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By Paul Guest | Expert Consultant to NetECVET and Rinske Stelwagen | Dutch National Agency for LLP and Erasmus+. The ECVET Mobility Toolkit
Practical support for integrating ECVET into new or existing mobility practice
It has been almost five years since the recommendation on the establishment of a European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) confirmed common ECVET principles, provided detailed technical specifications and recommended the wider promotion and implementation of ECVET by all Member States. In that time, a wide range of bodies and organisations have been involved in translating these core principles and technical specifications into practical processes, and tools, able to be used by vocational education and training practitioners at all levels.
In 2011, a group of 14 National Agencies for the Lifelong Learning Programme came together, under the leadership of the German National Agency (NA BIBB), to form the thematic network NetECVET. NetECVET partners adopted a bottom-up approach in the network, targeting practical solutions for mobility practitioners wishing to introduce ECVET to new or existing mobility practice.
Whilst the latest phase of network activity came to a close at the end of 2013, NetECVET leaves behind a successful legacy in the form of an ECVET Mobility Toolkit. The Toolkit provides an online platform of tools, examples, information and resources to support the gradual introduction of ECVET into new or existing mobility practices.
ECVET assistance for education and training providers
The Toolkit was ultimately designed to assist vocational education and training providers, and others working in the field of transnational mobility, in introducing one or more ECVET principles to existing mobility projects and programmes. Since launching the Toolkit to a wider stakeholder audience (Brussels, October 2013), we expect that many other individuals and organisations working to increase knowledge and awareness on ECVET will also begin to promote and make active use of the Toolkit - an example being those working in national funding agencies and those forming a part of national ECVET teams.
A common frame of reference on ‘ECVET and Mobility’
The Toolkit provides a common platform for all vocational education and training actors, in Europe, in the area of ECVET and Mobility. Users can access an introductory section in which the background to, and history of, ECVET is succinctly explained. Alternatively, users can go straight to the core ECVET Toolkit: there they can access dedicated chapters on ECVET Preparation, Partnership Building and Quality Assurance. Users can also work, systematically, through the most important steps associated with the planning, implementation and follow-up of ECVET in Geographical Mobility (Before Mobility, During Mobility and After Mobility).
The Toolkit provides introductory texts, tools, templates, checklists and examples of how to use ECVET in practice. Additional, video interviews show experienced mobility practitioners, from different countries, presenting their own experiences of using ECVET.
Not covered by the Toolkit are more generic mobility topics (non-ECVET), and ECVET-related developments not addressing geographical mobility, with numerous platforms and resources already dedicated to these matters.
ECVET: a step-by-step process towards higher quality mobility It is important to begin by reflecting on existing mobility practice - consider the importance of international mobility to your learners, what works well in existing mobility practice and how you might further develop your mobility projects and programmes.
Beyond this, start to explore the Toolkit - a user guide is provided to help you navigate your way through and checklists are provided confirming both key actors and key actions. Ask yourself, along the way, what is new, what needs to change and what additional opportunities ECVET might provide. In terms of partnership development, it is important to confirm a willingness with (new and existing) partners to experiment with ECVET, to decide which elements of ECVET you might implement together and which other actors might need to participate, embedding this into a common agreement (Memorandum of Understanding).
From an implementation perspective, consider each of the mobility phases (before, during and after mobility) and the changes that that ECVET might require. Use pilot phases to test with actual mobility participants (students, teachers) and make use of the many checklists, tools and examples provided in the Toolkit. As with all quality-assured processes, it is important to evaluate your experiences with local, national and international partners, and mobility participants, confirming the benefits of ECVET for your mobility project or programme, recognising successes and identifying any areas for future improvement.
Quick access to tools for experienced users
Admittedly, some actors have been working with ECVET in Mobility for a number of years and are already starting to build experience. In this respect, easy access is provided to the tools, examples and further reading that feature within the various chapters of the Toolkit, by simply entering the Tools, Examples and More section. Here, users can quickly work through the different tools and materials, finding that which best serves their ECVET development needs. This section additionally provides a common glossary of key terms and a searchable database of learning outcomes descriptors, the latter building on past-funded ECVET developments in many European countries and sectors. Télécharger la newsletter.