Title eBridge 2 VET Mobility: e-Learning and m-Learning of European Languages and Intercultural Skills for VET Students and Young Apprentices
Project Number 2012-1-ES1-LEO05-49380
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text eBridge 2 VET Mobility promoted the mobility of VET students and apprentices by facilitating the acquisition of European language competences, intercultural skills and international openness. Its main available results, offered for free, are on line Portuguese, Polish and Latvian, Spanish language basic courses, 20 Mobile Apps offering “just-in-time” language support in daily life situations, cultural guides about daily life and work environment in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic and Turkey. E-bridge2 products are developed just to provide training and informative resources on foreign languages and cultural diversity to help VET mobility programs.
Summary The project eBridge 2 VET Mobility aimed to facilitate to VET students and apprentices the acquisition of European language competences, intercultural skills and international openness with a view to participate in mobility programs, as well as to encourage this mobility especially between Spain and Portugal and new members of the EU and Turkey. The main products resulting of the project were: e-Learning Portuguese, Polish and Latvian, Spanish language courses especially adapted to needs of VET students in mobility and additional linguistic supports; 20 Mobile Apps offering “just-in-time” language support in daily life situations; On line didactical and informative resources about cultural issues related with everyday life, culture and the work environment in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, and Turkey; An e-Community oriented to the intercultural exchange and social learning, allowing the end users being active part in the learning by providing, updating and completing e-learning contents and informative resources. All are available in www.ebridge2.eu
According to the Europe 2020 Strategy, it is fundamental to provide students with the most suitable tools to understand and to live in the future labour market and one of the best ways is by learning on mobility. But reports about mobility during the vocational training coincide that the great challenge is learning a foreign language and intercultural skills. Students and teachers recognize that they don’t participate in exchanges because of lacking language knowledge and cultural problems that would restrain them to understand the labour environment and common situations in the everyday life in a foreign country.
The problem of the lack of competences in foreign languages and of intercultural skills of VET students faced by eBridge 2 VET Mobility is a common problem in all Europe. European educational policies consider that it is fundamental to provide students with the most suitable tools to understand and to live in the future European labour market.
In this context, the aims of eBridge 2 VET Mobility Project were:
• To facilitate to VET students and apprentices the acquisition of European language competences, intercultural skills and international openness with a view to participate in mobility programs.
• To encourage this mobility especially between Spain and Portugal and new members of the EU: Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, and Turkey, in order to diversify traditional destinations offering a wider possibilities in countries with languages less used and known in Europe.
• To promote less frequented countries with less spoken languages as destinies for this mobility, all with the aim to widen the students’ opportunities to experience a mayor linguistic and cultural diversity and the horizons of international and labour experiences in Europe.
From October 2012 to September 2014 eBridge 2 VET Mobility developed and tested:
• e-Learning Portuguese, Polish and Latvian, Spanish language courses and additional linguistic supports, including Mobile Apps, especially adapted to needs of VET students in mobility.
• Didactical and informative resources about cultural issues related with everyday life, culture and the labour environment in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, and Turkey.
• A Virtual Community oriented to the intercultural exchange and social learning.
Their most prominent features were the multilingualism and the accessibility both, on line and by specific applications for mobile devices.
After a pilot exploitation and validation period, the products were placed directly and through education centers and education administration at the target’s disposal.
The project contributed to facilitate VET students and apprentices skills related to European foreign languages, intercultural knowledge and international dispositions, to increase interest to participate in mobility programs and in new destinations European or third countries and to increase the awareness of stakeholders to facilitate support both during the preparation and placement of mobility.
The learning materials on languages and culture developed by eBridge 2 VET Mobility provide a comprehensive on-line assistance for EU VET students and apprentices dealing with mobility, that could be considered a solution to overcome language barriers as well as to develop self-confidence, adaptability, a sense of responsibility, employability and intercultural competence.
All the products that have been developed during the project were oriented to contribute to diversify the current tendencies of European Mobility, at present very centered on countries with similarities in their languages – that is the case of Spain, Portugal and Italy – or with preference for United Kingdom due English is the most extended language. In this sense, eBridge 2 Mobility tried to stimulate and facilitate mobility contacts between Iberian countries and new EU Member and Turkey, enlarging the European dimension of the Mobility.
