Technology plays an integral role in educational and training contexts worldwide. More and more German training providers are developing comprehensive quality content and web-based solutions, making use of innovative methods and emerging technologies. Several exemplary company cases show how on-site learning is supplemented by blended learning and e-learning, providing students and trainees with easy-to-use, intuitive and interactive learning environments.
With e-learning solutions learners are placed in an active role of exploring at their own pace. Most systems encourage collaboration with co-learners and instructors. Integrated adaptable query systems support continuous progress monitoring. The tools usually have a customizable design and are expandable with new functions. They are easily accessible, independent of time and place, available for mobile devices and integrated with social media. Learning with digital media can thus strengthen the already good reputation of German training offers worldwide, because it offers promising solutions to meet the demands of industry 4.0.
Industry of the future will be characterized by an unprecedented flood of data and by a highly complex networking of plant and company areas. This means, it will be more important than ever for employees to be knowledgeable about the structure of digital and fully automated production technologies if smooth operation of factories is to be ensured. Detailed knowledge of the set-up and programming of digital networks and competences in the inter-related fields of Electronics, Mechanics and IT will also be in demand. Digital training solutions are particularly eligible to convey these competences.
Training solution: Learning factory by Festo Didactic
The fully integrated learning factory of the German training provider Festo Didactic now enables people to be systematically prepared for work in digitalized and complex industrial environments. The overarching solution enables participants to gain live experience of all aspects of an automated work environment specially prepared for training purposes.
The learning factory makes it clear how production processes which normally run invisibly in the background interact with one another. This allows learners to prepare to deal with plant programming and data management and also facilitates further development and testing of software solutions. Learning at real production facilities is dangerous and expensive by comparison.
The new learning factory is an open and flexible solution which enables various skills to be acquired and expanded. Employers themselves are able to determine which specific competences individual staff should obtain and can also decide which support and knowledge services they need to learn to use.
The learning factory is only one example of the increasing role of innovative technologies in the training sector. More and more German providers of vocational training solutions develop high-quality training offers for learning with digital media, which are tailored to the specific demands of international customers.
Training solution: e-Learning programme by GSI
Not all learning solutions are exclusively web-based, though. More and more blended-learning solutions facilitate easily accessible, intuitively usable and interactive learning environments. One of these solutions is a distance-learning offer by the German training provider GSI.
Their staff has designed an e-learning programme that leads to the qualification of “International Welding Engineer“. It is complemented by training sessions on site and by simulations.
In training environments, simulations bring a whole range of benefits. They enable trainees to concentrate entirely on the manual skill forming the object of practice by eliminating the sources of error which may exert an influence in the workshop environment. Learners can focus entirely on their own behaviour during the working process, something which is crucial in terms of achieving a successful outcome. GSI uses a simulation device which has been specially designed to assist with gas-shielded welding, a technique which is particularly common in many regions worldwide. During the simulation, the device uses a coaching system to support the practical exercises being undertaken. It provides corrections and produces a comprehensive evaluation of every completed part. All tasks can be repeated an unlimited amount of times without consuming materials.
Training solution: Virtual classrooms by IBB
Most innovative learning systems encourage to cooperation with other learners and with trainers. Integrated and flexible dialogue systems support the continuous progress monitoring on the learning process. They can be used by various mobile devices and also connect with social media.
As one of the major German providers of virtual learning scenarios, the IBB now cooperates with the Austrian company Aspire Education GmbH. Its live-learning platform aspidoo.com is the first large-scale learning platform in Austria to offer learners a broad range of high quality online continuing vocational training programmes in so-called “virtual classrooms.“
A virtual classroom is able to accommodate all students and lecturers together with a whiteboard and a range of learning materials. Nevertheless, it only exists on an avatar picture of each participant. Participants have contact with their learning group and are able to speak online through a microphone, ask questions and present work results — just like in a normal face-to-face seminar. The lecturer guides the processes, leads discussions, organises small group work in “adjoining rooms”, initiates brainstorming sessions, records work outcomes and distributes documents. Additional supporting learning materials are made available on a separate learning platform. The scope of a teaching programme is based on the typical length of a course conducted on a face-to-face basis.
Learning solution: Mixed-reality technologies by imsimity
Furthermore, the gamification of learning content and its presentation in virtual scenarios offers a whole new kind of learning experience. Realistic simulations offer the opportunity to experience uncharted adventures like travelling through the universe and through the human body.
The German training provider imsimity offers solutions for the visualisation of complex learning content and processes. The company uses mixed reality technologies, including Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), which makes a wide range of phenomena easier to grasp and understand.
Virtual reality (VR) is a digital learning world generated with the aid of computer technology and is at the heart of the teaching and learning methods of the cyber classroom. What is special about this method is the fullest possible immersion of the user in a stereo 3D visualized reality. As many of the users’ senses as possible are exposed to a wide range of stimuli via its interfaces. Depth perception means that users feel fully integrated and part of the VR learning world in the cyber classroom.
Interactive use heightens the feeling of full integration. Users are able to move intuitively in the virtual reality, and can explore and change objects. Virtual Reality makes it possible to experience events in three dimensions—in reality this is unachievable as events might occur too quickly or be entirely invisible, for example air flows and magnetic fields.
Within Augmented Reality, additional information can be provided, processes can be analysed, and situations can be experienced interactively via the ingenious “augmentation” of reality. This increases understanding and contributes to a more permanent transfer of knowledge.
Together with the German Fire Protection Association (GFPA) GmbH, imsimity has used the cyber classroom to develop a fire protection information course in virtual reality for the Kuwait Fire Academy. This course simulates how people respond to a fire in enclosed spaces, such as apartments and schools, and makes it possible to provide virtual firefighting training using different fire extinguishing methods.
The examples underline that there is an enormous demand worldwide to find applicable stategies and instruments in oder to meet the challenges of industry 4.0. Learning with digital media opens up different pathways to attractive, sustainable and competitive vocational education and training.
Related Article: Digitalization and VET in Germany: Challenges and Approaches – Read More: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/digitalization-and-vet-in-germany-challenges-and-approaches/
iMOVE: Training – Made in Germany
iMOVE in the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training is the central network platform for the initiation of cooperation projects in the education and training industry. As the export initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), it provides access to German training providers for international stakeholders who value the successful German approach to training. Those seeking information are able to access services provided free of charge via the iMOVE website, which is available in a range of different languages. This includes access to the iMOVE provider database containing profiles and contact information of around 250 German training providers as well as the opportunity to post an individual request in the iMOVE B2B marketplace.
Guest Author | Silvia Niediek | Regional Manager for South Asia at iMOVE