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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Role of trainers in basic education continues to change

Language: EN
Document available also in: DE CS HR

“Digital developments have been around for a long time,” Petra Eyawo-Hauk kicks off the conversation by telling the story of how DANAIDA began, back when digitisation meant introducing the first computer into the facility. Since then, a lot has changed at the Counselling and Educational Institution for Migrant Women (Beratungs- und Bildungseinrichtung für Migrantinnen) in Graz, Austria. Petra Eyawo-Hauk explains how digital developments are changing the roles of trainers in basic education.  It isn’t just about new tools and methods, but also how politics and society deal with these developments and how to optimally prepare people for them.

Using apps in teaching has become commonplace

Digital innovations happen every day. But smartphones in particular have brought about a major change in the way that trainers work, explains Eyawo-Hauk: “The smartphone has sparked somewhat of a revolution. It can be used flexibly in courses and is easy for participants to operate.” Reservations towards the technology have been decreasing – for the trainers too: “All I need to do is download and install an app in the training course together with the participants, the rest mostly takes care of itself.”  There are also apps that can be adapted to the needs of the target group at the trainer’s discretion: “With LearningApps for example, I can create five variants of the same exercise. This is good for diverse groups,” says Eyawo-Hauk.

Working on a computer would be comparably difficult for course participants: “It usually takes several steps to reach a result, and working with a mouse is not always that easy,” explains Eyawo-Hauk. Computers are therefore rarely used during the actual teaching: “Computer work takes place in the background.” Having said this, it is important for course participants to learn computer skills – especially if they are thinking about looking for employment. “You need to be able to operate a computer to fill out time sheets or write job applications. It goes without saying that the more independent the participants are the better,” says the trainer.

Digitisation also takes place in the outside world

Eyawo-Hauk points out that digitisation is not just happening on our own devices, but also in our immediate living environment. “Learning to deal with digitisation means going out and about because this is where you encounter automation, such as ticket machines or self-service checkouts.” These are not always self-explanatory – many course participants need to start by learning about the symbols and how to use these devices. This is another responsibility for trainers in basic education and Eyawo-Hauk estimates that these additional tasks will only continue to increase in the future.

Other aspects of everyday life are also continuously being intensively digitised, making them a relevant area of learning for course participants and trainers: “E-government for example – this is a huge challenge in basic education. Or online school registration – if I don’t know how to do that, I cannot preregister my child and have to accept whatever school is assigned to me.” The basic educator thinks that digitised official channels will continue to increase and believes it is important for trainers to address this in the right way.

Making everyday life easier, promoting essential media literacy – conflicting priorities

Due to increasing digitisation, constant research into digital materials in teaching, digital official channels and other digital innovations in everyday life is becoming all the more necessary. “This has also made digital media literacy important. This is also part of our job as a trainer – we discuss all issues surrounding digitisation with participants in a very simple way and explain any implications to them. For example, many participants are on social networks. They are often unaware of how public they are, even if they might not want to be.”

The trainers themselves are usually rather sceptical when it comes to using digital media and use it very privately and consciously. This is a good thing according to Eyawo-Hauk. At the same time, it makes sense to take a step back here as a trainer. “We need to realise that it is our job to give people the tools they need to make their everyday life easier. You have to understand and demonstrate what’s out there”.

Those who support people during times of change need to be right at the centre of it all

“I think digital developments have made teaching easier and more relevant – I can react better when a question comes up in the classroom. For example, I can quickly show participants an image or look up directions,” Eyawo-Hauk concludes. In terms of the future, she says: “Digital development is progressing rapidly. I certainly think this will change our lives and the way we work.” But the question of how politics and society will continue to deal with the digitisation of the world of work will also be important: “This will have a major impact on our role as trainers in basic education. This is because our work is also about introducing people to the labour market. This is currently a very strong focus. We have to address this whether we like it or not. Because this is the reality of what people are facing.”

Because these developments cannot be predicted, it is important for trainers to stay tuned in and get informed: “What do new developments mean for the people I work with?” This question should be asked no matter what the digital development is. “Because that is what it’s all about – people learning to deal with the things that affect their everyday lives in order to be able to participate in society.”

More informationen in German:

Text/Author of original article in German: Lucia Paar/CONEDU

Redaktion/Editing of original article in German: Karin Kulmer/CONEDU

Titelbild: CC0 Public Domain, by rawpixel,

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