Description of the project

Description of the project:

In the last two decades the information and communications technology (ICT) has changed the way the education was conceived before. Its rapid development significantly contributed into structural shifts in the world’s economy as well. The increasing economic globalization and the emerging digital technologies require professionals that possess sector specific skills applicable both at local and international level. The CORELA project will contribute to diversification and modernization of the VET education.  The project is designed to provide access to VET teaching staff and VET students to new sector specific skills that will enhance the competitiveness of professionals in vocational education and the innovative capacity of the VET providers, HEI institutions and the SME enterprises in the participating countries.

In order to be competitive in the global economy, Europe tends to be most highly skilled region in the world. Recent study shows that the occupational structure of EU employment of the engineering sector tends to shift towards knowledge and skills-intensive jobs from 27.3% in 2007 to 32.4% in 2020 [2]. Industry requires well educated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals at all education levels. However, at the same time the reduction of professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is very high – 30% for the science education and 50% for the engineering.

Therefore, the essential question is, what knowledge and skills students should obtain in order to keep their motivation and commitment? Unavoidable part of each answer is by introducing innovative learning methodology that includes class instructions, practical assignments, laboratory work  andextra curricular activities. VET teaching staff the central place in reaching these goals.  Therefore, teachers should have access to high quality resources to support students curiosity with state-of-the-art research and developments in STEM, with interactive instruments including an experimental laboratory. However, usually the laboratory equipment and their maintenance are expensive and must be always up-to-date. This drawback can be improved by incorporating remote virtual laboratories (RVLs) into the education practice. RVLs offer a unique state-of-the-art learning environment where pupils can remotely access and perform experiments on real or virtual equipment over the Internet. They are the latest developments that revolutionize the way in which courses with practical component are conducted. RVLs already show some advantages over real laboratories and are emerging as laboratories of the future. One certain advantage is the opportunity RVLs offer for international pupil collaboration, which is simply impossible with conventional laboratories. In our opinion, Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) can provide remarkable support to this kind of remote virtual laboratories. The project is

in line with the Strategy for Vocational Education and Training in context of the Life-long Learning”, 2013-2020 Action Plan, where one of the  priorities  is “Development of new pedagogical techniques relevant to the needs of the actual job market”.

CORELA introduces innovative, integrated remote virtual laboratories designed to be used by the VET providers.  VET providers lag behind higher education institutions in terms of introducing innovative learning practices.  This project will be a huge step forward by the VET providers in diversification and modernization of the learning methodology. The project will not only enhance the employability and career prospects of the VET students by providing them access to sector-specific skills, but at the same time will support their creative potential and increase the innovative capacity of the VET providers from the participating countries/

The following activities will contribute project to reach its objectives>

• New teaching methodology for optimal application of collaborative RVL in VET

• Development of a flexible virtual laboratory platform which integrates international collaborative learning

• Development of interactive multimedia training courses and VET teacher’s training in order to gain knowledge to design, implement and maintain virtual laboratory experiments in a collaborative environment.

• Evaluation of teacher’s and pupil’s satisfaction of incorporating new technologies and knowledge improvements.

The previous experience of the transnational partners in different areas related to the project (remote laboratories, e-learning, collaborative learning, VET education, virtual instrumentation) ensures successful implementation of the project.