Vyšší odborná škola publicistiky (VOŠP; College of Journalism and Media) has been running an international project focused on providing the digitalized tool for ECVET implementation. The tool (plugin/application) is designed to connect to the LMS the institution uses and simplify the process of ECVET inclusion by data transfer, multiple party access, modular system of units of learning outcome creation and handling and skill set creation support. Unlike the study programme and curriculum, the ECVET focuses on single skills and competences and their combination – much like the interest of current employers. By training, honing, approving and assessing individual skills the system allows all stakeholders to set up the tasks and demands the industry truly craves, and restructure gained skills into desired skill sets to meet the demand.
The system also allows the institution to analyse the learners’ previous experience and skills/knowledge/competence, acknowledge them and assess their level.
The employers’ inclusion is minimized into the initial input and check-box evaluation once the skills/competences have been demonstrated. No detailed explanation of the system is needed to prevent deterring effect.
The system encourages the students to employ their own e-portfolio where the skill sets (representing professions/specializations) can be described, grouped as desired, provided with evidence from the learner’s experience and represented by a badge (containing metadata) to be placed at the user’s discretion – CV, Linked-In profile, web, etc.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
It is to be mentioned beforehand that the project has currently entered its final stage but the verified impact is yet to be determined. The main aim of the project was to ease the ECVET implementation into VET education using traditionally used VLEs or LMSs. The project partners strongly believe that ECVET is a great tool to address the individual skill, competence and knowledge development regardless of their origin (formal, informal or non-formal). Furthermore ECVET allows for very detailed and targeted planning of work-based learning with swift and accurate task setting, verification and assessment. The challenge with ECVET inclusion lies with extended paperwork and administrative background as well as with the necessity to make teaching institution see eye to eye with the industry in terms of terminology, detail level of agenda etc. The digitalized version of the system should erase most of the issues and allow for the actual learning to take place.
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
The main agenda which ECVET always brings up is the system of evaluation and assessment. While the educational world is happy to introduce learning outcomes, skills, knowledge and competences into their agenda (it is used anyway) the employers are not interested in the terminology and even less in its inclusion and evaluation. The system which VOŠP developed introduces badges as a means to bridge that gap. The badges are composed of units of learning outcomes which schools work with but are defined as professions or qualifications which the industry understands and knows how to assess. And practice so far (with Český rozhlas, Radio Impuls, BBC and ITV) has shown that the system works to both sides' satisfaction.
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
In order to work ECVET needs co-operation of three parties - the institution, the employer and the student. This is very important because it clearly splits the responsibility of the outcome's success between all stakeholders and also presumes their interest and mutual understanding. Herein lies the problem, though, because the industry is not always interested in close co-operation with the schools, in case of media business, even more so. The adequate clearness of goals became a necessity for the schools to employ in the negotiations. Keep things easy and uncomplicated became the motto. Media are fast and impatient.
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
If an easy feedback method is introduced, the pedagogical aspects are not communicated (but included) with the industry, and clear goals and tasks are set the system is likely to be successful with the media schools and industry and used in sustainable way. The system is now being tested with the target group of a now-closed national project Pospolu which included VET institutions from plentiful professions. VOŠP is confident the system is easily applicable to any profession and with careful preparation it can even monitor and assess soft skills.
Replicability & Upscaling
What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?
In VOŠP findings the foreseeable risks lie in mistreatment of ECVET programme. ECVET is often used as a benchmark to make sure the students pass a certain level of skill, knowledge and/or competence during any given internship. It has, however, much broader use. It can monitor progress, soft-skills (attitude, drive etc.), it can experiment with new methods or steps in the creative/manufacturing process. This needs to be maintained if any replicability is to take place.