Project Name: Design, Development, Implementation and Assessment of Skill Formation Process in the Frame of VET for R&D Staff
Consolidator: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Presidency of the European Union, Center for European Union Education and Youth Programs, Vocational Education Coordinator
Project No: 2018-1-TR01-KA202-059252
Start/Due Date: 01.09.2018/31.08.2021 (Ongoing)
In today’s world, the importance of research and development (R&D) is a non-contestable matter. Especially in industry and technology sectors; developing competitive advantages, establishing sustainability and reaching goals in terms of innovation highly depend on R&D.
When the context of developing countries all over the world is taken into consideration, R&D, patent and advanced technology indicators show that their competitiveness in terms of knowledge-based production is not at the desired level and that applies to Turkey as well. There may be several factors to that; however engineers’ inadequate level of education on R&D stands as a crucial fact. To make it clear, engineers who are employed in R&D centers generally have only bachelor degree which does not contain any specific training on R&D. In other respects, there are a critical number of engineers who reside as refugees in Turkey and the crucial need for R&D training has gained validity for them too.
Newly graduate engineers generally choose two career paths; the first choice is mostly seeking jobs in industry or private sector and the second choice is the struggle to take place in the academic community. The first group of engineers usually has difficulties during the basic stages of an R&D work; such as literature review, patent scanning, developing new ideas, evaluating the feasibility of an R&D project…etc. Unfortunately, these engineers are not equipped with adequate knowledge and this is a common problem among engineers working in private sector. Moreover, this problem leads to an insufficient level when it comes to product development (P&D) and R&D. Because of the intense workload in private sector, these engineers do not have the chance to receive higher education. The second group of engineers, on the other hand, obtains R&D culture during the later stages of their post-graduate and/or doctorate studies empirically. Besides, academicians’ works on R&D mostly lie within a scientific frame and do not come up with an industrial field of application. One of the primary reasons of this issue is the non-existence of a specific R&D training within undergraduate education curricula; so as the proverbial saying states ‘as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined’. As this problem results in of-poor-quality R&D works both in industry and academia, it undermines technological/innovative development. This situation applies not only to the context of Turkey but also to the contexts of many countries.
In the light of all the facts mentioned above and for the sake of remedying the stated deficiency, the project will be designed to fulfill the critical need for R&D engineering training. The aim of the project is establishing an e-platform and an e-learning program. E-platform will be designed as an interactive meeting point for R&D engineers to collaborate with each other. E-learning program will provide the necessary technical and systematic knowledge needed for R&D activities as a series of multi-level educational software.
The activities during the implementation stage of the project can be listed as:
– Needs analysis
In the course of the needs analysis, determination of the gap between engineering education and the necessary skills for R&D and P&D practices will be tried. The main problems in this area will be identified in the sector. Existing successful post-university online training applications will be examined. After the examination, knowledge, skills and learning objectives of the program will be determined and a measurement system will be developed.
– Preparation of course content and curriculum following the needs analysis
We foresee a blended approach in which team projects, video learning modules, readings and simulations take place. Applications will be at the core of the program. Trainees will feel the need to use the content to be able to perform applications. We prefer that the applications trigger a learning need, rather than the content being consumed and then turned into practice. Principles of adult education will be an important point to be considered about the design of the program. After all, the most important reason that the university education cannot fill the gap in terms of the necessary skills is the students are burdened with theoretical knowledge and they are expected to turn this into practice on their own. As a curriculum philosophy, we plan to put the application right in the center as an opposite approach.
– Development of the e-learning program
– Development of the e-platform
The sole purpose of the program will be forming a community and supporting the attendants to learn from each other. Meanwhile, the know-how that will be established on the platform will be used to develop the platform during the following stages.
– Providing pilot-scheme trainings
Those who complete pilot trainings will be followed in the sector. Future improvements of the program will be made by uncovering the areas emerging in the sector that are open to development at the level of knowledge and skills.
The project will make contribution to the human resources employed in R&D centers within industry and private sector in terms of developing detail-oriented, productive, innovative and technophile mentalities. On the academic community side, the project aims to improve analytical, experimental, systematic research and P&D skills of the academicians.