Planning of the course – give the ideas a structure – consider all necessary issues with a 360° view – this is always a challenge for course developers.
Here we will present some tools for course planning and ideas for their use.
How to start – how to act?
The planning (and preparation) for teaching starts with the knowledge of the competences that must be taught. These competences are usually defined/described in a kind of curriculum or syllabus, valid for both VET programs and for apprenticeship training. Sometimes the competencies are part of the official curricula for a VET course and sometimes they are listed and described in private programs for specific training courses.
The course planning process cares for the necessary instructions to guide trainers as well as the learners in creating rewarding learning and determined activities in a wholesome atmosphere.
In most C-VET courses the course goals are given by the company, otherwise it is necessary to define these goals precisely (if possible as competences in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes)
The next step is the selection of the content. This must include everything to reach the course goals, but also take into account additional items, for example independent units to bring all the learners to the same level.
Although very important in any learning process, in most cases the content of the course is not the key element. On the contrary, its role is to help the trainees to accomplish the course assignments (usually in the form of a project or a practical problem to be solved). The contents and the different interactions programmed along the course lead the way for learners to achieve their learning goals. This is the case in most training courses following the PBL approach.
In the planning process it is necessary to know your learners.
- Who will attend the course – for whom is the course considered?
- What are the pre-knowledge element?
- Are there any competence gaps between the pre-knowledge and the starting point of the course?
It is important to know (for course planning, development, and implementation) why the learners or trainees are taking this course. There may be numerous reasons (here are some examples):
- Learn some specific competence that is necessary for their professional development
- They are sent by the company because they need a certain certificate that is obligatory to do their job (statal qualification)
- Learn to solve complex problems
- Learn to handle a new tool (for example in automotive business)
- Learn to communicate efficiently (for example for people working in a call center)
- … and so on.
For all these different intentions of learners the course must be planned in an efficient way and the trainers must know how to deal with the trainees or learners.
The TIBL method promotes a pedagogical approach called “Sustained Learning”. This approach provides active learning (based on self-determined learning called Heutagogy), as well as micro learning and the well-planned and appropriate use of multiple devices..
Sustained Learning includes the feedback of the learners (to the trainers) as well as the effective and motivating timely done feedback of the trainer to the learners.
This feedback must be planned from the beginning in a consistent way.