In September 2020, the Autonomous Province of Trento organized the Atelier of Learning, a "change laboratory" aiming at bringing together two or more agents of different professional communities to share their professional knowledge and, "crossing the boundaries" of their field, create new ones. The Atelier involved around 15 people (school and company tutors, managers of associations, service officers, etc.) who shared their experiences to create new strategies in the dual context. The Atelier, further improved with a Design Thinking approach, served both as a tool for the establishment of communities of practice and as an experiment to develop a new training programme for company’s tutors for the acquisition of skills on learning processes.
The Atelier of Learning, facilitated by the expert Prof. Maurizio Gentile (Associate Professor of Didactics and Special Pedagogy at the University of Rome LUMSA) was structured according to one webinar online and three workshops, each lasting 4 hours:
1. Webinar Online: the webinar involved the participants and the organizational staff to evaluate the impact of the information material previously sent by the expert and to get to know the participants. The information material (short-videos, presentations, worksheets, glossary of presentation concepts, mission of the Atelier) regarded the following topics: learning models, motivational models and evaluation cases relating to the training processes in the field of dual education.
2. 1st Design Thinking workshop: focused on the topic of preparing the students for the process of learning. Initial inputs by the facilitator: focus the attention of students, stimulating motivation before learning, call up previous knowledge, cultivate commitment and perseverance, learn in a work organization.
3. 2nd Design Thinking workshop: focused on the topic of defining and designing a process of learning. Initial inputs by the facilitator: schedule activities to realize with the apprentice, simulate possible scenarios to anticipate problems/errors, consider the characteristics and needs of the apprentice, define goals to achieve and share them, integrate the needs of production with the individual process of learning.
4. 3rd Design Thinking workshop: focused on the topic of implementing and evaluating the process of learning. Initial inputs by the facilitator: stimulate motivation for learning, monitor the application of the process learning (feedback), develop tools for formative assessment, use the results of the evaluation to improve learning, recognize and validate acquired skills to support horizontal and vertical permeability in the Trentino system and beyond.
Thanks to a Design Thinking approach, the participants in the Atelier of Learning workshops contributed to define a co-design strategy for managing the student's learning process in a dual context. This strategy includes four aspects:
1. the final user: the apprentice
2. three co-design critical moments of the dual learning process
a. Direct involvement of the in-company tutors and Profile of the Dual apprentice, distinguishing between two macro-categories: Fragile and Aware
b. Definition of extensive agreements on the territory (Networks) and Company Profiles (What is the ideal learning environment for that apprentice in that sector?)
c. Management and sharing of the training plan in the cognitive, motivational and evaluative aspects ("YES learning", "No training") carving out a tailor-made path
3. one result (the School-Company system co-designs dual education )
4. one long-run goal (attractiveness of dual training)
The Atelier of Learning was included as part of the "European Vocational Skills Week 2020" organized by the European Commission.