Collecting meaningful VET experiences using mobile devices

DUAL-T project 5: Collecting ‘meaningful experiences’ from the workplace using portable ICT devices


This project aims at exploring the potential of light portable ICT devices 1. to help apprentices capture meaningful experiences realized at the workplace and to store them in an electronic portfolio and 2. to provide materials to be used for learning activities at school by teachers.

More specifically, the project will address the following research questions:

1. What kind of portable ICT devices can best serve as tools (1) to capture experiences made at the workplace and (2) to store images of these experiences throughout their training?

2. How can teachers make use at school of the “evidence” captured at the workplace using portable ICT?

In project 5, experiences from the workplace are captured as photos or videos by means of smartphones or headband cameras. Where possible, the possibility is given to upload captured experiences into an online learning journal where they are available for teachers to prepare learning activities and/or for apprentices to use the material when engaging in further reflection, alone or with their supervisor. The learning journal proposes prompts to stimulate the reflection and the application of learning strategies.

Learning activities at school integrate the captured experiences for a multitude of functions, like compare experiences from different companies, illustrate well done or failed work examples, evaluate the quality of a product or a process, find explanations for high or low quality of work done etc. The teacher tested different learning scenarios, alternating individual, group and class activities.

This video shows the online learning environment (in German ‘Lern- Leistungsdokumentation (LLD) for chef apprentices



We involved three different professions (car mechanics, chefs, bakers). First of all we tested the feasibility of the model, using both headband cameras to collect short videos and smartphones to collect pictures. Questionnaires were regularly submitted to assess apprentices’ perceived ease of use of the devices and perceived usefulness and satisfaction of the learning activities. With teachers we progressively tested different learning scenarios. When possible, we used at least a second classroom as a control group to be contrasted to the experimental class; in this case, results to declarative knowledge tests were mainly used as preliminary learning outcomes.

The project is part of the Dual-T Leading House “Technologies for VET” funded by SERI.

Duration     October 2009 – October 2013


Project Leader 

Alberto Cattaneo



Alberto Cattaneo, Elisa Motta


Institutional Partner 


Université de Fribourg, prof. Jean-Luc Gurtner



Aprea, C., Arn, C., Boldrini, E., Cattaneo, A., Motta, E., Sroka, A. (2012).  Digitale Technologien als Tools zur Förderung der Konnektivität des Lernens in Schule und Betrieb. In U. Fasshauer, B. Fürstenau und E. Wuttke (Hrsg.). Berufs- und wirtschaftspädagogische Analysen. Aktuelle Forschungen zur beruflichen Bildung. Opladen. S. 61-73.

Cattaneo, A., & Aprea, C. (2014). Using technologies to integrate vocational learning in multiple contexts. In V. C. X. Wang (Ed.),Handbook of Research on Education and Technology in a Changing Society. Hershey, PA: IGI-Global.

Mauroux, L., Dehler Zufferey, J., Jimenez, F., Wehren, R., Cattaneo, A. & Gurtner, J.-L. (2013). Autorégulation des apprentissages et dossiers de formation en formation professionnelle. In J.-L. Berger & F. P. Büchel (Eds.), L’apprentissage autorégulé : perspectives théoriques et recherches empiriques (pp. 195–227).  Nice: Ovadia.

Motta, E., Boldrini, E., & Cattaneo, A. (2013). Technologies to “bridge the gap” among learning contexts in vocational training. In P. M. Pumilia-Gnarini, E. Favaron, E. Pacetti, J. Bishop & L. Guerra (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements (2 Volumes), pp. 247-265.  Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Motta, E., Cattaneo, A., & Gurtner, J.-L. (2014).  Mobile devices to bridge the gap in VET: ease of use and usefulness as indicators for their acceptance. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 2(1).

Gurtner, J.-L., Cattaneo, A., Motta, E., & Mauroux, L. (2011). How Often and for What Purposes Apprentices Seek Help in Workplaces: A Mobile Technology-Assisted Study. Vocations and Learning  4(2). 113-131. doi:10.1007/s12186-011-9053-x.


Contact Person 

Alberto Cattaneo