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Online conference on Innovation in Training Practice

August 6th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

Last year Pontydysgu organised the first online conference on the training of trainers as part of our work with the Network for Trainers in Europe. Some seventy participants joined the conference from twenty-six different countries.

This year on 9 and 10 November we are organising a follow up conference on “Innovation in Training Practice.” The conference if free and open to all those interested n the subject. An online enrollment form will be made avaiable in the next two weeks. In the meantime we have put out a call for particpation. Wales Wide Web readers will be very welcome to take part.

CALL for PARTICIPATION

About the Network

The European Commission funded Network to Support Trainers in Europe examines the role of trainers by looking at different aspects of training practice and policy. A key objective is to foster exchange between training practitioners, researchers, policy makers and stakeholder institutions. Topics that the Network addresses include trainers’ work, skills, status, professional profile, the recognition of their work and trainers’ continuing professional development.

While the Network seeks to establish support structures for trainers in different European countries, we also have created an on-line platform to link different initiatives, studies and activities on trainers at the European and international level. The platform provides access to research results and recent developments in policy and practice as well as practical tools for practitioners and the training of trainers. A communication forum for practitioners, researchers, managers and policy makers is also available.
In 2008 a main activity of the Network was an online conference which involved some 70 participants. Given that this conference was highly successful, we wish to build on this with a second online conference this year.

Who is the conference for?

The conference is for all those interested in the training and professional development of teachers and trainers. This includes teachers, trainers, researchers, managers and policy makers.

About the conference

The conference will take place on through the internet. We hope this will not only reduce the carbon footprint of our activities, but will allow wide participation by those who might not be able to travel. The conference will utilise simple web-based tools and will be accessible by anyone with an internet connection and a web browser.

For those of you not used to presenting on the internet, we will provide full technical support and a short pre-conference training course.

Conference themes

The conference will be organised around four themes.

Theme 1 – Innovations in Work-based Learning for VET Teachers and Trainers

Work-based learning is seen as being based on practice and supporting the development of applied work practice knowledge. Against classroom-based training it tends to be more authentic and situated and may be more cost-effective in contributing to production processes. Issues to be explored in this session include:

  • How can the work environment be organised to support work-based learning?
  • What are the pedagogic approaches to work-based learning?
  • What role does work process knowledge play in the context of work-based learning?
  • How can the curriculum be organised to support work-based learning?

Theme 2: Equality and Diversity: Innovations in training practice for socially disadvantaged groups

The provision of training for socially disadvantaged groups is a high priority for the European Commission and for many European governments. Social disadvantage may have a wide variety of meanings – including gender, ethnicity, the long-term unemployed, ex prisoners, refugees etc. Targeted provision for these groups is usually focused on social inclusion within education and training or within the workforce. Issues to be explored in this session include:

  • Approaches to mainstreaming for socially disadvantaged groups;
  • Innovative pedagogic approaches to training targeted at socially disadvantaged groups;
  • Innovative institutional arrangements for the training for socially disadvantaged groups;
  • Recognising prior learning and achievement for socially disadvantaged groups;

Theme 3: Technology Enhanced Learning / ICT for innovation and training practice

e-Learning is increasingly impacting on training. Larger enterprises are developing in-house e-learning programmes for employees. The internet is increasingly being used for informal learning. Internet-based tools offer opportunities for accessing learning in the workplace and for communication. E-portfolios can be used to record and reflect on learning. Web 2.0 tools offer opportunities to develop customised multi-media materials to support training. Issues to be explored in this session include:

  • What is the impact of e-learning on training and the activities of trainers?
  • How can we best use e-learning to support trainers?
  • How can we encourage and recognise informal internet based learning?
  • What is the impact of social software and Web 2.0 on training and learning?

Theme 4: Innovations in company-based training

The present high rate of change in processes and products and technology implementation is driving a focus on lifelong learning and company-based training. This can take different forms including formal courses, on the job learning, coaching and Technology Enhanced Learning and includes both initial and continuing vocational training. There is also increasing interest in informal learning in companies and in the recognition of informal learning. Competence development and frameworks for competence development are another theme which has attracted much debate over the past period. Issues to be explored in this session include:

  • Innovative learning arrangements in companies;
  • Developing learning rich or learning conducive working environments;
  • Fostering and facilitating informal learning in companies;
  • Developing strategies for competence development and organisational learning within companies.

Conference Structure

The conference will take place over two days. On each day there will be two formal sessions, one for each of the themes. Each session will last for about two hours, allowing four presentations of 15 minutes each, with 15 minutes of discussion.

The live sessions will utilise on-line e-conferencing software, allowing video and audio presentations and feedback from participants. Sessions will be recorded and made available for later viewing. Papers will be made available to participants in advance and the conference will also provide opportunities for asynchronous text-based discussion.

There will also be an parallel on-line exhibition. Details of this will be the subject of a later call.

Call for participation

We invite ideas from people who are interested in contributing to the conference. We are especially interested in supporting contributions from those who have not presented before at an online conference. Support will be available for participants in developing their presentations and in using the online conference platform. We are open to different formats for the sessions. We are not requiring a formal abstract but would like to here your ideas on what you might wish to present and any ideas you have on how you might do this.

Ideas for participation might include (but are not limited to):

  • Informal conversations
  • Workshops
  • Petcha-kutcha
  • Showcasing examples of practice, artefacts, handbooks etc.
  • Videos about practice or projects
  • Research, papers

Please email your ideas to Cristina Costa cristinacost [at] gmail [dot] com and/or to Graham Attwell graham10 [at] mac [dot] com to discuss your ideas.

Timetable

October 4 – Deadline for submission of ideas
October 20 – notification of results of review

More information

If you would like more information you can access the Network’s web site at http://www.trainersineurope.org/. You can also email the project coordinator Simone Kirpal – kirpal [at] uni-bremen [dot] de– or the conference organiser Graham Attwell – graham10 [at] mac [dot] com. Registration details and further information about the conference will be available on the platform shortly.

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