Fit for 4.0 Training teachers and trainers for the 4.0 paradigm

Industry 4.0, digital transformation, the internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, smart working, global interconnection – these are the keywords describing the present developments of the labour world. Vocational training can become “the first choice” to live this transformation, but at present only a few training centres in Europe can exploit the necessary equipment, and teachers and trainers are not always aware of the dimension of such changes, nor can they exploit the required tools (conceptual, methodological, technological).

Some of them tend to adapt old methods to new topics; some do not know existing online tools for learning, teaching, assessing; some do not interact with each other as much as they could, assuming they have know-how to “defend”; some need a clearer picture of the nature, implications and real meaning of the 4.0 paradigm, which is both a technology and a human factor.

To make VET sustainable, it essential to update its methods and tools, favouring collaboration among teachers/trainers, learners, training providers, companies, social parts and local authorities. Fit for 4.0 intends to take on this challenge, by describing a set of competences useful to VET teachers, and by developing and testing a set of 4.0 training modules, in strict cooperation with companies.

Project objectives are

  • describing a “minimum” of skills, namely didactical and transversal, needed by teachers/trainers, especially those involved in HVET, concerning the 4.0 transition;
  • developing a competence self-assessment tool, allowing VET teachers to measure their readiness for the 4.0 world;
  • developing and testing, in close cooperation with enterprises, a resource pack for trainers, a training programme delivered as a MOOC, complete with training material and innovative tools for training, learning, assessing;
  • implementing the MOOC to train a sample group of trainers, who will pilot their learning by co-designing training modules/programmes for this new 4.0 concept, together with businesses;
  • identifying a set of policy recommendations to local, national and European decision-makers, for the future updating of teachers’ and trainers’ competences.

To ensure concrete outcomes, the project is focussing on the mechanic, mechatronic and automotive sectors, where advanced digital competences are necessary, and in which the digital revolution has already started, and therefore meaningful company experience exists.

The train-the-trainer programme aims at improving skills for teaching, using innovative methods and tools, embedding the 4.0 paradigm in day-by-day work. It relates to topics like understanding the sense and the impact of the 4.0 paradigm on study and work, how to develop and run interdisciplinary 4.0 training modules together with colleagues and companies, how to make use of training methods and tools which anticipate operational processes at the workplace, how to assess competences in the digital era, and so on.

This train-the-trainer programme is practical and at the same time “intrinsically digital”, built with the same instruments as it offers, that is, through transnational teams composed of trainers and company experts, making use of online cooperative platforms.

Trainers taking the programme will not sit in a classroom or in front of a computer, listening for hours to another trainer rattling off tens of slides; rather, they will learn by visiting companies, by discussing with peers (even at a distance), by exploiting Design Thinking and Instructional Design techniques, by exchanging views with experts and professionals, and by “seriously” playing. Fit for 4.0 is being implemented by a strong consortium of 10 partners from IT, AT, BE, DE, FI, PT, SE and the UK.