Belarus: one of the finalists of the ETF Innovation and Skills Award 2020
The Republican Institute for Vocational Education (RIPO) has influence and impact that reaches far beyond its network of five top vocational training colleges and a renewable energy resource centre at Minsk's "Volma" Eco-Technopark.
From its HQ in Karl Liebknecht Street in the Belarusian capital, RIPO is involved in its own quiet, digital revolution, fomenting change in teaching methods to meet the fast shifting demands of 21st century skills training.
Although continuous professional development of the 4,000 staff at its network of colleges involved in teaching construction, mechanical engineering, car service, road construction, food processing and renewable energy sources, is at the heart of its mission, it also trains vocational teachers from institutions in Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Nigeria, India and other countries.
It is this reach - and its roles as a UNESCO-UNEVOC National Centre for technical vocational education training (TVET), the National Coordinator in Belarus for the European Training Foundation's Torino Process (a VET policy analysis and reform tool) and national operator of the EU WorldSkills programme, that make it - as it proudly proclaims - "the only multifunctional education institution in the Eurasian economic space".
It's newly developed programme in skills upgrading: "The Use of Interactive, Multimedia and Cloud Technologies in the Educational Process" is what makes it one of two nominees for the European Training Foundation Innovation and Skills Award during the European Vocational Skills Week (November 9-13).
The programme, aimed at teachers, methodologists, training institutions and training experts, has an approach characterised by:
- strong involvement of learners in the learning process through join development of assessment criteria and individual learning plans based on existing skills levels
- combined digital tools and digital teaching method training
- competence development through project-based learning
- peer learning within groups of learners and with more experienced practitioners online
"Special attention is paid to the formation of practical skills in the development and implementation of training sessions using the Internet, multimedia and cloud technologies; design and creation of online documents; organization and implementation of professional communication using virtual software solutions," says RIPO rector, Valery Golubovsky.
Learning outcomes from the course include ensuring teachers have a good understanding of both the opportunities and constraints offered by multimedia and cloud technologies and the use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom environment, she adds.
The course enables teachers and trainers to design modern multimedia lessons based on sound digital teaching practices, to develop and implement lesson plans using internet resources, design and create online documents and a range of other digital teaching skills.
The modular design of the course and opportunities for peer learning means the training can be tailored to the needs of teachers with widely ranging prior digital skills levels, that builds on existing knowledge and experience.
"Every teacher has the potential to master this programme," Mr Golubovsky adds. "Course instructors create the conditions for the realization and improvement of the potential of each participant, and provide full support to motivated teachers."
The ETF Innovation and Skills Award celebrates examples of good practice in teaching and learning for digital competence development. Learning design and new/innovative approaches to the development of digital competences are the key selection criteria. Voting is open until November 10, with 50% of the vote weighting from a public vote and 50% from the ETF selection committee.