During the moths of October and November 2021, a student engagement activity to obtain direct feedback from lower and upper secondary VET students took place. The activity was presented as a Competence Hackathon to inspire pace and energy and to be more engaging for the target audience. The activity began with a brief survey in all participating countries, to reflect on the characteristics of effective learning, when students found learning easy and difficult and more or less enjoyable, and the competences they identified as the most important, both in education and after graduation. Following this, students were asked to rate how much they applied the competences identified in 2BDigital framework when learning online, and to rate their importance, or highlight anything missing. After this online survey a virtual or face-to-face session was carried out, when lock-down situation allowed it, to further discuss the results of the hackathon survey, and the key competences for online learning.

Some 83 participants (VET students and youth training programme students) from the different project countries participated with their feedback in the survey, and 4 sessions were developed in VET centres and online.

The main findings and conclusions from this activity were that generally students enjoy learning when their teachers are motivated, and guide them in their learning process, with an important practical orientation, related to real life situations. Students still feel and state that transversal competences are not developed in the education centres and subjects. This, in many cases seems to depend upon the teacher, however in the majority of subjects transversal competence development is not considered a priority.

Among the competences found as crucial for learning, communication, teamwork and problem solving were found key in all countries. Also, ethical and sustainable thinking, related to tolerance, respect and empathy, was pointed out as something basic in order to communicate and collaborate in learning contexts, and generally in life.  Creativity and problem solving, planning and organization, and autonomy were also stated as key when learning online, together with responsibility, for a trustful use of digital environments.

Collaboration online is seen as something important but complicated, and experiences on this side have not always been positive, which leads them to prioritise autonomy in online learning environments. However, an important consideration was also raised concerning the importance of well-being in online learning, and how working alone in front of a computer, without establishing relations may have negative consequences for students. Digital well-being, and the capacity to disconnect from the online environment is also considered as a priority.

Generally, students find the framework makes sense, and think it contains the main competences needed for learning and working in the digital age.

The 2BDigital project team would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions to the sessions, and in helping shape the framework.

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