Archive for the ‘ttplus’ Category

Trainers in Europe Conference

November 4th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

It os certainly a busy online time. Last night was a great Evolve seminar with Dave Cormier about Massively Online Open Courses (MOOCS). I will post a few ideas about that later.

Tomorrow and Thursday is the the first annual on-line conference on the Training of Trainers, sponsored by the Network to Support Trainers in Europe and Evolve.

When we first launched the conference I was rather doubtful of how many would come. After all this was not an event targeted at the EdTech community. Most researchers and practitioners working in this field have never been involved in an online conference before. I have been overwealmed by the response. To date some 110 articticapnst have registered from I guess about 20 countries. I don’t suppose all will turn up for a free event but I still expect a sizable turnout. For me this represnets two things. The first si the mainsteaming of online conferencing technologies which are now being embraced by researchers and practitioners in many diverse dicplines and subject areas. The second is to reinforce the idea of open events – I huess you could say this conference in a mini-MOOC!

We have been fairly conservative in the conference programme for which I am grateful. One issue which arose in the conversation with Dave Cormier last night is that size matters! It is not easy moderting discource with 100 peole online. I am sure we will hit some technical problems but we will juts have to overcome these as we go.

If you would like to attend the conference please register as soon as possible. The registration page is online here. It is free and open, but we need some record of who came for our project reporting.

We also have created a conference exhibition on wikispaces. Have a look – there is some neat stuff there. And if you would like to contribute to the exhibition please get in touch.

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Online conference on training of trainers

September 15th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I left AltC early last Thursday morning to travel to Leiden in the Netherlands for a meeting of the Eurtrainer porject. Eurtrainer is developing a network for trainers in Europe and together with Cristina Costa and Dirk Stieglitz, I am organising an online confernce on the training of trainers on November 5 and 6. The conference is free and you can register online on the Trainers in Europe web site.

Anyway here is the main conference blurb.

First International on-line conference – 5-6 November 2008

The Network to Support Trainers in Europe is launching its first annual on-line conference on “the Training of Trainers” on 5 and 6 November, 2008. The confernce is co-sponsored by the Jisc funded Evolve network.

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, tutors, researchers, managers and policy makers and other interested individuals.

About the conference
The conference will take place through the internet using the Elluminate conference tool. 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.

To find out more go to the conference technology page.

Conference themes
The conference will be organised around four themes:

  • Theme 1 – The changing role of trainers in learning
  • Theme 2: E-learning for trainers
  • Theme 3: Work-based learning
  • Theme 4: Support for the professional development of trainers

Go the the conference themes page to find out more.


Speakers include:

Professor Alan Felstead and Nick Jewson, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK

Professor Alison Fuller, School of Education, University of Southampton, UK

Professor Alan Brown, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick, UK

George Roberts, Oxford Brooks University, UK

Barry Nyhan, Ireland

Seija Mahlamäki-Kultanen and Anita Eskola-Kronqvist, HAMK, Finland.

Eduardo Figueira, Academus, Portugal

Simone Kirpal, Institut Technik und Bildung, Univeristy of Bremen, Germany

John Pallister, Wolsingham School

Cristina Costa, Pontydysgu, UK

Doris Beer, Germany

Vance Stevens, Abu Dubai

Carla Arena et al – United States, Japan, Ukraine, Argentina and the UK

Anne Fox, Denmark

Regina Lamscheck Nielsen, DEL, Denmark

Linda Castañeda, University of Murcia, Spain

Titles and abstracts for the presentations can be found on the programme page. Presentations will be 15 minutes allowing 15 minutes for discussion.


There will also be an on-line exhibition. Go to the exhibition page for details of how you can participate.


The conference is free. However, we would ask you to please register for the conference in advance as places are limited. Please go to the registration page. It is possible to register for one or more of the four seperate conference sessions.

More information
For more information email the project coordinator Simone Kirpal – kirpal or the conference organiser Graham Attwell – graham10

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Consultation paper on a Framework for the Professional Development of Trainers

August 26th, 2008 by Graham Attwell
Training of Trainers

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: training trainers)

As promised more on the Training of Trainers. The presentation is based on research we are undertaling through the TTplus project. The  project aims to support and improve the continuing professional development of trainers and has been examining the context in which training takes place in enterprises and the effectiveness of  present policies and provision for the training of trainers.

