Background facts
The recommendations are based on the teachers and students questionnaires that were collated during 2005-2007. The following results are the statistically most effective methods based on the teacher’s judgment of how successful their students were after completed module/course, i.e. the students’ achievement rate of the course objectives. Students’ questionnaires were issued in order to obtain a range of factual information and students’ perceptions. All 1125 students’ answers completed the perception of the students. Of the students taking part in the project 75% had extensive experience as a learner, 20% had substantial prior experience while only 5% had a small amount of experience or none at all. The factual questions were designed to facilitate analysis by level of study, age and gender. The other questions related to the students’ levels of former study experience, the relevance of the learning program to their job or future job, the effect of using combinations of teaching-learning methodology on the learning process and how effective they considered these methods to be.


Basic level
Teacher’s perspective:

Computer-based learning, Individual training and Facilitated open learning

The results indicates that even in the workshop based classes, teachers ought to experiment more often with computer-based learning, facilitated open learning and individual training but restrict lectures.

Students’ perspective:

Computer-based learning, Individual training and Mentoring consultancy

Although seldom used, mentoring consultancy had the highest success rate, followed by computer-based learning and individual training. Even though these methods were rarely used, they were experienced as highly successful, more motivating and interesting by the students. To measure the student’s satisfaction with, and benefit from, the chosen methods, it’s very important to help the students how to recognize or state which methods that were used where and when.

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The courses ranged from the more traditional work shop subjects to the more theoretical (Technical English and Design and Verification of Mechanical Elements). There were twelve teachers involved, four from Denmark, two from Sweden, three from the UK, two from Switzerland and one from Catalonia. Class sizes ranged from 12 to 29. All results and furthermore conclusions drawn at Basic level refer to In search of Excellence – developed teaching to improve learning.

Conclusion and recomendation at Basic level
Increasing the use of traditional lectures (over 25%) decreased the chances of the achievement of course objectives
Increasing the use of computer-based learning increased the chances of the achievement of course objectives
Increasing the use of individual training increased the chances of the achievement of course objectives
 
1. Duration of lessons should at the least be 120, or even better 180 minutes to have time to use several teaching and learning methods. Feedback through dialogue with the students, and use their comments with which to adjust the teaching methods.
2. Facilitated open learning will enable the teacher to focus on the students with lower learning abilities. The stronger students were able to work independently, and they could even show a willingness to share their knowledge with fellow students.
3. Reduce lectures and limit practical skills development.
4. Use computer-based learning methods to increase students’ motivation. Access to computers for all students is crucial as computer based learning has shown to be one of the commonly used methods.


Advanced level
Teacher’s perspective:

Computer-based learning, Company based learning and Practical skills development

A combination of computer-based learning, company based learning and practical skills development would achieve a high achievement of objectives. Furthermore, indicators show that lectures and individual training were successful, along with facilitated open learning. When computer-based learning was used to a high percentage of the teaching methodology, objective achievement was very good. This shows that computer-based learning has numerous positive applications.

Students’ perspective:

Lecture, Computer-based learning, Company based learning and Facilitated open learning

According to the students, company based learning and facilitated open learning achieved the highest success rates. If the students were accustomed to lectures, asking them to be responsible for their own learning can pose difficulties at first, transferring from a teacher-directed view to a student-centred method of learning. However, changing the students’ views on teaching and learning will likely enhance and broaden their views on learning as well as their competence skills.

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The courses ranged from Power Electro technical systems and Automated Production to the English A-course but were predominantly theoretical. The countries involved were Sweden, Switzerland, Catalonia and the UK engaging nine teachers and trainers, five from Sweden, two from Catalonia, one from Switzerland and one from the UK. Classes ranged in sizes from 6 to 34 students. All results and furthermore conclusions drawn at Advanced level refers to In search of excellence – developed teaching to improve learning.

Conclusion and recomendation at Advanced level
Increasing the use of lectures (over 25%) decreased the chances of achieving the course’s objectives
Increasing the use of computer-based learning and company based learning increased the chances of achieving the course’s objectives
Increasing the use of practical skills development increased the chances of achieving the course’s objectives
 
1. Students need to be made aware of their own learning by using student-centred methods like facilitated open learning and mentoring consultancy. Also, challenge your local company or industry to improve and evolve company based learning.
2. More practical subjects should be brought into theoretical topics in order to increase practical skills development. Combining teaching methods will increase knowledge transfer.
3. For an effective use of facilitated open learning, it is crucial to have a computer for each student and for the teacher.
4. It is the responsibility of management to create the necessary environment to motivate the teaching staff to improve the quality of their teaching.
5. Skilled technical support is essential for the use of advanced technical equipment and computers.


University level
Teacher’s perspective:

Lecture, Computer-based learning and Company based learning

Analysis of the results indicates that lectures, computer-based learning and company based learning were the most successful methods. Lecturing was most successful if restricted to 25% of the overall teaching process. Computer-based learning and company based learning were most successful when accounted for 25%-50%. The results presented for all levels of students supports the findings at University level that lectures were most successful when used for up to 27% of the time, practical skills development 16% and company based learning for 25%.

Students’ perspective:

Lecture, Individual training, Practical skills development and Mentoring consultancy

University level students indicated little differences between the successes of the different teaching methods. Although they initially expressed a preference for traditional methods the introduction of computer based learning, practical skills development and other student centred methods increased their motivation and level of success. Mentoring consultancy was perceived as being the most successful. The use of computer simulation particularly multimedia learning programmes incorporating schematics, pictures, music and texts was also very popular with students. They also indicated that they were more highly motivated due to being involved in determining the learning process.

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The countries involved at University level were the UK and Bulgaria involving a total of eight teachers and trainers. The study in the UK was centred on the delivery of a work based foundation degree and the course was at an equivalent level to the first two years of a traditional degree programme and comprised a broad range of engineering related subjects. The study in Bulgaria centred on a number of discrete subject based courses in physical chemistry, informatics, mine lighting and electrical/electronic engineering. All results and furthermore conclusions drawn at University level refer to In search of Excellence – developed teaching to improve learning.

Conclusion and recomendation at Advanced level
Achieving a balance across a number of teaching methods is essential.
Although very successful the proportion of formal lectures should be restricted.
The use of practical skills development and computer-based learning enhanced the learning process.
Increasing the use of practical skills development over 25% did not increase the achievement of the course objectives.
 
1. Introducing more computer based learning allows a student-centred approach. This enables students to visualise material as well as interact with it.
2. Teachers need to be experienced in the use and application of computers and also have a high level of practical skills. Teachers need to be skilled over a complete range of teaching methods including computer-based learning, practical skills development, individual training and the mentoring of students.
3. Practical sessions support students in their understanding of theory by helping them to visualising the connection of situations to concepts. In company training can provide students with more realistic practical skills development or make assignments more relevant to the work that they are doing.
4. Achieving a balance of teaching methods is the most important variable in the success of the course as well as maintaining student’s interest and motivation.
5. Skilled technical support is essential for the use of advanced technical equipment and computers.


Recommendations covering all levels
 
1. Reduce lectures and limit Practical skills development and Mentoring Consultancy.
 
2. Increase Computer-based learning, Individual training, Company based learning and Facilitated open learning.