A question that people often ask me is if I think that using mobile devices across the board in vocational education makes sense. My answer is always: “Certainly!“
The benefits are obvious: Digitisation changes the requirements for vocational education. In many companies, tablets are commonly used tools. Of course, it makes sense that apprentices get familiar with using them as soon as possible. Also, using tablets is an important step for developing media and IT skills. „But today’s apprentices are all digital natives“, you might say. That may be correct, but it doesn’t mean much in a professional context. There, exceptional gaming skills and the ability to type fast on a phone are of no use.
Does that mean that every vocational trainer should simply hand out tablets to their apprentices as quickly as possible? I can only say, “Certainly not“. First, the framework conditions must be right. But what belongs to this framework?
First, one has to decide what exactly the apprentices are supposed to do with their tablets. We need a concept. Simply digitising the old textbooks and making them available as PDFs for the tablets would definitely not be a concept.
Secondly, the training staff themselves must be trained in order to help and guide the apprentices appropriately. Just being able to use a tablet does not suffice. Knowledge in fields such as data protection, IT security and especially media didactics are essential.
At chemical park operator Currenta, located in Leverkusen, one has thought deeply about these and other aspects of the issue. Tablets have been used in vocational education there for some time. The new webcast we produced for the Federal Institute for Vocational Training (BIBB) shows how exactly Currenta uses tablets in vocational training, how the training staff has been prepared and what the apprentices think about it all.