Monday, October 30, 2017

Is NZ ready for the impact of AI?

Here is an interesting article, from this morning's paper. The article provides the argument that NZ, compared to other countries, is well placed to meet the challenges posed to the future of work, through the advent of Artificial Intelligence.

One indicator, is the recent change of government here in NZ. The Labour party, in coalition / partnership with two other parties, NZ First and the Greens, formed the new government last week. The National party, which had governed for nine years, is in opposition. A turning point in the decision by NZers to support a change, was the growing disaffection with the outcomes of 'neo-liberalism'. There has been a growing inequality across NZ which many NZers, with an inherent pre-disposition to supporting the ideals of an egalitarian society, have found to be difficult to deal with.

The article proposes, like many others, the deployment of a UBI -universal basic income - to ameliorate the coming stress on the job market, through the introduction of AI into many types of work and jobs. The Labour party, at least, has been doing some work into understanding the impact of technology and AI on work - see their final report launched last year and summarised on this blog.

The more I read, the more I am in support of the notion that work will not perhaps disappear, but work will change. As argued in this series of articles, summarised recently, mundane and routine work activities may be replaced by intelligent agents, but the less routine and trouble shooting type work activities, will remain. So, large parts of some types of work will change.

In vocational education, the objective is still to prepare people for work. So perhaps, there will not be major impact on many of the occupations requiring long preparation to prepare novices for undertaking specialised work. What is required, is for academic, critical thinking and digital literacies  to be attained so that work with AI or automated 'intelligent agents' provides the enhanced productivity which is frequently sought.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

NZ VET research forum - DAY 2

Wellington turns on the wind yesterday afternoon and a blustery night followed. This morning, a cold Southerly brings light rain, so a good day to be indoors.

Day 2 begins with welcome from Dr. Stanley Frielick, Director of Ako Aoteoroa. Greetings and update on how change of govt. in NZ poses some opportunities for VET research to meet the challenges to the future of work. 

Morning keynote is with Distinguished Professor Paul Spooney who presents on the topic immigration and diversity: preparing for the future. Summarised demographics across the next 10 years, 2 out of 5 live in Auckland but most regional NZ in decline, Asian communities outnumber Maori, more people over 65 than under 15 and major shifts in nature of employment. Work will also be very different. Due to less young people, there is a challenge on future labour and skills supply. 40 to 50% of 2016 will not exist in 2026 but new jobs will emerge. 21st century workers may expect to be in 5 careers and 17 types of work. Immigration is the key source of skills, bringing in young and educated workers. Hyper diversity is the challenge to NZ social fabric. 

Then concurrent sessions begin.

I attend the presentation by Dr. Jenny Poskitt from Massey University on Degree Apprenticeship: is this the future for employer led industry partnerships in NZ? Detailed context in NZ and overseas, benefits and what does the NZ degree apprenticeship look like. Rationale to meet skills shortages in areas like engineering, asset management, IT caused by skills mismatch, ageing workforce etc. university education takes 3-4 years but graduates still require several years to become productive. Summarised the international landscape - Germany, USA, UK. Defined degree apprenticeship as a tripartite employer, provider and learner to combine high quality degrees with on the job and professional pathways. Collated the features as flexible delivery, assessments etc. aligned to work, learning is work and work is learning plus authentic learning with workplace mentor. Benefits are many (Antcliff, Baines and Gorb, 2016; Bravenboer, 2016; Gunderson and Krashibnsky, 2015: Jones, 2011). Reported on pilot funded by e2e to address skill shortage in asset management side of engineering. Described process for deriving the knowledge skills and behaviours required in the degree qualification. Emphasised the need to build relationships, listen to employer and be responsive. Recommended alternative names, mastership, sponsored degree etc. investigating tax incentives, creating structures, aligning policies e.g. learning pathways etc. ended with potential benefits and risks and tensions. 

