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Learning in every way...

A core element of the Steer to Career project is learning, but when we think about learning it normally conjures up an image of a classroom or textbook. We will look beyond that stereotype.

We know the world of work is changing. There's more flexibility for when you work, where you work and how you work, and this has a knock-on effect for vocational learning. No longer can we think about the classroom environment; like all other workers professional drivers have more flexibility and access to different ways of learning, so it's important that we tap into that and predict, through stakeholder interviews, workshops and desktop research, how on-the-job learning will be in years to come.

However, first we need to identify the differences between the learning environment, often categorised by the terms 'formal, 'informal' and 'non-formal' learning. But what do those terms mean exactly?

Well, according to CEDEFOP (the European Centre for Vocation and Training) it can be defined in the following way;

Formal learning “Learning typically provided by an education or training institution, structured (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support) and leading to certification. Formal learning is intentional from the learner’s perspective.”

Informal learning “Learning resulting from daily work-related, family or leisure activities. It is not organised or structured (in terms of objectives, time or support). Informal learning is in most cases unintentional from the learner’s perspective. It typically does not lead to certification.”

Non-formal learning “Learning which is embedded in planned activities not explicitly designated as learning (in terms of objectives, time or support), but which contain an important learning element. Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view. It typically does not lead to certification.”

At this stage it's fair to suggest that there will be a rise in the amount of informal and non-formal learning through the changing ways that people are doing a job, and that the rigid, scheduled environment of formal learning will need to change drastically, at least in terms of vocational education.

It is reasonable to predict that a widely-recognised certification/qualification system will need to be developed for non-formal learning, and that there will eventually be parity in the perception of formal and non-formal learning, although quality will dictate how quickly this can be achieved.

In any case having defined terms for the learning environment helps to provide a basis on which to develop concepts, understand tools and technology and further develop curricula to adapt to the changing world, which is why our consortium will make use of these definitions to help guide and inform the work.

Our project will explore the myriad of occupations and job profiles in the road transport sector and there's no doubt that we'll need a better understanding of how these profiles are likely to change in the future. Once we know that then it will be possible to start developing curricula which accounts for not only skills and competences but also the learning environment.