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Belgium: the future of learning is dual, digital and international

The new dual learning (apprenticeship) system, focuses on innovation, digitalisation and (international) cooperation through different projects. The winners of the IdeaalDuaal competition are five apps in support of dual learning in Flanders.

The final round of the IdeaalDuaal competition was held at the Flemish Parliament in May 2018, and the five winning projects each received a EUR 20 000 cheque.

The competition was launched in November 2017 by Syntra Vlaanderen, the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training and manager of the work placement component of dual learning. IdeaalDuaal aims to foster innovative projects that promote dual learning by improving coordination of all parties involved. This is achieved by allowing learners and teachers from secondary education, entrepreneurs, employers and other stakeholders to come up with and develop digital apps directly. Getting all involved on the same page is essential to develop further the combined approach of the dual learning system that provides both in-class and work-based learning.

Of the 134 projects introduced in 2017, following a selection procedure, 20 were chosen to participate in the final round. Coaches included partners such as Microsoft, Imec and Adecco Group. The five winners are:

  • Discovery app – virtual reality as an awareness raising technology for dual learning;
  • Dualo – a workplace rating system;
  • iDuaal – a means of communication between all parties involved;
  • Kazi – allows young people and companies to be matched, in a broader sense than only direction – and location-based;
  • Talentcoach – mapping competences right from the start.

This first edition’s five winners are now further developing their ideas to obtain an interaction design, which will then lead to a first prototype. To gain insights into possible and practical implementation, a selected target audience will pilot the app.

Cooperating with Dutch counterparts to improve learner mobility

For the first time since the 2016 reform of dual learning in Flanders, Syntra Vlaanderen signed mid-September 2018 an international cooperation agreement with the Dutch Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market SBB (Nederlandse Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven). The two organisations have committed to enabling and encouraging cross-border learning paths for apprentices and within apprenticeship.

The current technological revolution has brought about significant and important economic changes. Education programmes need to adjust to this new economic reality and Syntra Vlaanderen, together with its Dutch counterparts, intends to integrate new technologies, notably in the framework of work placements of apprentices.