Then at the next session, a presentation on similar lines in engineering from Brendan Mischewski from e2e on Micro credentials in engineering. In NZ quality services meet needs for millions of kiwis but innovation is not encouraged and the evidence is weak. Reviewed findings of productivity commission which challenged the status quo. Provided rationalisation for the need to have rapid and responsive qualification systems and completions. Detailed e2e response to meet NZ current and future engineering needs. Skills shortage at 6 and 7 which will relieve stress on level 8 engineers to meet challenges requiring innovation. Alternative credentials include work based learning, boot camps. MooCs, professional exams, adult and community learning and recognition of prior learning. Approaches include packages of learning within accredited ed,, activities outside, aspects and teaching and experiences, aimed to provide a bridge. Provided examples of micro credentials as Competenz micro learning, BCITO. Hop on hop off, NZ Dip. Ag.  Self driving vehicles etc. need to work on how to ensure quality and relevance, who benefits, how to leverage, and how to optimise performance. Detailed an initial model for microcredentials for engineering. Future, to developing and expert engineer. Also discussed current NZQA    Pilots -  and e2e ideas  -  rethinking NZDE, fire engineering stream, public works, sustainability bolt on, PD, pathways for Pasifika, and simplifying RPL.
A short plenary address with Philip Walker, principal advisor from Stats NZ follows. Phil presented on data in a changing world. Overview of the impact on industries business models. 5 trends include new behaviours, technologies, millennial workforce, mobility and globalisation. Now in a world of rapid and continual change where data my assist us to better understand our challenges. Used agriculture as an example of change. Drop in number of workforce but increase in parts of industry requiring R n D activity to cope with continual market shifts. So decrease in on farm worker but increase in analysts, irrigation specialists, consultants and researchers. Provided details of NZ integrated data set- IDS - (IDI and LBD) which bring together data collected by various government agencies. Longitudinal data provides journey of individuals (generalised) and cohorts. Provided details how to access data and recommendations on skills required to make the most of the data. Also provided information on other initiatives, the data leadership hub, data stewardship and the census. provided examples. 

After lunch, two sessions. Dana Taylor from IPU NZ with Becoming agents in their Vocational learning: English language learners self reflection throughput a workplace training course. Shared an action research project to find out how international students transform their identity through work experience (70 hours). Part of a level 5 tourism program. Provides situated learning but international or ELLs face linguistic, interactional, cognitive, instructional and organisational challenges. Scaffolds required to prepare students to deal with a different work culture, symbols and behaviours and obtain sociolinguistic and sociopragmatic confidence. Confidence required to deal with culture shock and workplace expectations, tutorials on cultural awareness, fluency and self-efficacy. Used short written survey to establish students progress towards meeting graduate outcomes. A good example of using an evidence base to ensure students meet learning outcomes. 

Then, a joint session starting with Mike Styles from the Primary ITO with his ongoing work on evaluating the effectiveness of support interventions for dyslexia learners in multiple learning environments. Stressed the need for people with dyslexia to be better supported. Reported on an Ako Aoteoroa National project which is 2/3 complete. Learners with dyslexia were supported using a package adapted from one used by the Primary ITO. Consists of screening to provide quality info. About their dyslexia. Support them to own their condition and info. To their employers, tutors, training advisors etc. also human and technological support. Reported interim findings. Dyslexia tend to either excel or languish. They have usual problems with literacy, limited short term memory, limits on sequencing skills, longer cognitive and physical processing speed and slower automacity. Positives include better spatial 3D skills, empathy, problem solving and ability to read people and creative / different thinkers. Recommendations include importance in supporting, informing and empowering people who are key supporters; technologies getting cheaper and more effective but require support to use and changes to behaviour; aid learners to share their strategies with their peers; dyslexia friendly resources has value for all learners; apps like dyslexia aid; use dyslexi font. 

Wrap up concludes the conference. Looking forward to next years conference in Sydney :)

NZ VET research forum - DAY 1

Notes taken at the annual NZ Vocational Education and Training research conference. Held in Wellington as usual and my annual opportunity to catch up with NZ VET researchers.

The conference opens with a whakatua and welcome from Josh Williams CE of the Industry Training Federation (ITF). Josh, in his usual style, summarised the intent of the conference and reminded the participants to keep their eyes / ears out any major announcements!

Professor Stephen Billett sets the pace with his keynote on Emerging goals for Vocational Education and responsive curriculum and pedagogic practices. Firstly, build his case, summarising the need to ensure we better understand pedagogy at work due to the ongoing pace of change taking place now in types of work and how work is in turn constituted. There is growing focus on job readiness, contextualisation to local needs, requirements to understand ‘difficult, work and need to have greater self directed learning and lifelong learning. Recommends, job readiness needs to also ensure learners have opportunities to learn different ways the occupation may be enacted. Educational goals include canonical knowledge and situational manifestations. Reiterated that expertise is situational. Defined how hard to learn knowledge, especially as work shifts from tactile to symbolic e.g. mechanical to CNC lathes. Through most of history, occupational learning has been through practice. 
Responsive curriculum and pedagogies assist through provision of authentic, purposeful workplace learning experiences; educational institution based experiences through simulations, story telling, projects, etc.; integrating workplace experiences - esp. before, during and after; post-work experience augmentation; learning of symbolic and conceptual knowledge; and promoting the development of active engagement by learners. 

