Boundary Online Services: Expanding experience in VET

A common structure of the vocational education and training (VET) system in Switzerland is dual-track – students learn in schools for one or two days per week while they do apprenticeship at workplaces for the remaining days. Although the dual VET is considered as an effective system for developing professional competence, one of the challenges is on the richness of the experience. The practical experience gained from a workplace is often limited to the specific situations the apprentices are exposed to and it does not usually cover the whole spectrum of the practical experience related to the profession.

Given the situation, our interest is on how we can “expand the experience” of the learners in vocational education. We consider digital technologies as a means to approach the problem. What kind of activities can be designed in the expanded digital space? The idea that motivated this project is to expand the experience by generating and exploring digital variations of designs. In most design-related vocations, exposure to examples and design variations is an important part of learning. Exploring design variations can help the learners in acquiring a better understanding of the design space. We are currently exploring this idea with two professions – florists and gardeners.