Title E-Learning and Practical Training of Mechatronics and Alternative Technologies in Industrial Community (E-PRAGMATIC)
Project Number 510586-LLP-1-2010-SI-LEONARDO-LNW
Project Type Networks
Country EU-Centralised Projects
E-PRAGMATIC network is an association of 13 regular and 7 associated partners from 9 countries. The network’s main goal is to modernize mechatronics/engineering vocational training of professionals from industry, by enhancing in-company training methods.
Modern educational methods and ICT technologies are used for realisation of distance training. High quality teaching materials and remote experiments/workstations are available within learning portal. The learning modules offer basic knowledge, specialised knowledge and the knowledge from alternative technologies.
In E-PRAGMATIC Community of professionals, the knowledge, information and expertise is shared for improving cooperation between the academia and industry.
Learning portal with education resources and forums: http://learning.e-pragmatic.eu. Generic user account for login: User: epragmatic, Password: epragmatic.
E-PRAGMATIC network will enhance existing or establish new in-company training in the companies, from electro-mechanical respectively mechatronics field. The training will enable the employees, apprentices and trainees from the industry to acquire new professional skills and, consequently, to enhance their job performance. The training will be specially oriented toward older professionals, who, because of the fast technological progress, need to acquire new knowledge to be able to cope with increasing pretentiousness of their work.
Within a multifunctional and multilingual learning portal, a number of high quality practically oriented learning modules, with the remote access to training devices and the remote workplaces, is prepared. The modules will deliver basic and advanced mechatronics/engineering knowledge, as well as knowledge related to alternative technologies such as photovoltaics and hybrid drives. At least 18 training modules will be available and two thirds of them will directly address the needs of industrial partners. All modules will be available in English and in the native languages of the module’s author. See preliminary list of the modules under 'product information'. The training will be executed completely via internet, therefore it will be time and place dependent, which especially suits the needs of employed professionals. Each training participant will be able to set his own training program by choosing any of the available modules. The pilot training, with at least 100 participants, will be carried out. Further, the training of the future teaching instructors from the industrial partners will be delivered.
E-PRAGMATIC network will operate on two levels. The closest cooperation will be established between the working pairs of partners from the same country, which will be established in Austria, the Nederland, Poland, Slovenia and also in Switzerland (by two associated partners). Each working pair is composed of one educational institution and one industrial partner. Partner from the educational institution will develop two training modules, specially suited to the needs of his working pair partner.
The second level of cooperation will be international in E-PRAGMATIC Community of professionals. Within the learning portal, a provided connectivity to the social networks will facilitate development of the community over the borders of the learning portal.
The European researches have shown that technological ‘hybridisation’, where electronics and mechanics are joined in the new interdisciplinary field mechatronics, is between the structural drivers of change in the electro-mechanical industry (EU report: New Skills and New Jobs, Skills in Electromechanical Engineering Sector, April 2009). However, a market demand, in the most European countries, exceeds the number of formally educated professionals. As a consequence, the jobs that would call for experts in mechatronics, are often occupied by the experts in the mechanical or electrical engineering, who do not have the appropriate knowledge of mechatronics.
Another important challenge in the European labour market is the education of adult professionals, especially the older ones, who are employed in those fields with a fast technological progress. Data shows, that the percentage of labour force with a medium qualification level until 2020, can increase for 36 % for the age group 55-59 and even for 62 % for the age group 60-64 (CEDEFOP, Future skills supply in Europe, Medium-term forecast up to 2020). Older workforce will need an additional education to keep up with the increasing demands of their jobs. However, the participation of adults in the education/training has reached the peak in 2005, and slightly decreased to 9.6 % between 2005 and 2008. As a consequence, it seems that the EU 2010 target, of 12.5 % of participation of the adult working force in the education and training, will not be achieved (CEDEFOP as above). This is especially the case in Slovenia, Austria and in Spain, where the participation rate in the job related non-formal education, for age group 55-64, is much below the EU average (49.9 %, 58.3 %, 56.9 % versus the average 70.7 %).
On the other side, the statistical data (EUROSTAT, Education and training) show that as much as 38 % of EU employers provide a non-formal education to their employees, mostly in the form of in-company training. Such in-company training can therefore be an efficient method to transfer mechatronics knowledge from the educational institution directly to the employed professionals in industry. However, another statistical data reveals some problems. Not all employees participate in the in-company training, even when it is provided. 40 % of non-participants have stated that they did not have time because of family responsibilities and 39 % stated that the training conflicted with their work schedule. Similar situation was also confirmed in the direct interviews with some E-PRAGMATIC network’s members from industry. It was reported in the interviews, that the in-house training is mostly not efficient enough, in relation to the content, the time and the cost/benefit ratio, or simply that such training does not exist at all.