After morning tea, the concurrent sessions begin.

I attend session with Sean Squires from Toi-Ohomai - Institute of Technology - Tauranga, who is head of Automotive Engineering, on designing and delivering Vocational training programs to meet the need of future workplaces. advocates the need to ensure learners are able to find, evaluate and apply knowledge rather than memorise information. Need to find out what industry needs. Provide students with tools to learn. Flexibility and innovation enables connectivity between learners, trainers and industry. Shift from text to digital and multimedia / multi modal. Trust between employer, trainer and apprenticeship important. Surmises that there is a need to have humans undertake teaching as AI and robots may not be able replicate the individuality of trades learning.

Then, a session with Karen Vaughan and Jo MacDonald on transfer of learning in apprentice development for health and community support work. Focused on helping apprentices attain reflective learning skills to enable workplace based learning to be effectively undertaken. Rationale for the work, changing nature of support work and beginning of a new apprenticeship programme. What was the value of adding an apprenticeship. 21 apprentices participated and they worked in aged care, intellectual physical therapy and case work with disadvantaged youth. Nature of support work includes high unpredictability with need to continually problem solve and reflect on practice, great job satisfaction, team work and the emotional labour. Defined near, further and far transfer of learning. Reported on how apprentices understood their learning and matched to near, further or far transfer. Also connected to and defined as per finding, Schon’s reflecting on / in action. How and when reflection took place and what did apprentices do with the results of their reflective learning. Key finding, changes are personal and professional, guided by underlying principles, there are flexible interactions with clients. Businesses need have confidence for apprentices, client and business, what happens before and after training, challenges are presented by the nature of work, training arrangements and organisational climate and affordances. 

The after lunch keynote is with Dr. Craig Fowler CEO from the Australian NCVER. He presents on from measuring to interpreting: progress in visualisation, analytics and research to inform the Australian VET system. Began with overview on NCVER objectives, funding and purpose. Presented vision and mission of the new NCVER strategic plan from 2017 to 2020. Summarised complexities of the federal system on collection of data and the data products produced. Introduced the new tools for dissemination of data through digital visualisation. Discussed in greater depth the challenges for analysis and advantages presented by data linkage across other government databases. Provided example of data mining of job advertising to work out if currency and validity of training packages. Need to try to collect regularly, skills performed and skills identified as lacking from a job, so individuals, trainers and policy makers better informed. 

**Announcement made of next NZVET research forum to be held with the annual NCVER no frills conference in Sydney from 15 to 17 August 2018. **

Concurrent sessions carry through the afternoon.

I present details on the various sub projects from the eassessment project. This time, more details on each actual sub- project. The common threads are to match the context of learning with the affordances of technology to enable the feedback process to be effective. Learners need to learn how to understand feedback and leverage of it. Tutors need to be familiar with technology affordances to maximise application. Technology needs to be matched to learning goals and context of discipline / organisation. 

Then, Graeme Couper presents on an integrated approach- holistic assessment of NZ dairy farm trainees. Started with background and rationale. Summary of a study towards Masters thesis in Education. Post Troq, more holistic approach possible to bring together theory and practice, aligned to grad outcomes, less assessing and looking into other ways to assess knowledge in practical context. Detailed research design and questions. Interviews recorded on smart pen. Found better integration between theory and practice, more flexible, active and engaged learning, real world evidence used , active assessment interaction between those involved, greater satisfaction and enjoyment of process, and some practical challenges in the change.  Summarised implications towards approaches towards applying knowledge to practice, authentic and robust assessment, and an opportunity to revisit the con pet of competence.

