April 5, 2023
Digitalization is changing the way people learn, and not just because in-person learning became so difficult with pandemic lockdowns. Trends such as mobile, micro, adaptive, and virtual reality learning were already beginning to exert an influence in technical education and training. To further these and other trends, Festo Didactic developed a digital learning portal – the Festo Learning Experience, or Festo LX – to make it easier to create individual learning experiences for trainers and trainees.
The premise in launching the portal is that in today’s industrial world, the knowledge and skills acquired to launch one’s career will not be enough. New technologies will emerge, changing job requirements and challenging employees and managers to keep current.
“More so than ever, one’s technical education won’t end with graduation,” said Ted Rozier, Festo Didactic, Director of Engineering. “Everyone will need to continually upgrade their qualifications. That will not only demand an understanding of new technologies, but also how to work interactively, even collaboratively, with them as they redefine job and skill requirements. For employers, assisting employees in acquiring that knowledge and experience will be a competitive advantage, even a necessity. Providing the most effective education tools and programs also will give employers an advantage in recruiting and retention.”Ted Rozier, Festo Didactic, Director of Engineering
Trends in basic and advanced training
In creating Festo LX, Festo Didactic realized that different learning tools, vehicles, and methods are required. Festo LX focuses on the growing need for more individualized learning. It provides modular resources for various technical training professions that can be individually assembled into courses and entire learning paths.
Varied formats, such as videos, animations, simulations, and text units, ensure participants remain engaged. Existing courses can be modified as desired. New content in text, image, or video format can be easily added and assigned to the learners. Available online, independent of time and place, Festo LX fits in with the habits of young learners, who are well versed with technology such as smartphones or tablets.
One way to address the trainees of today is micro learning, where small, self-contained portions of knowledge are taught. Festo LX learning units are very short with a clearly defined learning goal. They can be grasped quickly and assembled in modules, so trainers and educators can address each learner’s needs from different starting points. Using smartphones or tablets, lessons can be taught any time of day from anywhere. Virtual reality and augmented reality can be incorporated into lessons. With VR glasses, a learner dives into a virtual learning world. Augmented reality folds in information via a scanned QR code.
Trainees can be catapulted into future roles via VR. Digital formats complement in-person, hands-on learning. The latter remains essential. “The combination of hands-on training and online content offers participants the full potential of the educational experience,” says Rozier.
Employers and educational institutions need to promote manufacturing and realign the workplace and training environments to create the workforce that is needed to fill the gap that exists in manufacturing. Steps that can be taken today include promoting manufacturing careers to youth, refocus Canada’s education system to connect youth with jobs, upskill workers, and attract under-represented groups into manufacturing.
The good news is, is that some of the most leading companies involved in manufacturing are taking these steps (and some having started decades ago), and they are working with educational institutions and governments to fill the skills gap that manufacturing is experiencing today.
Festo is one such company who has been leading the charge for technical education at a global scale. In this article, Greg James, Regional Sales Manager – Festo Didactic Ltd. shines some light onto what is being done in Canada to help ensure there are enough skilled workers available to keep the factory of the future running.