The modern, distance E-learning methods, where the complete training is executed via internet, can efficiently serve for the training of the professionals from the industry and efficiently solve above described problems. Since such distance training is not time and place dependent, it can be easier to fit them into the schedule of employed professionals. The efficiency of this approach, for employed professionals, was already tested and proven within the Leonardo da Vinci MERLAB project (LLP-LdV-TOI-2007-SI-16). As part of the project, the professionals from Slovenian industry were educated on the basics of mechatronics. The training was offered on the eCampus learning portal, which included four learning modules with remote experiments. The training yielded very good results and completely fulfilled all goals. E-PRAGMATIC will improve and extend this concept to seven European countries.
E-PRAGMATIC project aims are:
(1) Preparation of the needs analysis reports: The needs concerning the knowledge and skill in mechatronics and related engineering fields will be determined in a number of enterprises and associations of enterprises in seven European countries (six EU countries and Switzerland).
(2) Development of the multimedia, interactive e-learning contents: At least 18 learning modules, with practical tasks and/or remote experiments, will be developed and arranged into the modern interactive multimedia e-materials by using the state-of-the-art ICT technology.
(3) Implementation of the multi language e-learning portal in order to: (a) deliver e-materials and tools for distance training with remote experiments/remote workstations; (b) provide the space for the E-PRAGMATIC Community of professionals; (c) to facilitate connectivity to the external tools and the networks, including social networks (Facebook, Twitter,..).
(4) Pilot training, with at least 100 participants, will be delivered. Each training participant will be able to choose between all available modules and set hers/his individual training program. The training of teaching instructors will also be conducted.
(5) E-PRAGMATIC Community of professionals: Open international Community will be integrated with the learning portal in order to enhance the learning and to promote cooperation between industrial and educational partners as well as other stakeholders. Also other stakeholders, who are not part of the E-PRAGMATIC network, will have, after free registration, an access to community environment for the communication, sharing of ideas, knowledge and experience with other professionals.
(6) Recognition of the project and its results: Different types of media and the existing partners’ communication networks will be used to inform other stakeholders and wider public about the project and its results.
(7) Commercialization of the project products: After the end of the project, the developed products will also be offered to other enterprises. Small fee will be required from possible users that will fund maintenance of the portal and the remote experiments/remote workstations, after the project lifetime. The development of future modules and the execution of learning modules on demand will be offered.
E-PRAGMATIC project partners: (1) University of Maribor, Slovenia; (2) B2 d.o.o., Slovenia; (3) ECPE European Center for Power Electronics e.V., Germany; (4) University of Deusto, Spain; (5) Poznan University of Technology, Poland; (6) Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria; (7) Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands; (8) Chamber of small business and craft, Slovenia; (9) Elson Electrónica S.A., Spain; (10) Simulation Research, The Netherlands; (11) Wielkopolska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Poland; (12) Flowserve (Austria) GmbH Control Valves, Austria; (13) EXENDIS b.v., Netherlands.
E-PRAGMATIC associated partners: (1) University of Applied Sciences Bern, Switzerland; (2) Siemens Schweiz AG Industry Automation and Drive Technologies, Switzerland; (3) GAIA, the Telecom Association Cluster of the Basque Country, Spain, (4) National Instruments,(5) Verein me2c- [Micro] Electronic Cluster, Austria
Open and distance learning
Utilization and distribution of results
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
open and distance learning
(1) Project web portal (http://learning.e-pragmatic.eu).
(2) Accessible Learning management system (learning portal) eCampus®: http://learning.e-pragmatic.eu
(3) Analysis of target group knowledge needs.
(4) Analysis of target group educational needs.
(5) Needs concerning Community of professionals.
(6) Hypermedia/SCORM based e-learning materials (http://learning.e-pragmatic.eu).
(7) Cross-over training of professionals from industry (Executed in April-June 2012).
(8) Training of future training tutors from industry.
(9) Final exploitation and business plan.
(10) Project handbook.
List of E-PRAGMATIC learning modules:
Industrial courses: PC based measurement and control; Energy efficiency; Introduction to LabVIEW; PLC controllers and industrial networks; Introduction to microcontrollers and embedded systems; Advanced peripherals with microcontrollers; Robot programming; Material science; Industrial Ethernet; Microgrids: Stand-alone systems.
Basic courses: Electrical drives; Applied control theory; Introduction to industrial robotics.
Alternative/emerging technologies courses: Solar electricity; Hybrid drives; Power electronics for electric cars; Charging of the electric cars; Introduction to remote and online engineering; Wheeled mobile robots - practical aspects of control and navigation; Low cost Platform for Providing LAN/WAN Connectivity to Embedded Systems.