Last session with Averil Coxhead, Jean Parkinson and Falakiko Tu’amoheloa from Victoria University on bilingual approaches to technical trades vocabulary in Tongan and English. Presented on one aspect of the Ako Aoteoroa National fund - learning the language of the trade- project. Began with overview of the wider project objectives and where the study presented fits. Summarised the rationale for the project, why study trades language which has just as demanding a vocabulary as university level learning. Tongan lists derived from word lists for carpentry, plumbing and engineering. 30% technical vocabulary is in the written language but 10% in spoken in the workshops. Seems to be mismatch in words in the glossary between words in glossary and words in the textbook. Detailed difficulties in translating vocabulary. The Pasifika approach to research (Talanoa) to carry out the translations was detailed. Learners need to know there are technical words in Tongan, some are Tonganised and the ones without equivalents require rules to derive. Implications also presented. 

As usual, a busy day and I was unable to be at several sessions due to clashes in the programme. Evening networking continued to allow for catch up with ITO and ITP people with an interest in and supportive of VET research. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top 200 tools for learning - Jane Hart's collation for 2017

The annual top 200 tools for learning now available. As usual, a good resource for educators of the types of digital tools available to assist with learning. There is a brief analysis  with details of the participants who provided the data and this year's shifts.

On my part, I use this yearly post to update myself on the various tools available. Especially to check out the ones I have not encountered and to evaluate them for relevance to the learning needs of the various programmes at Ara.

Familiar and 'tried and true' tools make up the first 50 on the list. The first 'new' entry arrives at 55 with Typeform, a forms and survey tool. I will try this out the next time I need to do a short survey and compare it to my usual go to survey tool - Survey Monkey.

Most of the new entries appear after 100. The ones I will check out are Wisemapping for mindmapping, tableau for interactive data visualisation (free trial but payment beyond),  Quizizz a free quizz generator, smartup for microlearning and ENTiTi (paid app) for generating AR and VR content.

Some familiar names have now come up into the rankings - including Pebblepad for eportfolios, office lens and google keep.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

INAP conference 2017 DAY 2

iNAP day 2

Begins with keynote by Professor Dr. Michael Gessler from the Institute of Training in Germany,  on collaboration between companies and schools in the German dual Apprenticeship system. Began with overview as to the importance of nomenclature. VET should use its own structure so it is now always seen as a lesser alternative to university. Higher VET should have its own way of accreditation. Summarised the various ways to define Apprenticeship: informal, time served, competence based, standards based, dual sequential, dual alternance, dual integration, trial alternance. Provided history of European apprenticeship to unpack the reasons for the many ways apprenticeship is structured and the evolution of the dual system which began in Germany in 1964. Dual system relies on cooperation between industry and the vocational school. However, cooperation has never been prevalent and relationship between school and industry has been industry holding more power. Research has focussed on outcomes I.e. Assessments but important to improve the process of training instead. Shared current work on codifying the concept of collaboration. Continuum between coordination, cooperation and co construction. Details in International journal for research in VET vol 4, issue 2 for article. 

Workshop streams begin and I attend the stream on Apprenticeship and universities.

Dr. Michael Barrett, James Eustace and team from IT Sligo and SOLAs, on lessons learned from the implementation of Ireland's first degree level Apprenticeships using the BA (Hons) (level 8) in Insurance Practice. Overview of Irish context, rationale for the new apprenticeship and the details of implementation. Plans to increase number of 'new' apprenticeships, which are not craft based, to increase range of industries and range of occupations and range of learners beyond traditional profiles. So, industry led, at levels 5 to 10, 2 to 4 years and flexible on line delivery to support mostly workplace based learning. For the insurance practice, students have one day at work to be participating in the online classes. Programme runs across 3 semesters a year, with one semester over the traditional summer 'break'. Detailed how the collaboration across insurance institute, employers, education provider and apprentices. National governance and the social partners' involvement are key to the programme's development and continuance. Also relationships with industry, employers, government agencies looking after apprenticeships and providers. 

Yuen Sui Ping on her current PhD study at the University of Siegen, on Measuring experience-knowledge as a factor for 'industry 4.0' (industrial internet of things). Detailed expert systems, need for explicit and tacit knowledge and overview of current research. Rationale for the need of new types of skills which are interdisciplinary, high level cognitive and relational. Current project seeks to find out what constitutes human knowledge and what human cognitive processes cannot be replaced. reiterated Burch four stage model of competence from novice to expert and mastery. Explicit knowledge is describable and tacit is difficult to capture, usually intuition, common sense etc. method is to have 20 candidates who are novices to expert to perform a set tasks, 3 times on 3 different days. Task completion is observed, timed, and the candidate is asked to verbalise the task.  