The project is developing a framework for the continuing professional development of trainers and examining different measures and mechanism for implementing the professional development framework.

The research undertaken by the project showed that the number of trainers in Europe has increased. These ‘trainers’ include full time trainers, people with a formal training responsibility and all those for whom supporting the learning of others is part of their job. It also concluded that many of these people do not have effective or adequate access to continuing professional development opportunities or support or recognition for their own learning.

It is clear that if the standards of training are to be raised, improving the training of trainers must be a priority.  However, given the heterogeneous nature of the group and the range of sectors and occupations in which they work, it is difficult to see how this could be standardised, or indeed whether it is desirable to do so.  Certainly some sort of common framework would have advantages. It would provide a degree of coherence to what is a very fragmented field. It would increase the visibility of trainer training and in so doing, increase awareness. It could also stimulate the establishment of communities of practice between trainers.

The TT-Plus project has the objective of designing a framework for professional development for trainers in Europe. One approach to this is to develop an accreditation framework. Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which an organisations’ services and operations are examined by a third-party accrediting agency to determine if applicable standards are met. Should the facility meet the accrediting agency’s standards, the facility receives accredited status from the accrediting agency. Such accreditation often takes the form of a ‘kitemark’ or quality mark designed to show that the organization has met the standards.

The challenges in designing an accreditation system for trainers are three-fold:

Firstly, how can a framework reflect the TTPlus project research findings and be –

  • Inclusive enough to accommodate the diversity of people labeled ‘trainers’ and the diversity of contexts in which they work.
  • An instrument for improving the quality of practice
  • A process to improve and increase access to training opportunities for trainers

Secondly, how can a framework incorporate the best features of previous approaches whilst minimising their disadvantages. Specifically how can a framework:

  • Identify ‘gaps’ in organizational or individual trainer  ‘performance’ AND simultaneously facilitate the learning necessary to close the gaps
  • Provide recognition and reward for both individuals and organisations.
  • Be relevant and sensitive to a range of occupational identities

Thirdly, how can a single framework be flexible enough to allow sectoral, local, regional and national variation whilst still maintaining transnational coherence and a shared European approach?

In short, how can standards be improved without standardization?

The project has produced a consultation paper outlining a possible solution based on a set of common or shared elements and another set of elements where there are choices or divergences to be made at country, organizational or individual level.

The paper elaborates on six ‘components’ of the frameworktogether with linking mechanisms.

  • A set of principles
  • A set of standards
  • An infrastructure
  • Processes and mechanisms for applying them and documentation.
  • Tools and materials to help those engaged in the process
  • Exemplars of evidence

The full consultation document can be downloaded here – Framework for the Professional Development of Trainers.. If you are involved in the training of trainers – or are just interested in te topic we would like to hear your views on the Framework

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Training trainers

August 25th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Last week i took an all to short four day holiday in Romania. But this week sadly it is back to business. And tomorrow I am off to Jyväskylä for the EARLI conference. Wednesday evening I travel to Kuressaari in Estonia for a meeting of the b-learning project. And Friday it is back to Bremen. Phew! In fact I did not plan such a schedule –  I managed to double book myself.

Anyway in Jyväskylä I am presenting a paper from the TT-Plus project on the training of trainers. The paper is officially co-authored between myself and Pekka Kamarainen – although I have to say he has done most of the work. Given my limited input, I feel able to say that I think this is a very good paper. The abstract is below and if you are interested you can download the full paper. I will also post my presentation slides for both meetings as soon as I have finished them.

In search for common ground: Starting points for analysing the professional situation of trainers in six European countries

“This paper gives an account on the working hypotheses of the European cooperation project TTplus (“A framework for continuing professional development of trainers”) concerning the diversity of training cultures and on the distribution of training functions. Then, the paper examines some methodological starting points for analysing the European training cultures with the help of sociological concepts like  ‘contextual images’ (Ritsert, Bracher) or e-portfolio -related concepts like ‘use cases’ (Rees-Jones). Based on these grounded reflections the paper provides justification for the ‘controlled but explorative’ research strategy (Bracher) that was applied in the empirical studies. In this context the paper discusses the role of concepts like ‘instances of good practice’, ‘instances of change’ and ‘instances of innovation’ for the research approach of the project. In the concluding reflections the paper discusses the relevance of such a research approach for European knowledge development into the professional development of trainers.”

