DUAL-T is a research endeavor pursued by the Leading House “Technologies for Vocational Education and Training”. It is funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The Leading House is chaired by Prof. Pierre Dillenbourg, EPFL Lausanne. DUAL-T started its activities in 2006 and SFIVET joined in 2008.
The project explores how technologies can be used to foster and better coordinate the interaction and collaboration between learning locations in Swiss dual-track VET programmes. In this sense, technologies are seen as “bridges” to fill the gap that apprentices often perceive between the school and the workplace, for example.
The model on which the research project is based – the so-called “Erfahrraum” – is now described in detail in a journal paper published in 2015 in the Journal of Vocational Education and Training. The basis of this model is that you can capture your experiences at the workplace and exploit them via reflective activities at school to improve the level of professionalism and competence development. All the steps of such a process are supported by technologies, in different ways. Teachers take part in the Erfahrraum through specific learning activities.
With respect to the method, the whole project is run under a general Design-Based Research approach (Brown, 1992; Collins, 1992; DBRC, 2003), including field studies, semi-experimental components (in-context controlled studies) and lab studies.
Dual-T has gone through three different phases:
- Phase I: 2008-2009
Project 4 – Generalization of other teams’ previous results
- Phase II: 2009-2013
Project 5 - Collecting “meaningful experiences” from the workplace using portable ICT devices
Project 6 - Collaborative writing to learn procedures
Project 7 - Fostering complex problem-solving with augmented tangibles
- Phase III 2013-2016
Project 8 - Technology-enhanced Learning Journals
- Phase III-B 2016-2021
Project 10 - Pict & Mark: Exploiting the potential of pictures marking and annotation
Besides the two “Best paper awards” already mentioned in the publication list, DUAL-T was awarded the EAPRIL Best Research and Practice Project Award in 2014.