After lunch, a plenary panel discussion led by Diana Jones on developments in Latin America (Maria Victoria Fazio), England (Thomas Bewick), Germany (Michael Gessler) and Continental Europe (Antje Barabasch). 
Mario Victoria Fazio is from the Inter American Development Bank with Apprenticeships in the 21st century. Set up the context whereby there is high unemployment, difficult school to work transitions, there is a technical and socio emotional skills gap and there is low productivity in firms. Solutions tend to be short term. Apprenticeship seen to be better due to longer term commitment. Defined apprenticeship as requiring contract, structured training, on and off job training and ends with certification. Not all of these present in LA countries and systems are very small. Ended up with a toolkit of 10 core elements to support implementation of apprenticeship. Align with country strategy, engage employers, set structure, fund and incentivise, develop curricula, deliver, assess, certify, promote and ensure quality. Shared case study on setting up new programme in Bahamas. 

Tom Bewick, President of the Transalantic Apprenticeship exchange forum, shared experiences on the development of apprenticeship from scratch in England. Provided overview of last decade in England including large increase in apprenticeship numbers. Case study of creative industries sector. At beginning,  no tradition of apprenticeship. Began with development of creative arts pathways to help understand industry skill needs, test different approaches and make apprenticeship something special. 

Antje Barabasch shared the European experience. Detailed one of the first projects completed by the European Alliance for Apprenticeship. Looked in the governance policies of several countries Spain, Portugal, Latvia etc. Spain expressed interest in setting up experience. Italy investigating options. Portugal and Latvia has few apprentices mainly school based. Sweden working on improving of current system but has developed an apprenticeship for adults. 

Michael Gessler representing the European consortium of VET researchers, presented a quick review of the various ways Apprenticeship is constituted. Summarised 2015 Riga agreement for VET. 

Discussion followed around:
Need to define what is apprenticeship? YES. and panel members provided rationale and requirements.
What kinds of assessment matrix should be adopted? Check Onefile, a fully online system for employers and apprentices, which connects competency standards to evidence, used in England. European approach is to ensure teachers provided with good understanding of role of assessments and quality standards. Assessment is a key only if you don't trust the system. A good system should support assessments for feedback, not just for certifications. 

Last round of workshops focused on trends and patterns across countries.
I attend the following:

Bai Bin on a qualitative research of Apprenticeship competency training in school based Master studio. Cooperation between school and workplace does not work well, therefore difficult to find good workplaces for apprentices. Introduced concept of master studios, as the employment of expert practitioners in school based workshops to teach. A way to provide model practice to novices. Masters are still working in industry and come into studio at selected times to demonstrate and teach. Study on what tasks should be selected, the learning scenario and curriculum. Interviewed masters and students to find out their perceptions. Also collected evidence from studio observations and blogs. Important are work task selection, ill defined working tasks, complex scenarios and the organisation of the work. Also Apprentices learn work process, the teaching style and characteristics of master is important and need to integrate learning at school to master studio sessions.

Liu Yuting with a qualitative research on cultivation of Apprenticeship in traditional arts and crafts. Presented background and rationale. Important to retain traditional crafts. Exampled by carved lacquer craft which has a 1,400 years history but only small number of master practitioners. Long engagement with the work and learning through deliberate practice required to learn the complex skill. Interviewed practitioner and analysed others via video, journals on craft practice. Explained various skill components used in carving. Established master took 1 1/2 years to learn skills and then 2 hours a day across 20 years to refine. Skills learnt through imitation of master, routine training and socio cultural learning. Draws up characteristics of deliberate practice as time, personalised learning, reflection, high goals, feedback opportunities.  

All in a good opportunity to catch up on developments in various other countries. 

International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship-conference 2017 - DAY 1

In Washington DC for the biannual International Network of Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP) conference. The theme is Modern Apprenticeship: widening their scopes, sustaining their quality. The conference is held at the US Bureau of Statistics and organised by the American Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship, Siemens Foundation, Urban Institute and the Swiss Embassy. An opening reception is held on the evening of 1/10. As always, good to meet familiar faces and meet new researchers. 

The opening session is chaired by Robert I. Lerman. Greetings and opening remarks come from Professor Philipp Gonon.

