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The Leading House DUAL-T is a research project funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

The potential of learning technologies in vocational training goes beyond traditional e-learning approaches. DUAL-T explores learning activities that are relevant to the dual contexts of vocational education, workplace and school. The first phase of research enabled us to identify specific needs of dual training that could benefit from technology enhanced learning. We encountered multiple instances of what we called the “skills gap”, that is situations where the apprentices do not have the opportunity to practice at their workplace the skills that have been defined as objectives by the vocational training system.

DUAL-T considers technologies as “bridges” over the skills gap. The central hypothesis is that digital technologies will improve school effectiveness by connecting workplace experience to classroom reflective activities. The effectiveness of learning technologies will depend on the extent to which they support activities that target key cognitive skills (self-regulation, reflection and abstraction) without disconnecting these skills from the professional context.

The research hypotheses and objectives of the Dual-T leading house are encapsulated in the concept of the Erfahrraum(combining the German words “experience” and “space”). It differs from most research on e-learning: technologies are not used for accessing on-line instructional materials but for augmenting co-present educational interactions, namely by enabling teachers to conduct rich learning activities. The “Erfahrraum” does not refer to a specific piece of software that would integrate all pedagogical activities. It describes multiple technologies and activities that create a shared space to facilitate learning through reflection on experiences made in different contexts. More details about the Erfahrraum model can be found in the 2015 JVET article.

DUAL-T is a Leading House of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The Leading House is chaired by Prof. Pierre Dillenbourg and coordinated by Dr. Catharine Oertel.


Click on the research topic to access the project page.

Current DUAL-T projects

Research topic Domain/Profession Research group(s)
Pict & Mark: Exploiting the potentials of pictures and markers Multiple SFIVET
Boundary On Line Services Multiple EPFL CHILI
Detecting latent training needs from digital traces Multiple EPFL CHILI
InterTrain: Interpersonal Communication Training for Vocational Education Multiple EPFL CHILI
REALTO: Online learning platform for VET Multiple EPFL CHILI/ University of Fribourg/ SFIVET

Completed DUAL-T projects

Research topic Domain/Profession Research group(s)
Survey of use of learning documentaries in VET Multiple University of FribourgSFIVET
Carpenters: 3D geometry Carpentry EPFL CHILI
Carpenters: Statics Carpentry EPFL CHILI
Computer-supported collaborative writing and competence development portfolio Health education University of Geneva
Collaborative writing to learn procedures Commercial employees EHB Lugano, University of Geneva
Collecting “meaningful experiences” from the workplace using portable ICT devices Car mechanics, chefs, bakers EHB Lugano, University of Fribourg
Tangible interface activities for warehouse design using the Tinkerlamp Logistics EPFL CHILI