Dual-T: the fulfillment of a research journey and a look to the future

The presentation of the publication “Educational Technologies for Vocational Training. Experiences as Digital Clay”, which sums up 15 years of research on technology for VET, was held at SFUVET on Thursday, 19 January.

SUFFP / Ben Zurbriggen

As well as an opportunity to celebrate the results achieved, the evening also provided a chance to look to the future, allowing those present to try out for themselves some of the immersive reality technologies being used in projects currently under way.

Alberto Cattaneo, Head of the research field «Education technologies in VET programmes», opened the evening, recalling how in the 2000s the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI decided to promote a series of initiatives aimed at fostering research on VET, paving the way for the set-up – amongst other things – of the leading house DUAL-T on technology for vocational training, made up of four groups of researchers from the University of Fribourg, SFUVET and initially also the University of Geneva, and coordinated by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

The publication – currently available in English but which is already in the process of being translated into Italian, French and German – is aimed at professional practitioners and tells – based on progression in terms of the technologies used – the story of the main occupations involved in the project. The publication is supplemented by the eduscenarios.ch website which outlines usable educational scenarios and via which usable applications with virtual reality headsets will be provided.

Over the course of the project – which was subdivided into four stages – three PhDs were undertaken solely in Lugano, making a major contribution to fostering dialogue between the three apprentice training locations – schools, branch courses and companies.

This was attested to by the vocational teachers and chefs Christian Gianetti and Nicola Piatti, as well as the opportunity for chefs in training to explore various realities within the occupation by using technologies, such as interactive video (for example, working in the kitchen of a home for the elderly compared with the kitchen of a starred restaurant).

The second testimony was provided by Prisca Cattani, a vocational teacher of students training in the occupations of clothes design (Federal VET diploma) and tailoring (Federal VET diploma). In collaboration with the schools of art and tailoring occupations (scuola di Arti e Mestieri della Sartoria) in Lugano and Biasca, a version was produced especially for these occupations of the Realto platform, in particular enabling the teaching of observational skills for people in training.

Through a testimony in the form of a video interview, Anna Bruna Peloso provided an insight into the continuity of the DUAL-T project. She showed how virtual reality in the form of 360° videos allows trainees in care-related occupations to immerse themselves in work-related situations while attending the school. In her case with welfare workers – who have contact with practice through placements – the 360° video additionally allowed the option of switching between the carer’s and patient’s perspective.

The evening was rounded off with a drinks reception during which examples of the educational application of immersive reality technologies – including augmented reality, virtual reality and 360° video – could be tested out at various stations.