1 University Rovira i Virgili (SPAIN)
2 Fundación Bosch i Gimpera (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 141-144
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0051
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
We can find a plethora of (almost) synonyms to refer to the concepts of dual education (apprenticeship, work-based learning, on-the-job training, blended education…). The objective of this work is to develop dual learning programs in higher education that combine work-based learning in a company and class-based learning in the same course following the principles of evaluation by competences.

Dual learning is regulated in many countries (i.e., at least one pathway offers a combination of work-based learning and school based learning in the vast majority of EU countries), but its practical application is very marginal, except in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (and recently in South Korea). Analyzing the approach followed in most countries, we can conclude that there is no single model of dual learning in the EU, but a continuum of types of programs that integrate work-based learning.

The advantages of dual educational systems are clearly far beyond any reasonable doubt, as all evidences indicate that any learning-by-doing methodology has a very positive effect fixing learning outcomes. The main handicap of dual learning is that when developing/implementing those schemes, significant time is required before the benefits/improvements are obvious or measureable.

All programs define the learning outcomes in accordance with the national framework with compliance of the European Qualification Framework. All partners use the competence approach and professionalization of education, one of the cornerstones of the Bologna process (student centered approach). In addition, programs are developed including compatibility the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The basis for calculating the volume of credits taken is given by the ECTS recommendations followed at the EU. Also, compatibility with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance, are used.

In the TEEDE ERASMUS+ project (Towards Excellence in Engineering Curricula for Dual Education), dual programs are developed/under development in the different partner universities , where regional needs analysis involving the stakeholders (i.e., university, companies, HE regulator…) is done. Each partner is developing/developed higher education programs, deciding to develop a new program or modify existing) and the practical implantation aspects (i.e., it might be offered as a parallel track to a school-based scheme or not). So far, 12 BSc, 7 MSc and 1 PhD programs of all branches of engineering are under development, developed (but waiting for official approval) or running.

The vocational drift of higher education institutions (HEI) is observable by a stronger integration of practical learning in higher education (HE) and an increasing demand of work based learning. But, often, it is not adequately reflected in changes in the learning environment. Despite the difference of all partner countries covered by the TEEDE project, all higher education apprenticeship systems shared common challenges:
- Enhance cooperation between HEIs and non-academic organisations to develop dual curriculum, with an adequate combination of theoretical and practical elements identifying the learning opportunities in the work process.
- Quality of HE (and work placement) through improving the tutorship. Tutors (from both, industry and academia) are the key element for the quality and sustainability of dual programs. Providing learning material/modules/guidance will better valorise this function.
Dual learning, engineering higher education, blended education, Apprenticeships, Work-based Learning, Regional Economic Development.