China: Training to support learning culture 4.0

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At the Shunde Polytechnic College in China teaching staff are able to complete a modular master trainer qualification. As part of this, they acquire subject-specific knowledge and competencies in didactic methodology to prepare them for the new learning culture 4.0.

The goal of the master trainers' training is to utilize new, subject-specific content and innovative concepts in didactic methodology to prepare Chinese vocational education and training for the new learning culture 4.0. The intention is that the training will enable future master trainers to train other college teaching staff, to disseminate the master trainer concept, and to independently develop this for centres of excellence which are currently being established.

The Shunde Polytechnic College in the Chinese province of Guangdong is financing the development and implementation of the master trainer qualification. In Germany, the Institute for Training and Careers (Gesellschaft für Bildung und Beruf e. V. (GBB)) is responsible for project coordination and organisation. Training advisers and moderator Professor Dr. Bernd Ott are running the advanced training activities locally together with a permanent Chinese partner in the role of interpreter.

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Master trainer concept

The master trainer concept consists of three, one-week advanced training modules each of which is followed by a practical and application phase lasting several months.

The content of the three modules covers self-organised learning in problem-based and practical teaching, learning coaching in skills-based and process-oriented training as well as methods training and moderation techniques for master trainers.

    Self-organised learning in problem-based and practical teaching

    Module 1

    In the basic modules, participants gain an understanding of the foundations of learning, planning, organisation and monitoring. For a specific learning situation, they analyse the theoretical and practical content in terms of the overall delivery of specialist and personal competencies. Learning content is used to create a logical learning structure in the form of a "learning map". The intended types of competencies are analysed for the specific learning situation and differentiated into different competence levels.

    Participants then immediately apply these newly acquired competencies in didactic methodology. They plan a problem-based and practical lesson, deliver this in specialist classes, and evaluate their performance themselves.

    Learning coaching in skills-based and process-oriented training

    Module 2

    Participants derive the functions of a leaning coach and put these into practice immediately. In addition to identifying and considering their individual strengths, the aim here is that they also suggest scope for improvement in the context of learning culture 4.0. They learn how self-organised and cooperative learning is structured in the classroom and in the workshop, and how it is organised in terms of didactic methodology.

    A holistic learning-planning process of competence-based and process-oriented training is implemented for a specific company-based assignment and transferred on to the process model of a complete work activity.

    The participants analyse the process of actions taken by the trainees and, on the basis of this, derive learning aids for the specific situation as part of the learning coaching. They then implement a learning process practically, monitor learning outcomes, and evaluate the process of actions taken by the learners.

    Methods training and moderation techniques for master trainer (Train the Trainer)

    Module 3

    The final module focuses on practical experience of new learning concepts. In view of increasing digitalisation, new digital learning media are discussed and then trialled in specific teaching examples. The prospective master trainers develop their new methodological competence further in learning situations and apply it in a practical training context.

    In the moderation training, they learn about appropriate ways in which to approach their own seminar planning and then put these into practice and try them out as part of the advanced training with other colleagues.

    Module 3 is used in particular as preparation for the subsequent master trainer transfer phase, but also as a forum for quality management in the centres of excellence.

    Centres of excellence in the making

    As an institution, Shunde Polytechnic College has 10 faculties in which 850 lecturers provide training to around 15,000 students. The college's Chinese colleagues are currently in the process of establishing centres of excellence in the sectors of mechatronics, vehicle engineering, tool technology and air conditioning technology.

    The intention is that the centres of excellence will run both updating training for Industry 4.0 and updates to didactic methodology in support of learning culture 4.0. The master trainer concept is applied in the area of learning culture 4.0. Specialist teams led by a master trainer have been formed for both advanced training areas and the aim is that these implement a multi-stage competence model in practice.

    The role of the centres of excellence will be:

    • To deliver new specialist knowledge: Future technologies for industry 4.0
    • To apply new didactics and methodology: Updates relating to learning culture 4.0
    • To exemplify the new role of the teacher: Learner coaching – also in the workshop
    • To adopt the new moderator role: Conveying learning culture 4.0 to colleagues
    • To develop new research competency: Creating new continuing training projects

    The "Centre for Teacher Training" is responsible for overall coordination at the Shunde Polytechnic College. The related strategy concept involves three stages of transfer and development:

    • Stage 1: Establishment and development of several subject-specific centres of excellence
    • Stage 2: Dissemination and further development in selected cooperation schools
    • Stage 3: Dissemination and further development in other Guangdong province colleges
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    How the German-Chinese collaboration came into being

    At the start of 2015, the GBB organised a three-month period of continuing training for 20 Chinese vocational school teachers in the German city of Dortmund. As part of this project Professor Dr. Bernd Ott ran a 5-day seminar on "Didactic techniques".

    A teacher from Guangdong province was one of the participants. He was so impressed by the seminar that he organised master teacher advanced training at Shunde Polytechnic College as early as 2016.

    In 2017, the master trainer concept was further adapted and localised in line with the requirements of Shunde Polytechnic College. In 2018, the master trainer concept is now being used for the establishment of the centres of excellence.

    Perseverance needed

    In response to iMOVE's question regarding potential challenges posed by the activity in China, professor Otts' instant reply was: "Perseverance, excellent specialist interpreters and good contacts are needed to be successful in China." Having good cooperation partners locally to support this – in this case for example iMOVE – is extremely helpful.

    Taking into account the wishes of the Chinese partners and flexibility with regard to local conditions is also a must for a good collaboration. Over the course of the project, changes to the advanced training didactic methodology concepts were frequently required and organisational structures also had to be adapted over this period. Both must be possible without compromising the collaboration.

    Despite these challenges, there is huge interest in the subject of learning culture 4.0 across the entire country. And, as far as Ott is concerned, interest in the country and its people is a critical success factor.

    © Photos: Institute for Training and Careers e. V. (GBB), Professor Dr. Bernd Ott

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    Phone: +49 6353 1618

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