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Practically all digital: training in times of Corona

Exchange between German and African vocational school teachers is also possible during the pandemic: A digital platform with interactive teaching material is now available for the education and training of prospective solar installers in Africa.

VET4Africa has trained almost 100 vocational school teachers from Africa as multipliers for training in the construction of photovoltaic systems over the past two years.

The VET4Africa education project is implemented by the Bildungswerk der Bayerischen Wirtschaft (bbw) in close cooperation with the municipality of Wildpoldsried and with financial support from Green People’s Energy. Committed vocational schools in Bavaria participate in the project during the trainings as well as in the context of mentoring assignments in the participants’ home countries. So far, the trainings have taken place at the Ecological Education Centre Wildpoldsried. But what can be done when, due to the current travel restrictions, face-to-face events are no longer possible?

In the course of several editorial meetings, the participating German vocational school teachers, together with experts, digitised the contents of the course “Modular Photovoltaic Training System” and also made use of the worldwide learning platform Moodle. The result is an interactive, digital training format with which vocational school teachers can be trained online as trainers and further accompanied remotely from Germany.

The basis of the new digital content is the modular photovoltaic training system designed by VET4Africa, which serves as an introduction to the field of photovoltaic energy production. In addition to theoretical basics of electrical and energy technology, African vocational students are to be taught knowledge about the special features of photovoltaics. In particular, the practical part (e.g. the assembly of solar panels, batteries, and charge controllers into a functioning photovoltaic energy system) helps vocational school students to combine theoretical knowledge with practical work by practising manual skills and deepening the theoretical learning objectives. With the new format, vocational school teachers now receive digital teaching materials to convey the necessary theoretical knowledge but also practical examples in a hands-on way. For example, short videos provide varied explanations of complex issues. A workbook on assignments including solutions – with digital exercises or teaching material linked by means of a barcode – has been written. The content is made available on the knowledge platform Moodle and can now be used as often as desired in lessons all over the world.

This year, multipliers already trained in Wildpoldsried will be instructed in the optimal use of the new digital platform. With the help of the German vocational school teachers, they will in future train further teachers, pupils and students in their countries in the basic principles of photovoltaics on site or as a hybrid event.