In an era of rapid digitalization, it is crucial to equip vocational education and training (VET) educators with the necessary skills to deliver quality training in online and hybrid learning environments. The BEYOND ZOOM project aims to contribute to digital transformation by enhancing the competencies and capacities of VET educators. Through a partnership of seven organizations across Europe, BEYOND ZOOM strives to increase digital readiness, resilience, and capacity among educators, ensuring inclusive and high-quality training opportunities in the digital realm.
Objectives of BEYOND ZOOM
BEYOND ZOOM has outlined several objectives to achieve its aim of enhancing VET educators’ competencies in online and hybrid teaching and learning environments:
1. Knowledge Enhancement: Increase knowledge of best practices in online and hybrid VET delivery and synthesize the results for wider dissemination.
2. Support for VET Educators: Provide support to VET educators in delivering training and educational activities in online and hybrid environments.
3. Educational Resource Availability: Increase the availability of educational resources that assist VET educators in adapting offline training to online and hybrid settings.
4. Skills Improvement: Improve the skills and expertise of VET educators in facilitating inclusive quality learning processes in both online and hybrid spaces.
5. Policy Support: Assist policymakers in understanding the need for national and pan-European accreditation for digital facilitation skills training and contribute to the definition of micro-credentials.
To accomplish the objectives, the BEYOND ZOOM project has formed a partnership consisting of seven organizations from Germany, Poland, Sweden, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, and Ireland. Each organization brings digital education skills and expertise in VET and civic society settings. The project activities are structured into work packages (WPs) to ensure effective implementation:
WP1: Project Management, Quality Assurance, and Evaluation: This ongoing work package ensures smooth project delivery, time and budget control, and maintains the quality of results and impact.
WP2: Sharing, Promotion, and Use of the Project’s Results: This work package focuses on disseminating the project progress and results, closely linked to WP3.
WP3: Research and Stakeholder Engagement: Responsible for coordinating research activities and engaging relevant stakeholders, WP3 ensures fruitful feedback is integrated into project implementation and develops a sustainability roadmap.
WP4: Pedagogy and Training Delivery: This work package provides pedagogic guidance, curriculum development, and facilitates staff training, aiming to enhance VET professionals’ digital facilitation skills.
WP5: Digital/E-Learning Resources and Synthesis: This work package delivers digital/e-learning resources to support VET educators in developing digital competencies. It also synthesizes the project’s learning into a position paper.
Concrete Results of BEYOND ZOOM
BEYOND ZOOM aims to deliver the following results to address the digital competencies skills gap in VET professionals:
Result 1: A report on existing online and hybrid delivery approaches/case studies, synthesizing key findings from research seminars and stakeholder presentations.
Result 2: A training-the-trainer curriculum for VET educators in online and hybrid facilitation skills, providing a framework for adapting training programs to digital environments.
Result 3: Digital/e-learning resources supporting VET educators in developing digital competencies for online and hybrid settings, presented in various media formats.
Result 4: A position paper proposing pan-European core competencies benchmarks for VET professionals in online and hybrid learning facilitation skills, contributing to the definition of micro-credentials.
In addition, the partnership will organize a four-day training activity to equip VET professionals with the necessary skills to facilitate online and hybrid learning environments, fostering peer-to-peer learning and skill-sharing.
BEYOND ZOOM takes a significant step towards empowering VET educators in the digital era. Through research, training, resource development, and stakeholder engagement, the project aims to bridge the digital skills gap and promote effective teaching and learning in online and hybrid environments. By contributing to the definition of pan-European core competencies and micro-credentials, BEYOND ZOOM strives to elevate the quality and impact of VET education across Europe, ensuring a successful digital transformation in the field.