D. Gramß, N. Weiß, P. Pillath

University of Applied Management (GERMANY)
Digitalization is changing work environments for organizations and their employees tremendously. Lots of jobs and work procedures are becoming digitalized. Operational jobs are at risk of being automated. Therefore, new skills are required to meet the changing demands of the workplace. This leads to a particularly high training demand of employees, so they can ensure their employability. In addition, the way of learning is changing fundamentally, too. Digital learning has become one of the most popular learning formats in vocational training. It enables learning on-demand and a high flexibility in terms of where and when learning takes place. This is a great opportunity for employees who, up to now, hardly participated in traditional training. However, digital learning requires new competencies such as IT skills, handling digital data and digital collaboration skills which are summarized as media competencies here. Studies so far have shown that especially employees who are working in operations have lower media competencies (Curtarelli & Gualtieri, 2014). Therefore, media competencies are essential for learning successfully with digital learning formats.

Baacke has developed a model of media competencies describing these with four dimensions: media critique, media science, media usage and media design (Baacke, Kornblum, Lauffer, Mikos, & Thiele, 1999). This is complemented by new approaches such as digital competence, digital literacy and digital intelligence. Hence, a new holistic and integrated model of media competencies has been developed for this project.

The project MeQ:ino focuses on employees who are working in operations and are rather new to digital learning. Based on the holistic media competencies model, the following triadic approach has been developed to develop employees’ media competencies: encourage, enable and engage.

First, encourage aims to inspire employees. By presenting digital learning riddles in an escape room, learning how to use digital tools and devices becomes gamified and the fear of using digital devices can be reduced.

Secondly, enable means employees get a set of online learning nuggets to continue their learning journey. These nuggets are primarily developed according to the model of media competencies.

Finally, supported by the project team, employees are being engaged to develop digital learning modules themselves for their own businesses. Being guided by the principle “from employees – for employees”, the selection and creation of learning contents ensures the focus on employees’ demands.

This approach is currently being applied in different companies and primarily addresses sales and production staff as well as gardeners. Up to now, these have largely been excluded from traditional vocational training due to their organization’s operational structures. Developing media competencies will enable them to benefit from flexible digital learning to meet the requirements of a rapidly changing world that is likely to alter their jobs in the future, soon.

[1] Baacke, D., Kornblum, S., Lauffer, J., Mikos, L., & Thiele, G. A. (1999). Handbuch Medien: Medienkompetenz: Modelle und Projekte. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.
[2]Curtarelli, M., & Gualtieri, V. (2014). ICT for work: Digital skills in the workplace.