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Finland is one step closer to ECVET


Optima Formula 1: On the model car track, the speed of one car is controlled by a PLC with an analogue exit and the other car’s speed is controlled manually. The students had the target to optimize the speed through the curves.

The Finnish weather was at its best when Christian Dahlin, vocational teacher at Optima, Finland, greeted six European mobility students in January 2013. The temperature during the day was between -5 and -8 Celsius and there was no wind, plenty of snow and white frost in the trees.

- It was a lovely experience having them here, Christian Dahlin says, but I must admit I felt a bit tense before they arrived.

There were plenty of things to organise before the two week mobility; the classes, picking them up at the airport and evening activities. But the timing was good since most of his ordinary students were away at internship.

It was difficult on beforehand to know what the mobility students were capable of. He soon discovered that they were really good at certain things, but had difficulties at others.

- But I noticed how they grew with the tasks during the two weeks, says Christian Dahlin.

 

The assessment procedure is different in all partner countries

The EURIAC project has developed four educational units in industrial automation. Working with analogue signals was the focus of the unit taught in Finland. The four vocational teachers in the project have together designed the learning outcomes for each of the units.

>> See the units here!

Christian Dahlin thinks the training worked out quite well.

- I went through the learning outcomes with the students at the end of the mobility and they agreed upon that they had achieved the goals.

The other vocational teachers involved in the EURIAC project participated for a few days in the mobility in Finland to discuss and evaluate the training.  The teachers are still working on the assessment scheme – how to assess the students’ knowledge, skills and competences. The discussions about assessment have proved both difficult and very interesting since the teachers have very different experiences of and requirements on assessment. 

For instance, the use of different grading systems in each country creates challenges. In the Netherlands students receive a pass or fail whereas in Sweden there is a differentiated scale A-F.  In the EURIAC project, the team members will try to come up with a general matrix focusing on professional practice characteristics to be used for assessment. It will be a challenge. Knowledge can be assessed using a theoretical test, but how do you evaluate practical skills and competences?

 

ECVET is designed for vocational education

The EURIAC units are based on the European educational framework ECVET. In the beginning of the project, most participants in the project had little knowledge about ECVET. After one and a half years, Christian Dahlin feels much more comfortable with the framework.

- When somebody now asks me what ECVET is, I explain it is like EURO for education.  I don’t have to change money when I go abroad. I have the right currency.

Finland has decided to implement ECVET in Vocational and Educational training by 2015. Christian Dahlin believes that he, thanks to the experiences he has made in the EURIAC project, is much more prepared and also more positive than his colleagues at home to the introduction of ECVET.

 

A learning experience also for teachers

As a teacher it was informative for Christian Dahlin to have foreign students in his classroom and see how they reacted and acted on his teaching.

- But I learned the most as a teacher when I attended the other mobilities, Christian Dahlin emphasizes.

Watching his colleagues teach has provided new perspectives on pedagogical approach and assessment. For instance, to see how his Swedish colleague Kenneth Karlsson teaches and coaches students to work independently made great impressions on him.

When it comes to knowledge, Christian Dahlin thinks the Finnish students are at a higher level, but the Finnish school system has something to learn from Sweden on how to foster independent students.

- These two weeks have been the most valuable during my years as a teacher, Christian Dahlin sums up.

While the students in the European class in Finland were carrying out the training, the rumor spread to the students back home how much fun they were having! As a result, there are 6 eager students from Spain, Finland, and the Netherlands waiting to go to Sweden to participate in the final European class.

 

If you want to know more about the unit of learning outcomes carried out at Optima, please contact:
Christian Dahlin, vocational and educational teacher at Optima
Phone: + 35 844 721 51 56
E-mail: christian.dahlin@optimaedu.fi

 


During the weekend Christian Dahlin arranged an appreciated day with snowmobiles.