Digital Transformation in Vocational Schools in Switzerland

Andreas HARDER2, Martina RAUSEO1, Deborah GLASSEY-PREVIDOLI3, Alberto CATTANEO1, Stephan SCHUMANN2, Serge IMBODEN3, Chiara ANTONIETTI1, Francesca AMENDUNI1

1Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training, Switzerland; 2University of Konstanz, Germany; 3HES-SO Valais-Wallis, Switzerland

The ongoing Corona crisis has highlighted the importance of digitalization in educational organizations. The effects of this transformation process are not limited to the classroom level but extend into various areas of the school, e.g., equipment and technology, strategy and leadership, organization, employees, and culture. Against this background, we have investigated the status quo of the digital transformation in Swiss vocational schools from the perspective of both, school management members and teachers. For this endeavor, two surveys were conducted in the period from November 2019 to September 2020. In total, n = 202 school management members and n = 1'739 teachers from n = 62 common schools participated in the study. Although the main focus of the two surveys differed, a battery of identical items was used in both questionnaires in order to compare the results between both groups. Analyses indicate that certain dimensions are perceived differently by school management members and teachers. Furthermore, linear regression models show that different dimensions seem to be important assessing the status quo of digital transformation depending on the occupational status. The results emphasize the importance of communication between and inclusion of all school stakeholders regarding the digital transformation process.

Fostering vocational action competences through digital scenario-based learning environments: an exploratory study with pharmacy assistant apprentices

Christian GIANG1,2, Charles David SASPORTES1, Peter BÜHLMANN1, Hareem RAZA1, Lucas RAMIREZ1, Mirko MARRAS3, Tanja KÄSER1

1EPFL, Switzerland; 2SUPSI-DFA, Switzerland; 3University of Cagliari, Italy

Today’s highly technologized and ever-changing world of work, needs a workforce that is capable of dealing with new and sometimes unpredictable workplace situations. To better prepare apprentices in becoming self-determined workers, many vocational education and training (VET) systems have shifted their focus from merely teaching specialized subject content to imparting vocational action competences (berufliche Handlungskompetenzen in German). However, aligning the training at schools and workplaces still represents one of the main challenges for dual VET systems. Scenario-based learning (SBL) has been considered an effective approach to help learners contextualize their learning through realistic storylines and therefore represents a possibility to bring realistic workplace scenarios to the classroom. Especially in combination with the latest technological advances, SBL holds the potential to provide authentic opportunities to train vocational action competences. To assess this potential, this work presents the development and evaluation of a digital SBL environment allowing pharmacy assistant apprentices to train their action competences, with a particular emphasis on customer service. In classroom studies with 128 apprentices we analyzed the apprentices’ perceptions of the environment as well as the quality and level of depth of their suggested solutions. Our findings illustrate that the digital SBL was very much appreciated by the apprentices and most of them were able to identify the correct cause for the customer’s problem through the environment. However, only few were actually able to fully leverage the resources in the environment and provide a satisfactory consultation to the virtual customer. Consequently, future endeavors should consider how digital SBL environments need to be designed to also support apprentices in deeper levels of learning. This is crucial in order for such environments to add real pedagogical value to the development of vocational action competences.

Social Media in Vocational Education and Training Research – Insights from a Media Ethnography

Laura Getz, Hubert Ertl

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Germany

Researchers increasingly use social media platforms such as Twitter or ResearchGate to exchange research ideas, collect data or disseminate their research. Given the increasing use of social media in academia and its potential to reach wider academic communities, policy-makers and audiences, it is crucial to explore how vocational education and training (VET) researchers use social media and why they do so. Through ethnographic field research, using group discussions, participant observation and interviews, this research project explores how VET researchers use social media and how social media shape perceptions and practices of research communication. VET research is characterised by an increasing complexity and international connectedness and partly driven by the availability of digital research tools and accessibility of big data sets. The presentation will highlight first results from the ethnographic field research and conclude with a discussion of the potential implications of the preliminary findings of the study for VET research.

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