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Ammatilliset oppilaitokset, opettajat, oppilaitoksesta valmistuneet opiskelijat

Länsirannikon koulutus Oy WinNova, Finland, Jugend am Werk Steiermark GMBH, Austria, Formazione co&so network, Italy, E.N.T.E.R. GMBH, Austria, Ikaslan Bizkaia, Spain, Syntra West, Belgium, Cork Education and Training Board, Ireland
Tuuha Katri

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Digital tracking of VET graduates via auto-analytics to enhance the quality and sustainability of vocational and educational training programmes

Hankkeen tuotokset

DITOGA VET Graduate Tracking Strategy, DITOGA Mobile App, DITOGA Analytics Software

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All over Europe, VET centres are facing similar challenges, especially also when working with disadvantaged young learners in VET. Despite their efforts to provide high quality and practical trainings, graduates often find themselves in situations where the acquired knowledge is already outdated or not sufficient at the point of their graduation. This refers to hard skills, knowledge and competences but also to soft skills and attitudes where offer and demand are often not fully coherent. The reason for this mismatch can be found within the usual suspects: contemporary trends like individualisation, globalisation and digitalisation. The world is changing in such a quick pace, and VET centres find it difficult to keep up due to their mere nature as educational institutes. Without sufficient and regularly updated data, VET centres are barely able to align their training contents to the current needs of the vocational fields resulting in unsatisfied VET graduates who require additional trainings or may even change their field of work completely (Cedefop 2013). Luckily, the majority of graduates still manage to find an adequate job placement. But what is their secret? Where is the difference? Why are not all VET graduates equally successful?
People working in the field of vocational education and training already know for sure, that their graduates are a deeply heterogenic group varying in age, gender, socio-economic status and level of qualification. But to get to the real root of this discrepancy and fertilise the foundation of developing more efficient training content, a great amount of accurate and expressive data is needed. This data has to be provided by persons who have already graduated and are now experiencing the demands of their practical work field. The information needs to be communicated to the VET centres in a clear and timely manner so it can be used to update and improve the training programmes regularly.
Experience shows that people are not very fond of answering elaborated questionnaires and much less if they should do this on a regular basis, mainly because they feel interrogated. Paradoxically, people of all ages are more and more willing to share personal and sometimes even sensitive information voluntarily. On one hand they are motivated by social factors such as prestige and attention/admiration, resulting in sharing this information on social media channels where they expect others to react. On the other hand, documenting individual experiences and milestones is also motivated by internal motives, such as the feeling of accomplishment and conservation of memories. While this can also be observed via social media activities, the main trend nowadays is called autoanalytics or self-tracking. This tendency is most popular in fitness and health applications available for mobile devices such as tracking of sleeping routines, calorie intake or calorie consumption, and pulse rates. Nevertheless, this concept could be easily applied to tracking of VET graduates. The main
challenge is to get (young) people interested and keep them actively involved in sharing relevant information over a longer period.
One strategy that is proven to work (Wells 2015), is the gamification of the process, meaning the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. This could take the form of gathering items or fictional currency, levelling up, filling sets of collections or sometimes just getting rid of bright red notification signs that jump to the eye immediately. This principle uses a psychological pattern of humans; and especially young people are often driven by a desire to collect (e.g. badges of boyscouts, POKEMON, collecting cards/stickers), mainly paired with the urge to feel a sense of accomplishment. The act of gathering and filling a set of items/ filling a progress bar is often enough to activate our reward centre in the brain and making us feel good and sometimes even proud, no matter how small the accomplished task may be. Many companies and corporations are already using this principle and influencing customers by implementing this principle in their marketing strategies very successfully.
The DITOGA project is now planning to use both trends, auto-analytics and gamification, to collect the necessary data of their graduates* that allows to improve their training programmes according to current needs of the job market.