First keynote is with Dr. Omar Arias from the World Bank, who speaks on the topic - Skills policies in a fast-changing world of work. Provided a high level overview, of relevance to Apprenticeships.Covered 3 mega trends - globalisation, shifting trade patterns and demographic shifts. Implications for skills demand and follow on to skills policies and programs. Mega trends exponential change increased by technological (ICT) breakthroughs. Brings costs of processes down, income from manufacturing employment has peaked and a concern for developing countries as they now are unable to raise national productivity and wages. Increasing urbanisation increases need for Services, shifting skills from technical to social / relational. So, increase in high skilled occupations with intensive non routine cognitive and interpersonal skills and decrease in low skilled occupations with non routine manual skills. Middle skills with intensive routine cognitive and manual skills especially challenged. Therefore, multiplicity of skills required including basic cognitive, social emotional and technical skills. Recommends training systems are market / employer driven, tailor needs to clientele / learner population, adopt task based approach to training, have mainstream active learning practices e.g. Apprenticeship, internships etc. and be results and evidence based to make decision. 

Workshops then begin. The first has 3 streams. I attend the stream on Apprenticeship and universities: substitutes or complements.

First up, Thomas Deissinger from the University of Konstanz in Germany, on VET and universities in the German context - substitutes or complements? A problem analysis. Provided an overview of the German VET context, then the structural relationships between Vocational and academic and discussion. Explained how the dual system (Apprenticeship) works. In essence, allows for students to move from Vocational to work or Vocational to entry into the academic. Slight shift in numbers over last decade with an increase in higher ed. 2.8 million in 2015 and 2.3 million in dual and full time VET. Summarised the challenges to try to balance employers demands for high quality entrants and young people's expectations for occupations with high wages and opportunities. Introduced the concept of vocational academies or dual universities which are an option post upper secondary education which also includes universities, polytechnics or applied universities and university of education. 4 meanings of tertairisation of VET - Vocational full time schools, hybrid qualifications, new Batchelor courses in HE and HE Institutes copying the VET dual model. Dual universities often envisaged as a 'premium Apprenticeship '.  

Followed by, Warren Guest from Holmesglen TAFE completing his studies in conjunction with Mike Brown at La Trobe University in Melbourne on  - Pastoral care within a college setting: customising individual Apprenticeship support towards lifting participation and completion rates. Detailed study carried out to increase apprenticeship completion. Started with an overview of the Australian system for the international audience. Rationalised project objectives. Piloted a centre to support apprenticeship (ASC) offering liaison between the various agencies and support networks, players. 183 case studies examined  and interviewed 6 ASC staff to find out what it was about ASC works best. Support from ASC included elements of pastoral care usually solved by referrals to other agencies,  mentoring was to assist with advice as to what to do after Apprenticeship, assistance with academic skills and financial assistance. Vocational background of ASC deemed to be major advantage in helping to resolve issues and assist with eventual completion. 

After lunch, the second round of workshop run. I stay in the workshop stream I present in. The theme is occupational standards and assessing competence.

First up, Douglas Haynes and team from the Institute of Technology in Dublin on Innovative Assessment and its implication for Apprenticeship. Changed assessment type in one module. Provided background of the development of core practical skills using project based learning. Objective to shift summative assessment to being more transparent and collaborative. Students self assessed their own work then peer assessed to negotiate final mark. Context in electronic engineering. Wanted to improve student and teacher relationship, improve feedback, improve clarity of assessment, improve self evaluation and assessment skills, and increase student confidence. Found better student and teacher relationship, assessments were clearer, self evaluation and confidence similar. feedback valued more in traditional assessments which may be because of students were in first year and more dependent on teacher judgement. 

I present examples and interim findings from our eassessment for learning project. Revolving around the affordances of efeedback, range of feedback and learning possibilities and need to ensure students and tutors confidence not only in digital literacy but also in learning through using digital tools and platforms. 

