Training personnel undergoing structural change – a driving force or barrier?

Friedrich Hubert Esser

Dear readers,

In these times of digitalisation, training is undergoing profound change. Above all else, it is training personnel who are determining the quality and speed of this change. New media is supporting the work of trainers more effectively than ever before, and across its entire breadth and depth – from the organisation of training via the design of teaching and learning processes through to the completion of training. This begins with contacting those interested in training via social networks and extends from the organisation of learning in different locations and at different times through to new forms of individual learning, guidance and support.

Exploiting the potential of digitalisation

BIBB investigations show, however, that training personnel are still significantly underutilising the opportunities of digital media from an organisational and didactic perspective. What is more, training personnel do not yet possess the required level of the media and IT competencies demanded in a world of work and business characterised by digitalisation. At the same time, digitalisation offers a great opportunity for making the dual system and vocational education and training more attractive, alongside the university entrance qualification and a degree. We have to use this opportunity! And this requires trainers in particular to step up to the mark.

While they have to familiarise themselves with the full range of digital media, starting from learning programs and platforms, via the use of social media through to individual tools and applications, they must also be able to assess how these can be integrated in company-based strategies and processes and which technological infrastructure fits the operational context. Trainers should also be able to evaluate the benefits of digital compared to analogue media and to critically judge the risks, restrictions and trends in development. This approach will enable appropriate media to be selected which supports both the training organisation as well as the teaching and learning processes.

But that is not enough. Over the course of digitalisation, training personnel must also reflect on their own self-concept. This is because digital media is changing the traditional way in which roles are allocated between teachers and learners. Self-learning processes must be initiated and moderated, cooperative forms of learning require openness and exchange on an equal footing, learning platforms contribute to making learning times and locations more flexible.

Action must be taken now!

What modern companies, but also young people, are increasingly demanding stands or falls by the competence of the trainers, thus making them the driving force towards, or barriers to, structural change.
The creation of competitive VET which is fit for the future cannot be accomplished using yesterday's tools and methods alone. Action is therefore needed now to create national initiatives for the future-oriented qualification of training personnel. Due to the urgency of what is required, appropriate provision should be implemented in the short term in order to start addressing this issue quickly. From a medium to long-term perspective, the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude (AEVO), the related framework curriculum, and the corresponding continuing education and training courses, must be taken into account or developed. This is also a task which needs to be addressed immediately!


 FRIEDRICH HUBERT ESSER, Prof. Dr., President of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Translation from the German original (published in BWP 3/2018): Martin Lee, Global SprachTeam, Berlin