Download the full paper here

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This isn’t the way to support teachers

February 2nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

An interesting article from the Guardian newspaper on teachers in the UK.

“Around 17,000 “substandard” teachers are struggling in classrooms and failing to inspire their pupils, according to the head of the body responsible for upholding teaching standards.

Middle-aged male teachers are a particular worry, and teachers need retraining throughout their careers to prevent them becoming disaffected, Keith Bartley, head of the General Teaching Council for England, said.

……. Bartley said: “It is not unreasonable to assume that in a workforce of half a million there is a proportion that is probably around that 17,000 that are in practice substandard.

“If we want to make more of a difference in more classrooms it’s probably not the incompetent teachers that are the problem. It’s teachers who are struggling with their classrooms day-in day-out – part of that is behaviour management in increasingly difficult classrooms.”
It seems top me a bit odd and not particularly helpful to come up with such a precise figure as 17000 and then justify that by saying it is not an unreasonable assumption. Neither am I sure that the emotive language of failing teachers is the best way to approach a discourse over what more can and should be done to support the practice of teachers. The most likely result of such an approach will be to stigmatise anyone seeking more support. However discussion with teachers and more particularly with trainee teachers suggest there are issues which need addressing. Firstly I am unconvinced that there is sufficient emphasis on applied practice – including classroom management within the teacher training curriculum, at least in the UK. And whilst trainee teachers do undertake placements in schools as well as serve a probationary year, part of which is supposed to include further ,earning with support, anecdotal evidence suggest that the quality of such support is at best highly variable. Neither am I convinced that we have sufficient research on what exactly comprises good practice in the field.

The second point is that all teachers – not only those deemed to be ‘failing’ should have access and time for continuing professional development. Once more form limited knowledge of UK practice, what on-going staff development is available seems all too often to be either concerned with overall school management or with the introduction of of new schemes, assessment programmes etc. once more the assumption is that classroom practice and classroom management will will take care of itself.

Existing progression routes are not helpful. Although Scotland has introduced a Chartered Teacher scheme to reward experienced practitioners, in England and in wales, promotion is through becoming managers outside the classroom.

The problem with statements like Bartley’s – and the inevitable popular press reaction – is that it hinders a proper discussion of any of these issues

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How to support learning by trainers?

December 6th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Before I got involved in all this ICT supported learning stuff, I spent a lot of time working on qualifications for the initial and continuing education of teachers and trainers – mainly in vocational education and training. Last year I was pursuaded to launch another project on this subject – this time about the training of trainers. The project is called TTPlus. And I am very glad that I did.

One of the benefits of coming back to a subject after a break of several years is that it allows you to review how your ideas have changed. Whereas in the past I had focused on formal courses and qualifications, and formal job descriptions, now I was more interested in informal learning and in how learning and professional development related to practice. TTPlus is a European project and has a great group of partners from Germany, Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands and Austria.

We all trust each other – and instead of the usual project meetings devoted to too much reporting of activity undertaken and much to much administration we have been able to get into the methodology and content of our project.

If you want to find out more go the the project web site.

One of the outcomes of the project is a Framework for Continuing Professional Development. The challenge for me is how to relate such a framework to practice and how to make a framework genuinely open, rather than merely a progression ladder through formal learning.

Below is my first attempt at such a document – written together with Philipp Grollman and Eileen Luebcke. You can also download the full document which explains the outcomes of our case studies into the practice of trainers.

We are still working on the Framework and on how such a Framework might be implemeted but I would be very happy for comments on the draft from any readers.

The basis for the Open Framework for Continuing Professional Development for Trainers in Europe is that the Framework must address all those concerned with training and learning. This includes trainers – both full and part time – but also employers and enterprises, sector organisations, trade unions, regulatory bodies, regional economic bodies, examination and certification organisations and local, regional national and European governmental organisations.

The Framework is designed to be inclusive and flexible. It is designed to support trainers and organisations in developing, promoting and facilitating opportunities for professional development. It is based on voluntary commitment to both implementing the Framework and monitoring progress towards that implementation.

1. Recognition of the importance of trainers in facilitating learning and the role of learning for individual competence development and organisational development

The Framework for the Continuing Professional Development of trainers is based on the recognition of the importance of training for the development of individual competencies and lifelong learning for individual employees and organisational development within enterprises.