The partnership was integrated by 7 entities from 6 countries:
• 2 companies from Spain and Poland experts on ICT and e-learning
• 3 Adult Education centers from Latvia, Czech Republic and Portugal specialized in language and culture training and offering services to support mobility of students and cultural exchanges
• 1 Spanish association oriented to VET improvement and innovation
• 1 mobility agency from Turkey, also acting as consultant for educational authorities.
The works that had been realized during the project were the following:
• Existing products from eBridge1 were presented and deeper analized by the partners and a report was made with conclusions.
• A research about needs of language skills, intercultural knowledge and international disposition abilities of VET students and young apprentices was carried out. Data, information and opinions of VET Students and a responsible professional of mobility activities and services were collected. A common report was prepared including data and conclusions. According that, partners defined how to adapt e-learning language courses and they agreed the guidelines to develop didactic contents of new courses and supplementary cultural products. A Proposal of Product's Adaptation and Development has been prepared, too.
• A Syllabus and the common guidelines and homogenous criteria to elaborate the didactic contents was firstly developed. After, language didactical contents and linguistic resources of the online language courses (Spanish, Portuguese, Latvian and Polish) have been developed. Translations of e-elearning courses interfaces were also realised.
• Common guidelines and criteria have been agreed in order to develop the contents of cultural resources. Afterwards, a set of guides with cultural contents related to Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Turkey were developed in English and translated in order to have national versions.
• Technical assumptions and functionalities of the WEB CMS, the e-learning platform to support/deliver all the project’s products and the Mobile Apps have been adapted and described in a Technical Proposal of Product's Adaptation and Development (available in www.ebridge2.eu). After, they have programmed and developed and all the course and cultural contents were uploaded. Mobile Apps have been registered and are now being free delivered by Google Play and Apple Store.
• A Multilingual Project’s Website, 4 Newsletters and several Press Releases and articles, a flyer and a brochure presenting the project’s products (both in 7 languages) have been developed and disseminated. All the publications are available to be downloaded from www.ebridge2.eu
• An Internet Publicity Campaign has been carried out to promote visits to the website and the presence of links in the main Internet searching engines.
• After finishing E-Bridge 2 VET Mobility products in April 2014, a pilot exploitation period of five months started. During this time, the project partners carried out in their respective countries a great work of validation of these products in order to ensure they meet the needs of end users and the quality requirements. It consisted on several testing and evaluation activities that took place in Spain, Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey, during the period from April to September 2014.
E-Bridge 2 partners got to involve in these activities 132 students, as well as 38 teachers and professional staff and 6 external experts. This students and educational staff were from 9 VET schools, 2 language schools and 1 University from 12 European cities. The students and teachers belonged to many different branches of VET studies: Gastronomy, Electrotechnics, Economy Administration & Finances, Mechanical Design, Mehanical Manufacturing, Machining, Agrofood, Engineering, Foreign Languages, Health Services, Information Technlogies, Electronics, Hair Dresser, Cloth Design, Metal Works, Event Organization, Martketing, Medicine, Tourism, Pharmaceutics, Hostelery, Architecture Anthropology, Arts, Design and illustration, Nutrition, Sociology and Theatre. In general, E-Bridge2 products were well considered and scored by end users, having obtained an average of 3,68 points in a scale from 1(minimum) to 4 (maximum).
Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Administrative and Support Service Activities
open and distance learning
eBridge2 products have been developed just to provide training and informative resources on foreign languages and cultural diversity to help VET mobility programs. They can be used by VET schools and Mobility Agencies to offer a better preparation of their students before departure and as support during their stage abroad.
E-Bridge 2 products, ready to be free used, are:
• e-Learning Portuguese, Polish and Latvian, Spanish language courses especially adapted to needs of VET students in mobility and additional linguistic supports;
• Mobile Apps offering “just-in-time” language support in daily life situations;
• On line didactical and informative resources about cultural issues related with everyday life, culture and the work environment in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, and Turkey.
• An EB2 e-Community oriented to the intercultural exchange and social learning, allowing the end users being active part in the learning by providing help and shared mobility experiences, and participating in the update and completion of e-learning contents and cultural informative resources.
The on line languages courses and cultural contents are available on line in http://www.ebridge2.eu.
The Mobile Apps can be downloaded for free from Play Store and Apple Store. They are also available for Android Tablets and Ipad.
The EB2 e-Community can be reached on the website of the project and on https://www.facebook.com/ebridge2.eu too.
