Project Number UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-675
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Country UK-United Kingdom
Marketing Text Using mobile technology to support VET learners at risk of becoming NEET, immigrant VET learners and learning mobility students.
mTransition provided VET learners with pastoral and academic support through an innovative learning mobile app. The app is an individual learning & development planning tool, incorporating social media functionality to enable a tutor and learner to negotiate then execute an individual learning plan (ILP). mTransition built on the achievements of an Interreg funded project (mCommunity 2011-2013) that piloted the use of mobile technology and remote tutoring to help NEET (Not in Education, Employment, Training) learners overcome common barriers, such as low motivation & engagement, to improve their qualifications & employability.
The aim of the 2 year project was to transfer the app into 3 other VET learning contexts targeting learners at risk of becoming NEET, mobility learners on work placement, and immigrant learners seeking to overcome barriers of language and integration. The project identified an opportunity to help prevent VET learners from becoming disengaged or unfocussed. Maintaining meaningful contact with learners whilst on placement and ensuring they record their reflections on experiences when at a distance is challenging.
The trialling of the apps in different VET contexts led to the decision to redevelop them into 3 separate apps that all integrate with the Moodle virtual learning environment. There is now an app for course content and delivery, an app for managing the individual learning plan and an app for synchronous messaging. The apps have been built in HTML5 so are now available on iOS, and Android platforms and are free for educational establishments to download and use. The three apps provide education establishments with three tools to manage and motivate learners wherever they are located.
The project was carried out by a consortium of experts from five countries (Belgium, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK) that included three VET educational institutions, dissemination and research organisations and an internationally recognised centre of excellence for ICT research. All partners had experience of transnational EU VET projects and perform key roles in their own countries in supporting the provision of lifelong learning initiatives. This expertise was used to adapt, implement and evaluate the free downloadable mobile app into the 3 new VET learning contexts and to develop a website containing a toolkit of support materials and best practice guides in various languages to facilitate EU wide understanding and adoption. The transfer was further enhanced through the establishment of a community of practice and various dissemination activities.
By giving learners the opportunity to define their ILP & to monitor and document progress against agreed targets through the use of mobile technology, VET providers were able to enrich the training provision, increase engagement, facilitate cooperation between VET providers, learners and companies.
Outline of project activity
Five consortium meetings have taken place throughout the project, at venues in each of the partner countries. All partners attended and established ways of working, roles and responsibilities, preferred communication channels and reviewed all work packages to ensure understanding across the board. The mCommunity app was also demonstrated and reviewed for the first time by all parties involved. Online monthly meetings were agreed and have taken place regularly since the start of the project. All meetings are recorded and posted on a cloud based shared portal. Partners join meetings remotely using GoTo Meeting conferencing software. Since the start of the project, five face-to-face meetings have taken place in the UK, Netherlands, Ireland and Italy. The partnership has worked very well and any technical issues have been supported and addressed through both face-to-face and remote training sessions. Most contact was maintained through the mTransition team portal where members posted comments; replied to discussions; uploaded project documentation; tracked project progress through a Gantt chart and scheduled calendar events. In addition to the portal, the project used the Oovoo instant messaging platform and telephone calls to stay in touch.
The first 6 months of the project were mostly focused on mobilisation, including the creation of a project website, the setup of the team portal & delivery partner training sessions. The project did experience some teething problems including underestimating the resources required to support learners; unforeseen IT infrastructure limitations within delivery partner organisations and the training required to fully implement the project. These issues were quickly raised and addressed through increased training & technical support and the recruitment of new project resource. Pilot activity work gained momentum in June-July 2014, and by September 2014, all delivery partners were in a position to start large scale rollout implementation. By the end of the project, 217 VET learners at risk had been engaged, with all data captured and evidenced both through the mobile app and through agreed systems and processes; 80 VET teachers were directly informed about the project; 1500 institutions were informed about the project through online dissemination activities; and the project ran two major dissemination workshops with audiences of around 150 delegates at the Euromobility conference in Brussels (2 and Sardinia respectively.
In the second year, large scale implementation focussed three delivery partners on targeting VET teachers and learners. Following beta testing in the autumn of 2014, Learners’ and teachers’ feedback resulted in the decision to redesign the app into three separate apps, one for content, one for the individual learning plan and one for messaging. These apps are now available free of charge to educational institutions anywhere in the EU via the iOS App store and the Android Play Store.
Open and distance learning
Access for disadvantaged
Human Health and Social Work Activities
Information and Communication
open and distance learning
The mTransition mobile apps are designed to help learners focus on their personal development and improve their knowledge and skills to enhance their qualifications and employability. The three apps are comprised:
1. An electronic individual learning planning tool (eILP);
2. A Moodle based course delivery tool allowing users to view and complete courses and assignments; and
3. An instant messaging and a social networking communication tool.
By using the apps, all parties involved in a work placement or training initiative cancommunicate and manage the learners’ experience. The learner is also able to update their progress against each element of their learning plan that means that the experience is fully interactive and they are more likely to remain engaged.