2. Recognition of different modes of learning

The Framework recognises the different ways in which people learn and develop competence. This may include participation in formal full or part time training, externally or in the workplace, but it also includes informal on the job learning and self study. The Framework recognises that trainers may have a role in supporting all these different forms of learning.

3. Recognition of role different people play in training and learning

The Framework recognises that many different people play a role in supporting learning. These include full and prat time trainers but also those who support others in learning as part of their job for instance through he induction of new staff. They may also include those responsible for the design and development of computer supported learning or those who facilitate professional networking.

4. Development of Competencies

The Framework recognises the broad range of competencies required of trainers. These include:

• subject or occupational competences
• didactic competences
• organisational competences
• Interpersonal competences

Opportunities for professional development should allow trainers to develop all of these competences.

5. Importance of opportunities for initial and continuing professional development

The Framework recognises the importance of both initial and continuing professional development for the effectiveness and quality of training. The Framework is based on an individual commitment by trainers to their own professional development, a commitment by enterprises to providing opportunities and supporting professional development and a commitment by other organisations to supporting and recognising that professional development.

6. Importance of opportunities of opportunities to practice

The framework recognises the importance of opportunities to practice. It commits organisations to providing varied opportunities for practice as part of professional development.

7. Importance of networking

The Framework recognises the importance of networking – within companies, between companies and in broader Communities of Practice as a means to professional development. It commits organisations to facilitating participation within networks and communities for trainers.

8. Partnerships

The Framework recognises the importance of partnership in recognising professional development and in providing opportunities of that development to take place. such partnerships may include employers and enterprises, sector organisations, trade unions, regulatory bodies, regional economic bodies, examination and certification organisations and local, regional national and European governmental organisations.

9. Reflection

The Framework recognises the importance of reflection on practice as a key element in professional development. Thus it advocates the prevision of opportunities for reflection through peer review and mentoring and though the promotion of activities and tools for recording reflection including diaries and (e)-portfolios.

10. Role of formal qualifications

The Framework recognises that although many trainers have no formal qualification in training and may not wish to acquire such a qualification but for others the achievement of a formal qualification may play a role in their learning and may offer them opportunities for professional advancement. Thus commitment to the Framework includes the development and recognition of relevant and flexible qualifications, forms of assessment and evaluation which recognise practice and access to such qualifications.

11. Development of tools and platforms

The Framework recognises the importance of appropriate tools and platforms for networking between trainers, for the exchange of experiences and practice and for monitoring opportunities for professional development. The Framework will promote the development and use of such tools and platforms.

12. Promotion of the Framework

For such a Framework to be effective, it will require widespread dissemination, promotion and adoption. Framework signatories will be committed to such activities.

13. Research and monitoring

Research has an important role to play in supporting the development and implementation of a Framework for professional development. This includes research into the context, role and competences of trainers, monitoring of progress in implementing professional development opportunities and critically, providing example of effective and innovative practice. The Framework will support and disseminate such research.

14. Implementation

It is recognised that the Framework cannot be imposed by regulatory or legislative means. Instead the Framework is based on voluntary adoption. Such adoption involves a commitment to implementation of the framework, whilst recognising flexibility in the different ways this may be undertaken, to transparency in the measures undertaken and in monitoring, reviewing and reporting on progress in implementation.

15. Governance and further development of the Framework

As an Open Framework, no single organisation can own or govern the Framework. However, it is proposed that appropriate bodies at European, national, regional and sector levels should undertake to co-ordinate the adoption and further development of the Framework. We will propose further ideas on how this might be undertaken.

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Contradictions and dilemmas – developing a framework for professional development for trainers

November 6th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

plugin by rob

This is a presentation by Graham Attwell at the Trainers in Europe Conference, Leiden, October 2007. It is based on the work of the Euroepan funded TT-Plus project. In the presnetation Graham Attwell looks at methodologies for researching the training of trainers, presents some of the interim findings of the project and considers what sort of framework can support the training of trainers.

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    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

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    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

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    This is from a Tweet. In 1994 Stephen Heppell wrote in something called SCET” “Teachers are fundamental to this. They are professionals of considerable calibre. They are skilled at observing their students’ capability and progressing it. They are creative and imaginative but the curriculum must give them space and opportunity to explore the new potential for learning that technology offers.” Nothing changes!

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