FACILICODE (Facilitated Work Based Learning)
Dissipation of the FWBL methodology to innovative continuing professional development
Where does RPL fit into FWBL?
The FACILICODE project is working specifically with engineering companies in relation to their own identified education, training and staff development needs. It is likely that staff in the pilot companies have a range of prior qualifications across VET and higher education. It is also likely that they have engaged in formal and informal training on-the-job in companies and in the industrial sector generally. Invariably staff in engineering companies are members of professional bodies and are regulated by them. Normally engineers engage in significant informal learning on work teams, through management and problem solving. Most are likely to have professional development plans and career pathways negotiated within companies.
So what is new in FWBL?
The FACILICODE project offers RPL as an element of its work-based learning model, principally to build the capacity of staff in the pilot companies in relation to their future training needs while at the same time enhancing the capacity of the company to build on existing knowledge, to generate new knowledge and solve future problems. The FWBL model does not necessarily focus on qualifications, education and training awards, but is can do so without loosing the added value of working directly with staff in companies. In particular the FWBL model encourages the competences of understanding, insight and problem-solving. Collaborative learning among staff in the company through FWBL encourages confidence in individual progression as well as adding to the general capacity of the company. FWBL contains a practical example of EU buzz-words about RPL such as responsiveness, tailor-made solutions, transferability and valorisation. RPL adds an extra dimension of valuing what is already learned and using it to move forward.
Quality Assurance of CPD
Although the FACILICODE project is mostly concerned with tailor-made CPD learning courses with all its different approaches and issues, it is becoming more and more obvious that the quality of any continuing education can be regarded as an important parameter when companies are considering investments in CPD, and that quality assurance will also be an important parameter for comparison between CPD providers. With many years of experience in developing quality assurance systems, Valencia University of Technology is developing a set of tools for quality control to assist the people performing the different phases of a FWBL CPD learning course. The quality focus is set on evaluation of the whole FWBL process. The most obvious issue to measure is whether the objectives of the competence development course have been reached; however, to evaluate the whole process all the phases must be evaluated and analysed from a quality perspective.
To do that, the following tools have been defined:
- Checklist for teachers
- Questionnaire to evaluate the learning objectives
- Questionnaire to evaluate the design and the implementation of the process
- Questionnaire to evaluate the effects of the training experience in the company (to be filled after the training period)
Table 1 shows the main characteristics of each one of these tools.