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Crossing Boundaries

May 6th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

The conference season is fast approaching. As well as the PLE21010 conference, Pontydysgu is involved in organising a conference about the training of trainers, ‘Crossing Borders’, being held on the 14th – 15th of October in Kostelec near Prague. The conference is supported by the Network to support Trainers in Europe and the Czcch TTnet. And the good news is it is free! The conference has issued a call for papers with a deadline of 16th June. Full details can be found on the network’s web site.

There are four main themes for the conference.

Theme 1: Institutional, economic, and societal challenges to the role of trainers and teachers in vocational education and trainers

With the growing importance of initial and continuing learning in enterprises and the rapid  introduction of new technologies, the role of trainers is changing. Research suggests that ever growing numbers of people are responsible for training as part of their work. This change is accompanied by increasing pressure for economies in training resulting from the economic recession.

At the same time the move towards more authentic work-based learning is changing the role and activities of trainers. A series of studies have talked of a move away from didactic classroom and workshop-based training towards facilitating enquiry-based learning.

Theme 2: E-learning as a challenge for trainers, teachers, and learners in vocational  education

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.

Theme 3: New ways of learning and the re-definition of the role of trainers and teachers in vocational education

Studies and reports have documented a move away form classroom and work-based training towards work-based learning. Such learning is seen as being based on practice and thus developing applied work practice knowledge. Work based learning may also be more authentic and situated than classroom based training and may be more cost-effective in contributing to production processes.

At the same time some research suggests a move away from didactic training approaches towards the provision of coaching and mentoring.

Theme 4: Professional development and HRD for changing roles of trainers and teachers

With an increasing recognition of the importance of trainers and training and changing roles for trainers, the initial and continuing professional development of trainers is also coming under scrutiny. Research suggests that structures and processes for training trainers are fragmentary and differ widely in different countries, regions and sectors. In most countries there are not mandatory standards or qualifications for trainers. It may be that most trainers rely on personal networks and informal learning for their professional development.

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