The issue: Why effective training methods are essential for quality apprenticeships
Effective, impactful apprenticeship training often requires a personalized approach, in which each apprentice is seen as an individual with unique training needs. There is no single standardized training method that guarantees the success of apprenticeship programmes. Therefore, both teachers in TVET providers and in-CTs in enterprises should be trained in using a variety of training and teaching methods (see section "Preparing staff to train and mentor apprentices"). They should choose the training methods that are most appropriate to the specific context and adapt them to the individual needs of the apprentice. The following paragraph lists several effective training methods.
Effective learning methods
The City & Guilds Alliance for Vocational Education recommends the following nine learning methods that work for vocational education (Tool "Teaching and training methods in apprenticeship: A review of research", pp. 12–13).
- Learning from experts – by watching and imitating and by listening, transcribing and remembering.
- Practising – through trial and error, experimentation or discovery and deliberate practice.
- Hands-on – by making, by drafting and by sketching.
- Applying feedback to learning – using assessment to inform learning approaches, through conversation, by reflecting and by teaching and helping others.
- One-to-one – by being coached and mentored.
- Real-world learning – by real-world problem solving, through personal or collaborative enquiry and by thinking critically and producing knowledge.
- Against the clock – by competing, through simulation and role play and through games.
- Online – through virtual environments and seamlessly blending virtual with face-to-face learning environments.
- Any time – on the fly. This last category is a simple reminder that much of what apprentices learn is not planned, stressing instead the need for them to be ready to learn. “On the fly” learning is unplanned and informal, the result of an unexpected occurrence from which a lesson can be learned.
Methodologies like the project-based training method, illustrated in figure 5.3, enable more flexible learning, which is especially helpful for allowing apprentices to master complex tasks independently (see also the video link).
Video: Action-oriented vocational training steps,https://www.bibb.de/govet/en/98265.php
Figure 5.3 The project-based method: learning the complete work process
Source: Based on BIBB, n.d.
Another training method used in apprenticeship is the four-step method of training and learning. With the four-step method, a training programme can be developed for a workplace to provide a conducive learning environment for the trainee. As illustrated in figure 5.4, the trainer first explains and demonstrates the training content, as trainees and apprentices learn passively by listening and watching. Apprentices’ learning is then strengthened through imitating their trainers. The method requires trainers to provide direct guidance and continuous feedback to apprentices.
Figure 5.4 The four-step method of training and learning
Source: Authors’ own figure, based on information provided by Dr Frank Wenghöfer, Dresden Technical University.