Title Innovation Laboratories for the quality assurance of vocational education and training
Project Number 2012-1-PL1-LEO05-27430
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text The major objective of the project was improve the quality of vocational education and training through the use of i-Labs in the didactic processes. This objective was reached by: setting up new laboratories in the partner countries; training of the staff of VET institutions in the use of i-Labs; implementation of the i-Labs in everyday practice of vocational education.
Employers expect from vocational schools graduates', among others, creativity and innovativeness, abilities to solve problems, team work, efficient use of information-communication technology tools. The experience proves that the innovative combination of the environment, IT and moderation techniques is an effective support for all kinds of team work. It contributes to create innovative problem solutions in the area of management, organisation and education. The implementation of i-Labs in the vocational education process will help their users to achieve skills, which are most required /needed at the present labour market from graduates looking for a job.
The major objective of the project was to improve the quality of vocational education and training through the use of i-Labs in the didactic processes. This objective was reached by: setting up new laboratories in the partner countries; training of the staff of VET institutions in the use of i-Labs; implementation of the i-Labs in everyday practice of vocational education.
The Partnership was composed of 6 institutions. The project was coordinated by the leader ITeE-PIB (PL), whose structure encompasses already an i-Lab. The leader was also a supplier of the unique software "Virtual Brainstorm" (VBS), which is planned to be used in the new i-Labs. The project partners: School Centre Ptuj (SI), SBG Dresden (DE), University of Rzeszów (PL), University Dunarea de Jos din Galati (RO) have a long experience in the implementation of vocational education processes on different levels. The Polish and Romanian partners were specially involved in theoretical and practical works concerning the use of IT in vocational education, including innovative technologies and tools. The Greek partner IDEC (EL) is well experienced institution in the field of monitoring and evaluation of the European projects.
As a result of the project, the teachers, trainers and managers of VET institutions achieved new competences in application of an innovative education technology (i-Lab).
Activities undertaken in the project, especially development and application of the original, innovative software supporting i-Lab sessions, had a significant impact on the increase of competences of VET teachers, trainers and VET institution managers in using information-communication technologies. The project contributed to improve the quality and the efficiency of vocational education through the implementation of innovative work group methods .
The case studies was also the outcome of the project which were described the use of innovation laboratories in new, so far unknown areas and constitute a vital contribution into the development of Innovation Laboratories Good Practice Guide. Through the creation of three new i-Labs, project contributed to the development of the International Net of i-Lab Users, which was a support for i-Lab sessions facilitators.
Many factors have the influence on the quality of education, among others: house-equipment base, including the equipment and the availability of specialist laboratories, school curricula, education programmes, teaching methods, processes of the management and the organization of the school. The i-Lab application in the process of educating contributed to the development of mentioned factors affecting the increase of the quality of education.
Moreover, the results of research carried out by The American Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the National Council for Social Studies (a map of 21st century social skills), European documents and outcomes of research done in the Institute for Sustainable Technologies – National Research Institute in Radom (Strategic project: Innovative Systems of Technical Support for Sustainable Development of Economy, Task: Training and Improvement of Innovation Economy Workers), show that first of all employers expect from graduates creativity and innovativeness, ability to solve problematic situations, team work skills, analysing and managing information, using digital media, efficiency in using information-communication technology tools.
The strength of innovation laboratories that we are going to develop in our project is a unique, proved in many situations, approach for innovative and creative thinking process. The innovation laboratories are geared towards supporting many kinds of team work aimed at seeking innovative solutions to problems appearing in various areas of human activity. It is possible thanks to applied moderation techniques and to unique specialised software used in i-Labs. Innovation laboratories develop in participants (in the case of our project these are vocational subject teachers and vocational schools students) those abilities that are most needed on modern labour market.
The major objective of the project was to improve the quality of vocational education and training through the use of i-Labs in the didactic processes. This aim was accomplished by achieving intermediate activities:
• transfer of the innovative solution (i-Lab) to EU countries (DE, SI, RO) and its adaptation to the new conditions of VET
• development of an original software supporting i-Lab sessions
• development of competences of employees of newly established Innovation Laboratories (VET teachers, trainers and VET institution managers) in the area of facilitation of i-Lab sessions and applying innovative computer software supporting sessions organisation.
• development of competences of students through pilot application of Innovation Laboratories in vocational education practice
• identification of new applications for Innovation Laboratories in vocational education and training (development of Good Practice Guide)
• development of the International Innovation Laboratories Users Net (www.ilab.eu.com) through including in the Net the laboratories established as a result of our project
The dissemination and aplication of Innovation Laboratories in vocational education and training contributed to the development of innovativeness of vocational education and training, the improvement of the access to these Laboratories and the inclusion in the education process of people facing social exclusion.
Information and Communication
program or curricula
The subject of the transfer was the Innovation Lab (i-Lab) concept implemented for the first time in the GB by the Royal Mail in Rugby in response to the need of addressing various problems in an innovative way as well as a follow-up of a universal trend promoting innovative thinking and creative methods of decision-making process fostering the improvement of effectiveness of meetings and team work.
The i-Lab is an inspiring, innovative solution designed in order to transfer the users from their everyday environment to the extraordinary environment contributing to creative thinking and problems solving. The i-Lab is an excellent support for any type of the team work.
The innovative idea of i-Lab assumes the co-existence and mutual interpenetration of three elements: environment, technology and moderation (facilitation) techniques.
The team work methodology in innovation labs is based on the wellknown brain storming process. The innovative character and the supremacy of solutions applied in i-Lab result from using specially designed computer software supporting the brain storming process.
For years i-Labs have been applied in educational activities in the Great Britain, Finland and Germany. An important step towards the promotion of the innovation laboratories idea was a Leonardo da Vinci pilot project UK/06/B/F/PP/162-564 European i-Lab Competence Development Programme (i-Lab1) (2006-2009) carried out with the participation of the two institution being involved in this project (ITeE-PIB and IDEC S.A.). As a result of this programme, the first i-Lab was established in Poland, whose idea and elements will be the subject of the transfer. A lot of case studies have been identified and described where i-Labs have been used while looking for solutions to problems related to the company management. The effectiveness of these cases which is emphasised each time is inducing us to take activity aimed at increasing the quality of education and vocational training course by using i-Lab in the education processes. It isn't using the possibility of the i-Lab applications because it could be used in the any sector.
The subject of the transfer was also the Innovation Laboratory - Good Practice Guide developed in the framework of the i-Lab1 project. GPG was actualized by possibilities of using i-Labs in the new areas. Three new languages versions (DE,SI,RO) were created. Polish and English version were actualised.