The learning materials on languages and culture proposed by E-bridge 2 VET Mobility aim to provide a comprehensive on-line assistance for EU VET students and apprentices dealing with mobility, that just is considered a solution to overcome language barriers as well as to develop self-confidence, adaptability, a sense of responsibility, employability and intercultural competence.
They face to solve the problem of the lack of competences in foreign languages and of intercultural skills of VET students that is a common problem in all Europe.
Courses focus on the recognition, interpretation and analysis of daily life and work situations in Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Latvian, according to the purpose of a text, figures of speech and specific vocabulary. Students are introduced on the basic of this languages and the effective use of vocabulary and sentence structures.
Daily life and working environment are the key issue of the Language Courses developed by E-Bridge2 VET Mobility. Each language course is divided into several areas of knowledge: starting with a brief presentation of the Country in the first module and finishing with some concepts about its working, cultural and social life. Two modules focus on the country itself and on the person (background introduction). In the others modules, students will learn how to identify and interpret styles and strategies in 16 different and main areas like: Transportation, Self-presentation, Accommodation, Food, Shopping, Worklife, Healthcare and social security, Emergencies, Cultural and social life. These fields of knowledge are used daily in routine communicative exchanges.
In each lesson of the course four types of learning can be clearly distinguished, depending on the learner’s ability to:
• know (pure theoretical knowledge) – Grammar and Vocabulary.
• know-how (specific circumstances in which it is used) – Dialogue.
• show-how (ability to use knowledge and skills) – Exercises.
• do (integration course objectives in everyday work) – Pictionary.
Particular lessons cover the following topics:
1. Country introduction and self-presentation
3. Arriving, Travelling and Transport use in each destination country.
4. Short and long accommodation: staying in a hotel, living in a flat.
5. Food shopping and eating habits.
7. Telephone and Internet Services
8. Work Learning Practices Environment
9. Social life and relationships
10. Health and emergencies
The courses contain multimedia didactic materials, as well as exercises and simplified grammar contents (level A1). According the objectives of the project, in order to diversify the VET practices destination, the didactic contents of Spanish and Portuguese Language courses are available in four languages: Latvian, Polish, Czech and Turkish. The didactic contents of Polish and Latvian Courses are available too in Portuguese and Spanish.
The pedagogical, based on CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) methodology and IML (Integrated Micro Learning) has been implemented in the development of these courses, connecting language with cultural didactical contents to understand the work environment and daily life situations. All the contents have been adapted to concrete needs of mobility every day experiences of Initial and Middle Degree VET students and apprentices participating in working stages abroad to complete their education with short period of practices in companies.
20 Mobile Applications, 5 related to each language course, have been developed to support VET students in the daily life situations during their work learning practices abroad. Their aim is to provide just-in-time help in VET students’ stay abroad, while sightseeing, in a restaurant, visiting doctor, at workplace or making friendships.
Each app contains a concentrated language lesson in that could be used as conversation guide in most common situations:
• Mobile App Travel is a support to get by in the airport and the metro and to buy train tickets.
• Mobile App Accommodation is aimed to communicate and solve usual situations when are needed accommodation services.
• Mobile App Work is a guide on how to communicate at work basically: introduce yourself, ask questions or ask for help.
• Mobile App Health helps to explain to the doctor, to get medication in a pharmacy or know how to notify emergency services.
• Mobile App Restaurant is very useful to communicate with typical questions and answer that could be made during a restaurant service.
Each five Mobile Apps has been developed in Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Latvian with interfaces translated in Turkish and Czech too. They offer conversation guides, useful vocabulary and interactive exercises.
Cultural guides are an important product of E-Bridge 2 VET Mobility project. They have been conceived as useful and practical info for VET students learning, living and working abroad. It has been expected that they can ensure knowledge about cultural diversity of European countries participating in the project and stimulate VET students to select these destination for their working training practices and apprenticeship .
Contents of these guides are dealing the culture, the daily life and working environment in Spain, Portugal, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic and Turkey. They include practical information about the country, places to visit, transportation, shopping, health, accommodation, food, social uses, work culture or job search in these destinations. It is useful information to help in VET students in their mobility experiences.
All the products will be available for at least next 5 year in Internet and it is expected they would contribute to diversify the current tendencies of European Mobility, at present very centered between countries with similarities in their languages – that is the case of Spain and Portugal– or with preference for United Kingdom due English is the most extended language. In this sense, E-bridge 2 VET Mobility was trying to stimulate and facilitate mobility contacts between Iberian countries and new EU Member and Turkey, enlarging the European dimension of the Mobility.