1 KTH Royal Institute of Technology (SWEDEN)
2 Aalborg University (DENMARK)
3 Institute of Industrial Engineers (IRELAND)
5 International Industrial Consult IIC AG (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7538-7545
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
To have the “right” competence for a specific work task has become very important in a world of high competition, continuous developments and fast changes. Without the necessary skills to handle a task the future for an enterprise can easy become uncertain. Since time is limited the process of acquiring relevant competence has to be efficient. There are many ways to build up knowledge in a new field. A common practice is to let the employees take courses in house or outside the company. The knowledge providers for these activities are typically learning institutes, educational companies or universities.

The WBL-IE project presents a model that focuses on SME´s and work based learning, where tailor made learning activities play an important role. This model tries to pin- point the key educational areas of interest for the actual company. The start point is to find out the specific needs that the enterprise has and what complimentary skills and competences are necessary to strengthen, broaden and make better use of the knowledge that already exist within the company.

The WBL-IE project target small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) with less than 250 employees. Characteristic for these companies are that they have slimmed organisations and often no real focus on Continuous Engineering Education (CEE). Education activities are therefore closely linked to short term requirements and actions. The SME´s are acting on a high competitive market and often need to make very prompt decisions based on strategic choices.

The WBL-IE work is based on earlier research in education modes in industrial engineering. One of the most interesting findings came from an interview campaign regarding continuous education in SMEs active in industrial engineering. Very few of the companies if any had a plan for their competence development to present. But at a deeper analysis you could find an important number of learning activities going on. There was in fact an unwritten competence development plan. This means that SMEs already have a competence development process going on. With this observation in mind a new approach to the implementation of education activities in SMEs was developed, the WBL-IE concept.

The WBL-IE concept starts with an interview session with a number of stakeholders in the company organization. The interviews are made after a guide especially developed by WBL-IE with the goal the give a realistic and complete picture of the many different learning processes going on in the organization.

The role of WBL-IE is both to introduce the concept and implement and maintain it. The role means to have resources for analysing, proposing and supporting the competence development in SMEs active in industrial engineering. One of the most important factors in the implementation is the facilitator. The facilitator is a person with the ability to enhance the different learning processes in the company.

The concept of WBL-IE model involves creating a learning environment that promotes focused learning in different settings. To meet the stakeholder on her/his home arena gives a deeper understanding of the companies’ situation and in which direction they are aiming at. A thorough understanding of the current state will help the stakeholder and the facilitator to pin point key issues to address and together develop a plan that will be beneficial for the company.

A program for pilot tests is running and findings/results will be reported.
Work Based Learning, Industrial Engineering, Continuous Education, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.