Then Professor Ursel Hauschildt from University of Bremen, working with Helen Brown, with competence measurement and development in South Africa: exploring the determinants heterogeneity. Reports on major conclusions of data analysis on COMET. Provided statistics on number of test takers, their trades, genders and completion rates. Explained how competency graphs are constituted. Reported on learners' perceptions on being tested. Despite many learners unable to complete tasks, most supported the tests, they were interested and motivated and enjoyed the challenging test. Discussed the wide range of results coming from the 12 sites and the challenges presented by the SA contexts. Teacher tests reveal wide gap between top and bottom teachers and will need to be addressed to assist forward movement,

Followed by Professor Ralph Dreher from the University of Zeeland, on work process oriented content of VET - a concept facing the development of industry 4. Worked on understanding industry's perspective on what is the future of industry in the context of the internet of things? Provided examples of totally automatic systems, replacing skilled workers. High qualifications work now has changed to becoming the optimisers - requiring knowledge of production process and programming knowledge. Therefore, need to combine the vocational with the academic. Framed using curriculum focused on higher skills (Spottl / Dreher, 2009) - moving from craftsmanship to industrialisation and automation with increase from imitation to science, action and design orientation. From being able to do to understanding and reflection. From unconscious incompetence to unconcious competence. Need to shift teachers as well. And there is the challenge of trying to understand how to understand unconscious competence. How to develop tacit knowledge, giving the possibility to verbalise and codify tacit knowledge.

Last stream of workshops and I attend the stream on Innovative teaching and learning.

Dr. John Gaal presents on tweaking success: developing a pre-Apprenticeship program for at risk high school students. Provided US background and present opportunities to encourage apprenticeship in Missouri. Case studies on Bayless Floor Layers mAp focused on bringing apprenticeship into the secondary school system, Ferg-Flor advanced manufacturing based in 6 states, BUD lite to bring women and minorities into construction trades.  Detailed evolution, development and logistical plans with the original Bayless programme since 2004 and scaling to other states. Summarised learnings as identify best practice, focus on something workable first, do your research, turn back if it does not work, and establish trusting relationships. 

Then, Aine Doherty from the Institute of Technology at Sligo, Ireland, on using reflective online diary entry to enhance teaching and learning in online Apprenticeship: pedagogical perspectives. The three year programme BA in insurance practice through Apprenticeship. One day a week online learning using Adobe Connect and Moodle. standard BA curriculum followed and third semester over the summer is on the insurance specific learning. Summarised the challenges and recommendations on experiences as online teachers. Connected reflective practice to students own learning, analysed students postings to improve teaching approaches and enable more holistic assessments (diaries worth 20% for summative assessment). 

Bettina Siecke from the University of Applied Science in Düsseldorf presents on heterogeneity as a challenge in assistant nurse training: which strategies do teachers use? Introduced the topic and context on the German health sector. Skill shortage due to aging population requires a broadening of skill and easing entry in assistant nursing - into dual Apprenticeship and through full time Vocational schools and schools of health and social sector. Regular nurse training system summarised. Comparatively, assistant nurse training is for 1 -2 years and content and learner profile is more diverse. Small study with 4 interviews across 5 teachers. Reported on results.  

The conference then travels across to the Swiss Embassy for more presentations and conference dinner. 

We begin the evening with a welcome from Dr. Simon Marti head of science, technology and higher education from the Swiss Embassy. Provides an overview of Swiss and US cooperation on Apprenticeship along with context, system and funding on apprenticeship. 

Professor. Philipp Gonon from the University of Zurich provides an overview on recent trends in Switzerland: skills policies in a fast changing world of work. Presented on expansion, quality and hybridisation through a longitudinal, historical report on the longevity of the Swiss VET system. 

Dr. Robert Lerman follows with the trends in the U.S. Apprenticeship. discussed the different US system where apprenticeship numbers are low, when compared to other similar countries like U.K., Australia and Canada. Presented on some of the multiple reasons for this. Need to recognise more than just academic skills to include occupational and employability skills. Recent and present governments support expansion of apprenticeship. Need 9 elements to sustain apprenticeship, effective branding, incentivise to set up apprenticeship, develop credible occupational standards, make Apprenticeship easy to create, funding for off job classes and quality education, counselling, screening and support of apprentices, certification body to issue credentials and research, credible assessments and train the trainers. Proposed how some of these elements can be achieved. 

Brent Parton deputy director of centre for education and skills - New America, presents on US Youth Apprenticeship and Colorado startup. Provided quick overview of New America and its vision and mission. Presented study on why youth apprenticeship has not become mainstream in US. Included case study on initiative in Colorado. Found public open to Apprenticeship but systems are fragmented and not well known. However, need to keep at it has many advantages for apprenticeship. Presented examples although most relatively small and much still needs to be done regarding support systems and policies. 

Each provides their perspective. Dinner is pizza from A wood fired oven on the Embassy grounds.

A busy, productive but long day. Good networking with a range of researchers working on similar challenges.