Friday, March 22, 2019

INAP - International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship 2019 DAY - 1 Morning

Notes taken. I will tidy and add links etc. when I get back to work in May J
The International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP) is holding its biannual conference at the University of Konstanz. Konstanz is a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Konstanz which is on the German / Swiss border. A small conference of just over 100 participants, mainly from Germany with small contingents from Switzerland, Estonia, Italy, China, Ireland, India, Austria, Australia and Canada.

The theme for this 8th conference is ‘Contemporary apprenticeship reforms and reconfigurations’.
Conference begins with welcome from the Conference committee chair, Professor Thomas Dessinger. Followed by welcomes from the vice-rector for research at Konstanz University, Professor Dirk Leuffen and Professor Philipp Gonon, President of the INAP board.

The first keynote is with Professor Lessa Wheelahan, now based at the University of Toronto, who presents on ‘The relationship between vocational education and the labour market in Australia and Canada – a comparative perspective’. Professor Wheelahan moved to Toronto 5 years ago and shifted there from an illustrious career in Melbourne. Presentation builds on 10 years of work in Australia and Canada. Question was ‘why are qualification in vocationally orientated tertiary education in Anglophone countries have weak links to occupations’. Most of explanations are not in vocational education’s role or employment and educational pathways but a consequence of structures of the labour market and the way employers use qualifications to select graduates to enter and continue. Tighter links important but governments do not do this due to philosophy of letting the market find its place. Presented on the similarities and differences between the two courntries; and understanding what each has done. One major difference is Canada does not have a federal system and each state ‘self-govern’. Obtaining national data is a challenge. VET has higher esteem in Canada when compared to many other Anglophone countries. Canada has VET as part of the higher ed. Sector, whereas with Australia TAFE is not HE. Similar issues – skills mismatches, weak VET in schools, pathways, and weak links between qualifications and work. Canada has a high number of people who have completed Diploma level type qualifications and in total has the second highest percentage (70% - Korea is slightly higher) of people 16 -64 with qualification. In Australia, the short cycle vocational programmes tend to be together with VET / with training the objective. In Ontario, short cycle is still Higher Ed / with emphasis on education.

Presented on varieties of capitalism. Liberal market economies use market to match graduate and jobs. Coordinated market economies used social partnerships. Tight links between ed and work in coordinated market economies, loose links in liberal market economies. Transition systems are important. Coordinated market economies – strong links to work, weaker connections with HE, value outcomes / employment logic. Liberal market – weak connections to work, signal ability – educational logic. Warning – employment or educational logic does not dictate curriculum and assessment. Northern Europe ‘employment logic’ apprenticeship system has strong ed. Component. Liberal market economies use qualifications as a sieve.
Proposed all qualifications should support entry to and progressions in the labour market; further study and lifelong learning; and social inclusion. In unregulated occupations, prepare students for a wider field of practice. ---- Many points here which need to be thought through in relation to the NZ Reform of Vocation Education.

The paper presentations begin and there are 4 streams. I present in the ‘teaching and learning’ stream and stay with the stream through to lunch.

I am first up and present on the findings from one of the eassessment for learning sub-projects – supporting the learning of the sociomaterial: Novices’ perspectives on virtual reality welding simulators. In summary, presented on the precepts of sociomateriality and its importance in trades teaching and learning. The pros and cons of VR welding simulators are discussed based on perspectives from novices. Important sociomaterial aspects of welding are not replicated on the simulators but the opportunities for feedback from learning analytics and accompanying peer learning effects are important positive contributors.

Next, Aine Doherty from the Institute of Technology, Sligo (Ireland) presents on ‘reflective learning is a two way street: using student feedback to improve teaching, learning and assessment in online apprenticeship’. Context is apprentices in the insurance industry completing a 3 year degree apprenticeship leading to a Honours Bachelor qualification. Students work 4 days and meet one day a week online using Adobe Connect. E-diaries were one aspect of reflective learning. Programme now in the third year. Student perspectives were collated and reported in the presentation. 300 word reflective essay every week / every other week in year 2, worth 20% of final mark. Online survey with just over 50% completion of first and second year students. Lowering requirement to a diary essay every other week assisted and student satisfaction improved. Good to see update of this programme which was presented at the last INAP conference.

Then, Dr. Silke Fischer, from the Swiss Federal Institute for VET, Switzerland, shares the principles for ‘The effectiveness of further teacher education (FTE) in Switzerland’. Outcomes from a small part of her thesis. To begin, introduced the VET Swiss system and the school intern further teacher education programme. FTE is a required part of Swiss teaching. VET teachers generally have a discipline specific degree and many teach only part-time. School-intern FTE is where the entire school staff are involved in further learning processes to improve teaching. Generally, a once a semester activity (one day) with expectation teachers will implement the approaches into their lessons. Topics (since 2005) include blended learning, school improvement, videos and numeracy deficits. Sample of 240 plus participated (almost 50%) with most having taught at least 9 years. Results indicate significant discrepancy between knowledge framing the topic between part-time (less) and full-time teachers. Effectiveness of FTE doubtful and lack of transfer in to practice. Topics often not strategically selected and organised.

The final presentation in this session is with Dr. Martin Berger, from the Department of VET, University of Teacher Education, Zurich, on ‘Teacher credibility at vocational school’. Based on his thesis. Defined teacher credibility as the good sense (subject credibility), good moral character (trustworthiness) and goodwill (care of students' learning) which is conferred by students. Image of the teacher, provides an effect of 'an image transfer mechanism (Kopperfield, 2007), helping students' learning through improved engagement to the subject. Quantitative study with VET students. Asked if in assessing the credibility of their teachers, do VET students distinguish between competence, trust and caring; do students assess the credibility of teachers of different subjects differently; and does teacher credibility have an effect on students' subjects perception. Sample of over 600 students between 16 - 21 across 41 occupations covering two subjects - language, communication and society (general education) and vocational subject. Used McCroskey and Teven (1999) three dimensional structural model of teacher's credibility. Extended with instrumental and affective dimensions as well. Found students assessed teacher credibility globally (simple heuristics) rather than separately. There was no difference between credibility of teachers across subjects. More important in general education than the vocational. VET have to cover all the bases of good sense, moral character and care to have effect. More important in general education than in vocational subject.