The MIND+ project 2018-21 is implemented as a part of the umbrella project Reform of VET 2016-21. Its aim is to develop and test individualisation models of pedagogical processes, including effective approaches, actions and activities. It supports school development teams in organising more flexible learning environments and optimal pathways for each student.
Even though the principles of individualisation, differentiation and inclusiveness are strongly supported in national policies, inclusive and learner-centred pedagogies could be better affirmed at school level where curricula are regulative. There is a lack of systemic support at school level for teachers on how to organise and offer a learner-centred pedagogical process.
The review of existing pedagogical practices in the selected school teams was made to identify current practices. Interviews with the headmasters and teachers, lesson observations and learners’ own opinion of their learning experience revealed that some elements of individualisation already exist. Consequently, a model has been developed to suit the Slovenian school system. Schools will be able to prepare individual learning plans for learners and recognise their diverse needs in the education process.
The individual learning plan is the central point of the model and includes various questions, available for use by the pilot schools in the project. The responses to these questions are the basis for communication between teachers, other professional workers and students. They also enable teachers and trainers to recognise the individual needs of a student according to their prior learning, strengths, weaknesses and interests. Preparing a systematic individual learning plan for each student will help teachers and trainers to organise effective lessons using personalised teaching methods, according to curricula and the competences that students need to develop.
Piloting and supporting
Following the first evaluation of the developing model, the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for VET drafted recommendations for VET organisations and teachers containing criteria and indicators of individualisation. Defining module learning outcomes and developing learning and training standards for schools and work-based learning motivate teachers and other professional staff to think about and self-evaluate their teaching practice. This is also the basis for improving their future work. Bringing those missing elements to a more systematic level takes time. Once a successful model is established, guidelines for VET organisations, teachers and other professional staff can be prepared and disseminated to other VET schools and organisations.